Inner Quarters Essay

Submitted By guanniee
Words: 1473
Pages: 6

* Full ritual status as a wife (as opposed to a concubine) was supposed to guarantee a woman that she would not be neglected after death. Even a wife who died young and whose husband remarried would have a tablet set up for her, eventually to be cared for by her husband’s descendants, whoever their mother might be. (52)

* The Confucian model gave more dignity to wives than the legal model did. Men as actors in the ancestral cult were not complete with wives to assist them. Not only were wives needed so that men might have heirs, but the wives themselves had to participate in ancestral rites. Other women, such as concubines, could bear a man heirs, but only a wife could be paired with him in serving the ancestor. Moreover, only a wife would stay next to him in death-her tablet paired with his on the ancestral altar, her body next to his in the grave. (53)

* Families in educated class regularly taught their daughters to read, and fathers in particular seem to have enjoyed seeing signs that they were talented. (61)

* Loving parents naturally wanted good homes for their daughters. Yet even if they liked to think that marriage were predestined, they also knew that making the best match for a son or daughter involved difficult choices. (61)

* Matches were not just matches of individuals; they were also matches of families, and many discussions of marriage arrangements focus on this dimension. (62)

* Marrying a daughter down was looked on as shameful, something that could be explained only if she had some major disability (blindness, deafness, mental retardation). (63)

* Searching for a talented son-in-law or a bride from a family of good reputation, thus, was also a search for a family one could turn to for help in social and political life. (63)

* Parents cast their decisions as moral ones: they saw themselves as choosing good people and good families instead of bad ones. (63)

* For their daughter, they were not merely choosing a spouse, but a family and a future. (63)

* Because picking marriage partners could be so complex, some families started looking for potential spouses when the children were very young.

* Childhood engagements were commonly looked on with pride as a sign of the strength of the ties between the two families. (64)

* Parents were generally well into their fifties if not sixties when the last of their children reached the age to marry. Getting spouses for all of them were considered the last burden before they could enter a carefree old age. (64)

* Marrying children young, casting marriage decisions as moral choices of good people or good families, keeping financial considerations in mind, paying as much attention to the potential spouse’s relatives as to his or her personal characteristics, and viewing the whole process as a burdensome yet rather exciting chore performed in part by older women-these characteristics of matchmaking are far from unusual. (81)

* In most societies, marriages began with rituals. These rituals were rites of passage that facilitated changing the status of the bride and groom by taking them on a journey: separating them from their former identity, keeping them in a luminal state for a while, the reincorporating them as new people. Wedding rituals gave recognition, in a symbolic way, to the sexuality of the bride and groom and its importance to their relationship with each other. (82)

* The Rituals of Betrothal

* Once a family has an interest in another family as a potential affine, the first step was for the boy’s family to send the matchmaker with a card listing such information as his patrilineal ancestors for three generations, their titles if any, the son’s seniority number with the family (first, second, or third son), the date of his birth, his mother’s surname.

* Next, “detailed cards” were exchanged. The detailed card from the man’s family would list all the information given