Should The White Haired Girl Marry The Evil Landlord?



(Wikepedia)  The White Haired Girl: Synopsis

The White Haired Girl is based on the legend of a white-haired female immortal. It tells of Yang Bailao, a tenant farmer who shares his life with his daughter Xi'er. The despotic landlord, Huang Shiren, attempts to forcibly take Xi'er for himself. On the eve of the Chinese Spring Festival, Huang forces Yang to sell his daughter as repayment of the debt Yang owes him. Yang drinks bittern and dies. Xi'er is taken by force to Huang's house and raped by the landlord.

The girl is in love with Dachun, a young farmer in her village, who tries to help her escape but fails. He goes to find the Red Army. Xi'er runs away from Huang's house and hides herself deep in the mountains. She leads a miserable life, and her hair turns completely white. Two years later, Dachun returns to the village with the army unit he is in. He finds Xi'er and helps her get even with the hated landlord. They marry and lead a happy life after emancipation.

(Wenxue City)

Yesterday, veteran <Wenyibao> editor and cultural critic Xiong Yuanyi came to the Central China Normal University's Hankou campus to deliver a talk on popular culture.  Xiong Yuanyi mentioned the notion that "The White Haired Girl should marry Huang Shiren" which is fashionable among young people.  For some, this means that the sympathy that used to exist for poor and oppressed people in the 1940's has been replaced by blind adoration of money.

At the talk, the teenage student Xiao Xie stood up and said, "If Huang Shiren were alive today, he is definitely somebody with excellent family conditions.  He may also have handsome looks combined with elegance and refined taste.  If he has the money as well, why not marry him?  Even if he is a bit older, it does not matter."

Another female first-year university student named Cai from the Department of Literature caused a stir with this comment: "If I were to marry the rich man Huang Shiren, I will donate his money to charitable causes and help needy people."

The White Haired Girl, Xi Er

So Xiong Yuanyi concluded: "If the White Haired Girl were to marry Huang Shiren, she would instantly become the member of a different class."

Central China Normal University Department of Literature professor Xu Zuhua said the viewpoints around "whether the White Hair Hair should marry Huang Shiren" arose out of a postmodernist world.  Purely from the viewpoint of literature, it  cannot be pleasing to see the subversion of the values of a specific historical epoch.  Purely from the viewpoint of contemporary wife, it is the freedom for the White Hair to make the personal choice to marry Huang Shiren, although nobody can be certain whether this will bring happiness in the end.  But he does not believe that university students should make such a choice, because the value and dignity of life should be created on one's own.

The Evil Landlord Huang Shiren

Selected netizen comments

(Southern Metropolis Daily)

Why shouldn't the White Haired Girl marry Huang Shiren?  If the grandmother of the university student who said that had heard her, she would not be amused.  She might have slapped the granddaughter a couple times out of anger.  Huang Shiren was devious and vicious.  He gave a high-interest loan to Yang Bailao.  When Yang could not repay the debt, Huang administered a beating to Yang and seized his daughter as payment.  These deeds who that Huang Shiren was morally depraved.  It can also be said that there was a irreconciliable contradiction between Huang Shiren and Xi'er that went beyond a difference in age.  Due to his class position, Huang Shiren only wants to take possession of Xi'er.  He harbored no love or sympathy for her.  Under the circumstances, Xi'er could have married Huang Shiren (more precisely, Huang Shiren forcibly takes Xi'er as a concubine).  But it would be too silly and too navie to assumed that "she can donate his money to charitable causes and help needy people."  Many Cinderellas have married rich people, but the Cinderallas still end up with no money or rights.  When the rich man gets tired of her, he kicks her out and she is in an even worse situation than before.  (from Zhu Shaohua)

"Huang Shiren" and "The White Haired Girl" represent the rich and poor classes, with the obvious dichotomy of bad versus good.  That is to say, there is a sharp difference between "The White Haired Girl" whose rights were deprived and the immoral rights violations by "Huang Shiren."  As long as you won't give up the pursuit of justice and fairness, you can never compromise and you must fight all the way.  In truth, we have been working hard to "destroy all the Huang Shiren's" and rescue all the "White Haired Girls" everywhere.  Occasionally, an individual "White Haired Girl" might surrender, but that does not mean that we should give up our faith and quest for justice and fairness.

Therefore, it does not matter how much society has changed because black will always be opposite to white and justice must never yield to evil.  Both today and also in the future, the "White Haired Girl" will always be the "White Haired Girl" and "Huang Shiren" will always be "Huang Shiren."  Nothing will change, because this is the most basic human value and belief.  Paradoxically today, some people thinks that "Huang Shiren" is a handsome elegant rich man who makes for a good husband.  To reduce "Huang Shiren" to "wealth and good living conditions" implies the loss of this most basic faith.  In my view, these alternate view represent the "opportunistic opportunities" that arise out of problems in the social structure.  (by Chen Yizhou)

Internet poll:

Question: Do you think that the White Haired Girl should marry Huang Shiren>
40.6%: Yes -- if you are going to marry someone, it should be some rich man
39.9%: No -- your marital choice should not be based solely on money
19.5%: Not sure

Part of the problem about the continuation of past emotions into the present is that the presentation of the same story is changed by contemporary musical styles.  Here is a contemporary version of the song <The North Wind Blows> sung by Super Girl Zhou Bichang:


Here is a pop version by Liu Yifei:


The contemporary styles of singing is going to guarantee that the class-based emotions will be wiped out.  This should not be surprising at all.  This point can be easily made through searching for the various versions of the American natoinal anthem <The Star-Spangled Banner> at different points in history by people as varied as Jimi Hendrix, Celine Dion, Marvin Gaye, Faith Hill, Ted Nugent, The Cactus Cuties, The Temptations, Bria Kelly, the Mormon Choir, Alanis Morissette, Charice, Jose Feliciano, Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, the Dixie Chicks, Aretha Franklin, the Backstreet Boys, Faith Hill, Hillary Clinton, Carrie Underwood, Beyonce, Leanna Rimes, Eleanor Steber, Jordin Sparks, Pearl Jam, Christina Aguilera, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Roseanne Barr, ...  It is just a song and anyone can sing a song to their personal liking.  Above all, there is no one single way in which the song must be sing.  You may not like how someone sings it, but you can't make him/her shut up because you don't like it.

1994 Movietone edition by Merrill Miller

1960, Eleanor Steber


1968, Jose Feliciano


1969, Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, NY

Roseanne Barr edition