Family Literary Elements

Family Literary Elements


A novel

Setting and Context

The actions take place during 1920-1923 in Chengtu

Narrator and Point of View

Omniscient third person point of view

Tone and Mood

The story is told in a calm and thoughtful mood. The narrator pays a lot of attention to details, the feelings of characters, and descriptions of events.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Chueh-hui is the protagonist of the story, while his uncle Ke-ting is the antagonist of the story.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is disagreement between the elders of the family and a younger generation.


An attempt to make Chueh-min to agree to arranged marriage.


The Kao family is gathered together; only two persons are missing. When Chueh-hui and Chueh-min arrive, Chio calls Chueh-hui “The Humanitarian”, while the rest of the family laughs. This fact indicates to a disagreement between Chueh-hui and his family.


The military conflict between the Northern provinces and the Southern provinces.


Treasure Island by Robert Louise Stevenson, Tolstoy’s Resurrection, A doll’s house by Ibsen are mentioned in the book


The author uses imagery a lot in order to describe a lifestyle of the old patriarchy family system, various customs and traditions and historical events of that time.


“Home, a fine home. A narrow cage, that is what it is”. Although the compound is a place where Chueh-hui family lives, he can’t stand being there.


This figure of speech is also used a lot in the novel.
To Chueh-min and Chueh-hui, Chueh-hsin was “Big Brother”.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

The whole school seemed to be up in arms.
The school is metonymy which denotes the students. It is used in order to emphasize how many students.
The Humanitarian.
A humanitarian is a synecdoche. The reason is the Chueh-hui’s humanitarianism is his most prominent feature of character. This quality is so strong, that Chueh-hui’s brother gives him this title.


Night came, but doesn’t bring darkness.
Night in the novel acquires qualities of a living being which can influence one’s mood.

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