Heroism in Chinese Cinderella

Throughout the novel Chinese Cinderella, Adeline is seen as a true hero. Heroism is reflected in the way she deals with rejection and injustice, and her suffering even in the face of a life-threatening condition. Her favourable personality and undying devotion, her sense of independence, perseverance, and inspiration derived from education and those around her all contribute to her portrayal as a hero.

Adeline is forced to live life enduring rejection and neglect, and this alone is demonstrated by the way her father and stepmother Niang leave her alone at boarding school in Tianjin when she is only 10 years old, in a cruel attempt to separate Adeline from her Aunt Baba, while the communists fast approach the area. While every other student is taken under their mother’s wing, Adeline is left solitary, in the face of danger at every hour. (“One by one they vanished… by the middle of December, I was the only student left”). Through a desperate, pleading letter addressed to her Aunt, she conveys her sense of isolation and sadness- “Why don’t you write, why doesn’t anyone send me a letter? …Don’t forget me.” Though the injustices in Adeline’s family life has a strong impact, she never plots against them or conspires to retaliate against those who have hurt her, demonstrating her strong sense of dignity. She is forced to suffer the hardship of rejection still, evening the face of a situation where her life is at risk. Again alone at boarding school, she develops pneumonia, and although she receives an isolated visit from her father, she is still forced to endure that sense of rejection.

Moreover, Adeline’s personality, undying devotion and tender nature pose as heroic characteristics, for example, fearing for the life of her baby stepsister when she is slapped viciously by her mother, she pleads: “Don’t beat her any more. She is only a baby!”, thus rending her relationship with her stepmother further, and paying the consequences: “I shall never forgive you… for...