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Cixi Evil Empress of China?


Primary Source:

I am using a photograph of Cixi in her mature years. The photograph shows Cixi looking straight ahead into space. From my perspective, it looks she is try to pose for someone who is drawing her. The photograph is a black and white, and the photograph was taken from a professional photographer. I chose this source because it shows Cixi in her old age. As soon as she died, China might have the possibility to be reborn again with a new and successful era, since Cixi drove the country into both economical and political disaster. It also shows Cixi winding down from her evilness since she is getting older. From my perspective, when someone gets old, they have less energy, they don’t think as well as they do when they are younger, and they are not as strategic. That’s why I chose this source.


Secondary Source:

The secondary source that I am using is an article written by Amanda Benson. It was written on March 1, 2008 and was posted on a website called Smithsonian Magazine. The article discusses Cixi’s time behind the throne. Here’s an excerpt from the journalist: “History can be a slippery substance, particularly when it comes to personalities. A century after the death of China's last and most famous empress, Cixi, the story of her life and reign remains veiled by varying versions of the truth.” I chose this source because it talks about one of the most evil and wicked empress in China. Another reason is because I would like to hear a short summary of Cixi from a different author who has a different perspective and idea on this person. It is connected to the book by going more in depth about Cixi and some of the behind the scenes descriptions, or the time before she actually became the leader of China.


Summary: Imagine that you are a Chinese peasant trying to find new hope under a new leader’s reign, that you might be able to sell your goods and not starve. Unfortunately when Cixi (1835-1908) took control of China, she led the country into exact opposite. China’s economy was failing, national goods were not being produced, and there was constant conflict between Europe and China. Due to the conflict, China not only had to give up territory but also pay large amounts of money to the new country that occupied that territory, this caused China to loose national treasure drastically. After several Opium Wars, China was hurt in multiple ways. The wars hurt the country’s military because the lack of development of modern technology and military weapons, and the development of the country itself. After Cixi’s death, many Chinese citizens immigrated to other countries. The ones that remained in China, hoped for a new era that is more successful with a less corrupt leader and nation. China was broken and now it has to pick itself back up and try to restart as a nation. Cixi, a murder and the most corrupt leader in China. Why is she so evil and corrupt? Read more about her to find out!


My Perspective of the Novel:

One reason why might somebody else enjoy reading this memoir is because the book contains a decent amount of visual aid. The visual aid is mostly photographs and paintings. Here are some paintings and photographs of Cixi and the wars that occurred in China:

Another reason why might somebody else enjoy reading this memoir is because if you enjoy summarized history, then this book is for you! All the evidence such as pictures, text for certain topics within the book, and other references is all provided within the book. One evidence is a summarized history piece about the land of Confucius on page 62. It says that, “The people of China had prized stability and tradition over innovation since the days of, Confucius. He was a philosopher from the 15th century BC. Confucius urged people to obey their elders and respect their ancestors. He believed that women should take leadership roles only within the family. More than 2300 years after his death, his teachings were still the basis for China’s government. China’s government officials, known as mandarins, had to pass a series of grueling exams based on Confucian ideas.


Passing these tests required years of study at special schools. Only about 5% of all test takers became mandarins. These mandarins were granted respect-- and usually devoted their lives to protecting China’s Confucian tradition.� Another sample is on page 24 and 25 discussing some of the hardships in the 1800s for China. The title is called China vs. The World.


Vladik Uchikura Ms. Cross LA8 D October 26, 2012 Will She Be the One? I’m a 16 year old teenage girl from a tribe called Dowager in the year of 1851. Because my parents are in the Dowager tribe, I am selected to be one of the concubines which gave me the opportunity to live in the Forbidden City. I was a little anxious going to such an extraordinary place. When I was little, I remember mother telling me that the Forbidden City was a very luxurious part of Beijing where emperors and royal government and court officials lived in. My anticipation grew rapidly as we approached the Forbidden City from my home city called Anhui Province, where I was born. Even I was born in though Anhui Province, the place doesn’t excite me. The streets are filthy with rotten foods and litter from people and animals, and too many activities were occurring all at once, like one merchant might try to convince a local to buy his products while another merchant is screaming at the top of his lungs, “Buy my fresh rice, I grew it in my garden!” Due to the fact that the province was a heavily populated area with people as well as commercial business, it was not really a place for teens. So maybe the Forbidden City had something else to offer me. As the carriage pulled up to the 26 foot tall doors, filled with rich gold colors, I was enlightened at the site before me! For a moment, I did not believe what I was seeing. I have never seen such tall doors for an entrance to a city! A moment later, the gigantic doors for the entrance opened, revealing the most beautiful city I have ever seen! There are fountains and gardens everywhere. There are also tall traditional Chinese buildings with small flag poles on top of the roofs. At first I thought, how could the most beautiful city in all of Beijing be so isolated? And why were people not allowed to go in and visit a heaven on earth city? But then I remembered this city was only for emperors and his important people. As I stepped out of the carriage, I realized I no longer am stepping on filthy muck, instead it was on well crafted pavement which contained beautiful Chinese symbols. I was greeted by two well-dressed men. “Right this way mam.”, one of the men said in a low voice quietly. “Where am I going?” I asked in a high-pitched tone. Both didn’t reply so I asked again in a whiney way. “Where are we going?” Then one of the men said, “Please do not ask us any questions.” in a cold and almost bitter voice. Once we were inside the royal palace, there were two large doors which the men simultaneously opened and walked away. This must be my bedroom! I was too excited to settle into my new bedroom, so I decided that I would tour around the palace.


As I stepped outside, a smell suddenly caught my attention. The smell was pleasant, like a fresh meal was recently prepared, though the smell was too faint for me to identify what type of food it was. Instead of my planned tour, I chose to follow the smell. After all, it has been five hours since my last meal, an early breakfast before I left. As I followed the scrumptious smell, I came upon two large golden doors. My first guess was this is probably where the dining hall was, due to the smell. I then figured out what the food is which was cooked chicken, seafood, and the smell of warm freshly made oven bread. Delicious I thought! I then heard the emperor’s laugh which sounded like a roar. As my stomach growled at the delicious smell, a feeling shot into me that said I shouldn’t disturb the emperor and let him eat in peace. I decided that I would eat later and continued my tour. I am enjoying my everyday luxurious life here in the Forbidden City and spend my time gardening, going on walks, and living in peace. It’s quite difficult to navigate around the city because it’s larger, than my old city which is more compact than the Forbidden City. My favorite activity to do here is gardening. I find it to be relaxing and peaceful. I enjoy watching the flowers sway from left to right when a cool summer breeze passes by. It makes it such a refreshing experience after the hot sun glaring on your face. In addition, the beautiful colors of the flowers put me into a new magnificent world where I felt free. However, I don’t feel that same feeling anymore, I more or less feel ignored because I’m a woman. It has now been two years since I moved to the Forbidden City. It’s a delicate society, gorgeous, and a peaceful place to live and be in. But I thought it’s time for a change because I was wanting something more. I know I’m a woman and I’m not important to society because a woman is thought to be useless in the political world. But I want to be recognized and known because I’ve not recalled a moment since I was recognized for something. But I thought that since I am now a concubine, maybe I can now become the emperor’s favorite. If I become his favorite, I will be able to visit him at the end of the day and maybe share something special with him and create a relationship. The thoughts and feelings of this goal becoming successful excited me. Just before I slipped into a daydream, I caught myself and realized that I had to finish gardening. Three years has passed and I started thinking and feeling that I wanted to become important and knowledgeable. Over the years, I have despised the fact that I’m a woman. I feel like I’m a ghost to society and that really bothered me. I’ve started thinking that if I want to become important, I should start with the basic steps which is knowledge. I’ll first learn how to read and write, and maybe then my intelligence will be able to promote me to a higher rank! As the thought casts over me, I realized that I want to become the


new leader of China and forget my plan with the emperor. I now know what my next goal to accomplish is, become China’s next leader.

Works Cited: Tsu-Hsi. Digital image. Britannica Image Quest. Britannica Image Quest, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. Price, Sean. Cixi: Evil Empress of China? New York: Franklin Watts, 2009. Print. Vos, Hubert. The Dowager Empress Cixi (Tzu Hsi). Digital image. China Page. China Page, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. Bensen, Amanda. "Cixi: The Woman Behind the Throne." Smithsonian Magazine 01 Mar. 2008: 1-2. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.


Cixi Evil Empress of China?