Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Bridge across the Pacific

By Kang Liao | Go to book overview

of assimilation had been achieved because China had been religiously tolerant and had little religious restriction and no religious persecutions or wars except the Taiping Rebellion and the Communist regime. Among the similarities between Christianity and communism, one of the few bad things in common is intolerance, which has led to many tragic movements in the contemporary history of China. Now Chinese people have waked up from the frenzy of the Cultural Revolution, and China is again open to the world. Novels like Peony can help both Chinese and Americans find better ways to deal with racial and cultural problems.

We are both big countries with multiple races and cultures. Racial and cultural problems are, in the end, not only the business of the legislators or policy-makers but the business of every citizen. Communism has failed in Eastern Europe and is failing in China, but this is not yet the "end of history" as Francis Fukuyama so joyously heralded. Amost every social problem of the United States indicates that class struggle and ideological struggle are by no means the only struggles among human beings, that racial and cultural conflicts, among many others, will die hard before the confluence can happen, and that the way to freedom is still long and arduous. Thus, history even in Hegel's definition will not end very soon. On the way to achieve freedom and democracy everyone shares the responsibility, for the conflict is not so much between countries as among people. We need to advocate tolerance and intermarriage. We also need to take the lesson that to understand one another is more important than to impose our belief upon other people, no matter how much better we think ours may be. We can always learn from one another and from our past experiences including Christian missions and the history of Chinese Jews. Literature serves as an appropriate medium by which students and scholars as well as general readers can learn about the past, not only the historical events, but also the people in those events, so that a fuller picture can be unfolded. Pearl Buck's books are particularly valuable in this respect.


NOTES
1.
For more details see chapter 16 of A History of Christian Missions in China by Kenneth S. Latourette.
2.
For more details see chapter 3, "Ward and Gordon: Glorious Days of Looting", To Change China by Jonathan Spence.
3.
For more details see "Two-World Success Story: Pearl Buck" by Stephen Vincent and Rosemary Benet.
4.
Kramer's essay is included in Studies of the Chinese Jews edited by Hyman Kublin and listed in the bibliography. The essay is originally published in Jewish Social Studies. XVIII, no. 2: April 1956: 125-144.
5.
See Rudolf Lowenthal "The Nomenclature of Jews in China" included in Hyman Kublin's Studies of the Chinese Jews. 59, or Collectanea Commissionis Synodalis, Peiping, vol. XVII, May/ December, 1944.

-118-

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Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Bridge across the Pacific
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of World Literature ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - A Paradoxical Enigma 1
  • Notes 15
  • 2 - A Neglected Laureate 17
  • Notes 44
  • 3 - A Single-Handed Crusader 47
  • Notes 82
  • 4 - A Multicultural Mediator 83
  • Notes 118
  • 5 - A Historic Mirror 121
  • Notes 137
  • Index 173
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