BING XIN, A.K.A. PING HSIN, PEN NAME OF XIE BINGXIN (1900—1999) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

BING XIN, A.K.A. PING HSIN, PEN NAME OF XIE BINGXIN (1900—1999). Born in Fuzhou, Bing Xin graduated from Yanjing University in Beijing with a bachelor’s degree in literature and from Wellesley College in the United States with a master’s in English literature. She began writing during the May Fourth Movement and had a long, distinguished career as a writer, translator, teacher, and public figure. Her creative writing includes poetry, prose, and short stories. In her early works, Bing Xin encouraged women to get an education not only as a way to obtain self-fulfillment but also to bring happiness and stability to the family. Her first story “Liangge jiating” (Two Families) portrays two housewives with different backgrounds: the educated woman is able to teach her children and provide understanding and comfort for her husband; the illiterate woman is only interested in spending money on jewelry and clothes and does not know how to bring up children or manage household finances. The family with the well-educated wife is happy while the one with the ignorant wife is unhappy. At a time when education for women was still rare, Bing Xin attempted to use her stories as a wake-up call to society. Her writings, as expressions of a wholesome, healthy, uplifting outlook, generally promote a positive attitude toward life and advocate love and kindness. Her series of poems Fan xing (Myriad Stars) are most emblematic of this worldview; she extols the love of family, the love of friends, and above all maternal love. In her view, love is capable of saving the world. The hero in “Chaoren” (The Superman), her best-known story, is a man saved by a loving relationship with a little boy. Bing Xin wrote many stories and poems for children; from the series Ji xiao duzhu (To Young Readers) to tales she wrote in the 1950s, she shows her young readers how important it is to love nature, learning, and family and friends.