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East Wind West Wind Pearl S Buck ha sabido describir en sus libros el punto justo en ue se encuentran las civilizaciones oriental y occidental Al trazarnos el retrato de una familia distinguida apegada a tradiciones antiuísimas nos muestra los conflictos ue de manera inevitable surgen entre padres e hijos cuando las ideas occidentales penetran en los baluartes de la cultura china En esta magnífica obra se amalgaman así el interés temático y la precisa definición de los caracteres y los personajes

10 thoughts on “East Wind West Wind

  1. Nicole~ Nicole~ says:

    East Wind West Wind originally titled Winds of Heaven was Pearl S Buck's first novel published in the United States in 1930 Though it had gone through many earlier rejections the acceptance to publish eventually came down to one final vote by Richard Walsh the president of the publishing company and who would become Pearl's second husband He later revealed that he decided to publish it not because he liked it but because he thought her capable of something better The story is told from the point of view of Kwei lan a Chinese girl raised strictly under the old Eastern traditions newly married to a Chinese man who has studied medicine in the West The grievous story of her marriage begins on her wedding night when her husband appears repulsed by her The marriage goes unconsummated Buck portrays the conflicts of a marriage with its origins in mixed ideology the differences between Kwei lan's Eastern manner of life and that of a foreigner and the philosophy behind the many ancient Chinese traditions that have kept the female servile to the male I was mostly moved by Kwei lan's sense of identity loss as one partner feels the need to adapt to the other Hilary Spurling in her biography Pearl Buck in China A Journey to The Good Earth pointed out some similarities of persons in Pearl's life that were incorporated in some of the characters of this novel There was good thematic material here but I felt the plots were weak I definitely saw the impotence of a first novel in East Wind West Wind having read some of Buck's significant novels to follow This wasn't bad but to parrot Mr Walsh Buck was capable of something better That was proven in her next novel The Good Earth

  2. El El says:

    A few years ago my brother and I took a road trip to Hillsboro West Virginia to see Pearl S Buck's childhood home I had read A Good Earth and had loved it and I thoroughly enjoy going to author's homes When we got back home there was a message from my boss at the time on my answering machine asking why I wasn't at work that day Somehow I had read the schedule wrong and my brother and I took our trip on a day I was actually scheduled to work For the first and only time to date I received a written warning It was not one of my shining moments and for a long time I had a sort of thing against Pearl Buck like maybe she was bad luckIn any case I no longer work at that bookstore and life all around is much better for me I have a set schedule so I can no longer blame Pearl Buck for my inadeuaciesI chose East Wind West Wind for my return to Buck's writing as it was her first published novel in 1930 and seemed a fitting place to start again I no longer hold anything against her I really enjoyed this book What intrigues me most about Buck is that the time she lived in China despite being American by birth she was accepted as a Chinese writer She had the opportunity to live in and view Chinese culture as a Westerner which is evident in her writing particularly in East Wind West WindKwei lan is married to a Chinese man who was a doctor in America for a time During his American stay he accepted several Western beliefs and attitudes all of which are not accepted by Eastern standards Kwei lan is encouraged to unbind her feet their son is to be raised solely by the two of them; she struggles to understand these Western beliefs without turning her back entirely on what she was raised to believe Her older brother goes so far as to marry an American woman and returns as a relatively Westernized man Kwei lan makes every effort to help her parents come to terms with the changes occurring in their family while also embracing her new sister in lawWritten 22 years before Amy Tan was even born Pearl S Buck's books are much less commercialized and sadly are mostly ignored by readers now

  3. Leslie Leslie says:

    Wow I really liked this book It was about a very traditional Chinese family in the forties I think who faces for the first time the effects of their sons going off to America to become educated and coming back uite changed This effects each member of their complicated families differently I was so moved at times I was reaching for the tissues all night and all this morning It's a very simple prose that even a Jr High level reader could read but I suspect different generations would have very different feelings about this family's situation I felt complete understanding of each character's pains and joys being old enough to have experienced so many of them and having once been married to a foreigner myself and lived among them with all their strange ways It reminded me of so many emotions of those days Now that I'm grown with my own kids I relate to both generations of this family What a beautiful story and not at all mushy or overly emotional It's one of the many books I've been into these days that shed light on the mysterious lives of women in old China

  4. Noah Noah says:

    Recently a retired professor I know gave me a ton of her old books that she had Among the books were probably at least five by Pearl S Buck Because I had never read anything by Buck before I decided to pick out the shortest one of the books of I received Honestly after reading James Bradley's The China Mirage which singles out Buck and her novels as creating a delusional pro Western image of China and the Chinese I didn't have high expectations for Buck Judging from this one book Bradley appears to have been rightEast Wind West Wind is written in the form of letters addressed to a woman referred to as “My Sister” The letters start out as complaints about the way the main character's husband treats her; it seems as if he at best is uninterested in her or at worst he actively dislikes her However we find out that he only acts like this because he wants her to ditch most of her old customs and superstitions so when she submits to her husband's will everything gets better and they even have a son As the main character says of her husband at the end of the book “I know that my husband is right always right” In this book one of the positives Buck gives for Western civilization is that men and women are considered “eual” Ironically the Westernized husband tells his wife that he want them to be euals but yet is enraged whenever she adopts any superstitions or traditional customs for their child Apparently euality means that women have to adopt Western cultural norms and submit to their Westernized husbands But I digress The second part of the novel focuses on the main character's brother's marriage to an American woman Although the details of his life in America are vague it certainly seems like everything was great and that no one in America had a problem with his marriage to a blonde European American woman Buck certainly seems to ignore the extreme racism the Chinese had to face in America; the Chinese Expulsion Act hadn't even been repealed by the time this book was written Sure most Chinese probably wouldn't have wanted their children to marry foreigners but the same would have gone for Americans The book ends with the main character her husband her brother and her sister in law cutting off contact with the main character's father her mother has passed away by this point Buck has such a strong Western bias in this book it is painful at times Although the main character's husband says that both East and West have a lot to learn from each other it's an exchange in the same way the Columbian Exchange was; everything favors the West The characters paint are presented in a way to make traditional Chinese culture look very bad We have the ignorant humble and submissive Chinese wife whose intentions are good but keeps falling into traditional ways; we have the enlightened scientific Westernized Chinese husband whose response to Western ideas is to almost entirely ditch his culture and try to enlighten his brethren of their superstitions; a sad superstitious and emotionally abused mother who has to raise a rebellious heir and compete with all of her husband's mistresses and other wives; a scholarly selfish and indulgent father who treats his son's foreign bride as nothing than a “toy” for entertainment; and the blonde haired blue eyed foreign bride herself who is innocent smart kind and willing to adopt Chinese customs if only she were allowed to Overall there just isn't much redeeming to this book It is Eurocentrist cliché and the characters are honestly just bland It's hard to believe that it was books like this that shaped American's perception of China for decades

  5. Meghan Meghan says:

    East WindWest Wind is a charming story of a woman who learns to appreciate the good from each of two very different cultures Kwei lan was raised to be a traditional Chinese woman Feet bound and head bowed she is prepared to submit to her new husband in all things Then he tells her that she is his eual that he wants her to educate herself and to unbind her feet She begins to incorporate his Western philosophy into her Eastern traditions and blends for herself a uniue way of life Though she is a very simple character her story of growth is an engrossing one I will definitely read from Pearl Buck

  6. Zöe Zöe Zöe Zöe says:

    I have the desire to read all Pearl S Buck's books All the conflicts between modern world and traditional China must have written by her or at least touched by her Filial duty superstitious believes and so on This book was written in 1930s in Nanjing a far away time for us now Cannot imagine the world then But what we have now are still or less the same I felt hope for what she proposed in the book the hope of the great union between two races with such an difference could two people love each other But can it only stay as love on the first sight? Or when love endures it grows stronger or looser?

  7. Angeline Angeline says:

    I read this book when I was in secondary school and love the simple story told first hand through the eyes of the female lead it is as if I was indeed her little sister as she tells the reader how she copes with her husband's western ways and eventually how it led to a loving marriage a wonderful book that can be read upteen times its time to reread again when the holidays come

  8. Heather Goodman Heather Goodman says:

    A Chinese Jane Austen all subtlety and navigating relationships in a changing world After thousands of years of tradition Chinese culture is being influenced by the west In one family in particular the protagonist marries a modern man who challenges her to unbind her feet and her ways of thinking All of her upbringing seems for naught as she seeks to please her husband and build a relationship with someone who has adopted many western ways of thinking Her brother falls in love with an American which threatens the stability of the entire family This book reveals the struggles of China in the early twentieth century as families allowed their sons to be educated with western ideas but were surprised when these sons came back changed no longer fitted to carrying on the culture and lifestyles of their ancestors Progress a western ideal brought good but also brought with it its individualism and strong will tearing apart families built on ancient customsI loved Buck's presentation of the subtleties of Chinese customs the picturesue language that suggests rather than spells out

  9. Gisela Hafezparast Gisela Hafezparast says:

    First book of a wonderful writer which seems to get very little attention this year First women to receive the Nobel Literature prize What I love about this book and all of Pearl S Buck's book she really understand the lives of Chinese women and tells their stories rich or poor beautiful or not as they must have been Not romanticised and really with lots of understanding empathy and knowledge Her most famous book The Good Earth is one of my all time favourite books which I have re read many times and which gives me different point of interest and understanding as I get older Brilliant writerExcellent book Will read

  10. Perry Whitford Perry Whitford says:

    Kwei lan has been raised rigidly within the centuries old customs of the Middle Kingdom the separation of the male and female worlds marriages arranged at birth the rigid etiuette the bound feet concubinage etcThe man who is about to become her husband a doctor has been educated abroad and been thoroughly Westernised by the experience All of Kwei lan's ideas about the role of a wife are about to be challenged for better or worseThis is a plainly written novel with a narrative which is all surface and no depth yet it manages to reveal a lot about a certain time and place and about the world of difference that existed between China and the West when their two cultures first began to integrate in earnestKwai lan's naivety maybe somewhat difficult to accept for a contemporary reader but personally I didn't find it unrealistic having read other historical and autobiographical accounts of China at the time Women were literally bred to be pretty and subservient knowledge and independence were frowned uponBut it's precisely the naivety of the narrative which allows for the greater impact of a simple passage like this of which there are many startling examples 'After her baby was born the Fourth Lady thought that of course my father would take her about with him again She did not nurse the child herself lest she spoil her beauty Instead she gave him to a sturdy slave woman whose child a girl had of course not been allowed to live'Unfortunately this lack of depth is also something of a weakness Her husband tells her on their wedding night that he wants her to feel his eual yet virtually ignores her thereafter until she unbinds her feet months later That's poor and inconsistent behaviour yet we never really get a sense of who is other than Kwai lan's slavish eyesPearl S Buck was a real rarity in her time a Westerner born and raised in China She wrote many novels based around the culture clash that she was uniuely positioned to understand This was one of the first and the only one I have read Maybe some of the later ones were complex and emotionally involving?She certainly lived and breathed the Orient though how else could she have written this line a passing observation made by Kwai lan when her own brother finally tears the family apart by marrying an American 'She is like the blossom of the wild orange tree pure and pungent but without fragrance'I should also make mention of Kwai lan's mother the First Lady who stands as the staunchest upholder of the sacred traditions The lack of an interior life didn't hinder the power of her characterisation at all far from itI can readily understand how this book caused a splash when it was first published I found it elegant and truthful if flawedWell worth a read though

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