What is the message of “When I Was in Xia Village”? Do you think the story is hopeful or pessimistic?
I think the most important message this story conveys would be the author’s sympathy for those (especially women) who chose to fight against Japan in their own ways which were not understood and were mocked by the general public at that time. Zhen Zhen, the main character, was taken away by the Japanese and raped but she secretly took advantage of it and used it as a chance to steal the information within the Japanese army for the communist party which fought against Japanese army and was admired by people in that area. However, people at that time, though hated Japanese, did not know what to do nor how to fought against. They even mocked the ones like Zhen Zhen simply because of the fact she was raped. Ding ling therefore, as a feminist and communist writer, expressed her sympathy for the girl and wished for a better future of China under communism which she believed deeply in.
The story overall is hopeful from what I saw at the end of the story when Zhen Zhen chose to leave the village to Yan An where the communist party was based at to live a new life. And I think the author wrote that for the reason she hoped more and more would be the followers of communism as she was and thought that with communism, people could be truly saved and be able to live better lives.