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Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China$
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N. Harry Rothschild and Leslie V. Wallace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867812

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867812.001.0001

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Negative Role Models

Negative Role Models

Unfilial Stories in Song Miscellaneous Writing

Chapter:
(p.39) 2 Negative Role Models
Source:
Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China
Author(s):

Cong Ellen Zhang

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824867812.003.0002

While unfilial behavior was touched on in the Confucian classics and disrespectful children were occasionally portrayed in earlier literature, it was not until the Song Dynasty when unfilial stories appeared in a large number, especially in biji筆記‎ writing. In representing sons and daughters-in-law from the ordinary class as susceptible to violating fundamental social norms and the efficacy of speedy and certain retribution, Song unfilial tales shed much light on elite perceptions of ordinary family life and of the shifting balance of power in the household. This attention to filiality in local society ran parallel to and eventually coalesced with the Neo-Confucian articulation of ideal moral, familial, and social order.

Keywords:   filial piety, Song Dynasty, biji 筆記, unfilial behavior and its consequences, parent-child relationship

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