Struggles with Research

Throughout my career at Mary Washington thus far I have written numerous research papers. Although they do not seem like an unsurmountable mountain anymore I still face similar problems with each paper. When doing research I always seem to have trouble deciding which secondary sources will be useful in my paper. I always seem to think sources will be more relevant to my topic than they are, and sources I initially thought would not be useful turn out to be crucial to my papers. I have learned from previous papers to amass all potentially useful sources and keep them until I have finished writing my paper. Another problem I have found specifically with courses related to other countries is finding translated primary sources. Your amount of sources is greatly limited, and you have to judge whether it is an accurate translation. So far with this paper I have no run into any major roadblocks in my research.

“Love Story”


The cover of the book Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh which contains the story “Love Story.”

The story “Love Story” within Mo Yan’s Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh , is the story of a fifteen year-old boy named Junior and a sixty-five year old man named Guo Three. The two characters are sent to go work in the field cranking a water wheel because the crops need extra water during this time in the growing process. They also work with a twenty- something year-old “city girl” named He Li-ping. Li-ping was disgraced during the Cultural Revolution due to rumors that her father was a capitalist. They state how many kids went to work in the country-side, but eventually got jobs or attend school while Li-ping was left behind.

The story mainly follows the developing relationship between Junior and Li-ping, which mainly consists of Guo Three teasing Junior about Li-ping until he finally begins to talk to her, but he is extraordinarily nervous and cannot even speak to her. While Guo Three teases Junior he is extremely crude, and offers graphic detailed stories about his sexual exploits. An example of Guo Three’s teasing was when Junior commented on how tall Li-ping was he commented “Tall girl, short boy – tits in the face, what a joy” (137). There is no apparent connection between Li-ping and Junior until he finally spurts out “Big Sister, I want to touch you,” (139) and instantly after she puts his hand on her breast and her legs wrapped around him. Then the story abruptly end by saying Li-ping gave birth to twins the next year.

Another aspect of the story is Guo Three’s affair with the “Li woman.” They did not even bother to give this woman a first name, but instead is referred to as the property of her husband throughout the entire story. They don’t detail their affair, but it mentions “talk” of them and Junior was aware of the affair.

This story will work as a primary source for my project on the depiction of romantic relationships because it portrays two different kinds. Mo Yan was clever to name the story “Love Story” because throughout the short story there is no depiction of love as defined in our western society. The towns blatant disregard for Guo Three’s affair would be something I would like to do more secondary research into. Especially, whether this would be a common response to turn the other way or if the village would typically shun this woman and man.  Also, Junior and Li-ping’s lack of affection or a traditional love story will be enlightening to do more research on. Also how common, and socially acceptable, relationships with young men and older women are.

Some problems with this source are the lack of detail into these romantic relationships. You read more scenes between Li-Ping and Junior than the one between Guo Three and the “Li woman.” However it would be more helpful to see these characters discussing their relationships with other people than their partners. I also have found it helpful to see the relationships from the point of view of another character other than Junior. Overall I think this source will complement and further my primary source research


Yan, Mo. “Love Story.” In Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh, Translated by Howard Goldblatt, 127-140. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2011.

Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou together with us


In the poster Mao and Zhou are depicted as sitting down and having a friendly conversation with young Chinese people. They are in Tiananmen Square and appear to have drawn a huge crowd to see them and hear Mao read. Mao is the center of this photo with Zhou being slightly behind him. Unlike other depictions of Mao he is on an equal plane with everyone else instead of being above them. There is a mixture of men and women who are in more modern “Red Army” uniforms as well as more traditional outfits. There is also an abundance of fireworks exploding in the sky which visually reminds me of common depictions of Mao lighting up the sky.  The color scheme of the poster is all variations of reds and pinks with the exception of a few men wearing blue, and the people in the Red Army uniforms. The scene has the feeling that there is a huge celebration happening because Mao and Zhou are there.

Young and Reckless in China

While watching “Young and Reckless in China” by Frontline I noticed two dynamics that struck me as particularly interesting. The dynamic between marriage and economics/love. Two particular stories piqued this interest: Wei Zhanyan, the migrant worker, and Wang Xiaolei, the rapper. The contrast between their ideas of marriage struck me as particularly intriguing. Wei Zhanyan was raised in a society where all marriages were arranged by their parents to be economically beneficial. However, she chose to not marry who her parents chose, and instead she decided to date and marry a man for love. Wang Xiaolei on the other hand discussed that the only women he encountered were ones who were looking for economic stability. They did not believe in the idea of love, but believed that marriage should be to benefit them economically. These two are at stark contrast with what they believe are the majority. Wei Zhanyan grew up in rural China where they prescribe to a more traditional style of marriage, but she became a migrant worker which expanded her education, as limited as it is, and her ideas of the world. Wang Xiaolei however grew up in an urban area, but he has encountered many women who seem to believe in an economic marriage. Although their parents do not arrange the marriages for these women, the still are looking for a man who can provide for them financially. These two stories describe the intertwining of old traditional ideas of marriage, and the modern/ western idea of marrying for love.


Pomeranian Prague


Hello All! My name is Shauna Sanford, and I am a senior history major. I picked these three photos from Flickr Commons to reflect my three favorite things. The first photo I picked because I am absolutely obsessed with my four year old Pomeranian named Pip! The second photo is an overlook in Prague. Prague is my favorite city I have visited, and I have made plans to move there to teach English once I graduate. The third picture is a plane to represent my love to travel. I look forward to getting to know you all throughout the semester.

Works Cited:

“[Mrs. E. Schwarz & ‘Alfontaine.’]” Glass Negative. Bain News Service, 1910.  From Library of Congress: Prints and Photograph Division. (accessed January 11, 2016).

“[Prague, Bohemia, The Czech Republic.]” Photograph. 1920. From Swedish National Heritage Board. (accessed January 11, 2016).

“[Lockheed LASA-60 XB-GUZ c61.]” Photograph.  From San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive: René Francillion Photo Archive. (accessed January 11, 2016).