HIST 260
Essay 2









Although China has one of the richest historical traditions in the world, history textbooks typically focus on the major historical figures and the events with which they are associated — the so-called “Great Tradition”. In A Daughter of Han, however, we get a fascinating glimpse of the “Small Tradition” through the oral autobiography of Mrs. Ning (as recounted by Ida Pruitt), an ordinary, low-income urban woman who lived during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For your second essay you will explore one of the prominent themes in A Daughter of Han by using “secondary sources” (i.e. works that interpret and analyze information that was originally presented elsewhere, such as in “primary sources” like A Daughter of Han) to augment Mrs. Ning’s first-person accounts. Some of the themes you may wish to focus on include missionaries, Chinese religion and/or folk beliefs, opium, medicine, the Japanese, government, marriage, and gender. Since A Daughter of Han does not have an index, you should take careful notes as you read through the book, especially on the theme that you intend to focus on. For grading details, see the Essay 2 Rubric below.