Compare and Contrast

1930s: In China, marriage is arranged to provide the husband’s family with the most wealthy or powerful relations possible. Often, either the couple has never met or they have known each other for only a short time. The woman has no say and is expected to comply with her father’s wishes regarding her groom. Once married, she and her children became subordinates to her husband. Divorce is extremely rare because both parties have to agree to it. Today: Marriage is entered willingly by both parties. Generally, men and women take time to get to know each other before deciding to get married, and the decision rests solely with the bride and groom. Marriage is often egalitarian, with both people involved equally and both people voicing opinions, ideas, and needs. Divorce is extremely common.

1930s: In China, the bond between a mother and daughter is considered sacred and unbreakable even if the relationship is strained. The clan and family mentality shapes adult relationships. Today: In America, the bond between a mother and her adult daughter is sometimes cherished and nurtured and sometimes non-existent. While many mothers and daughters enjoy the changing nature of their relationship and come to enjoy each other’s company as adults, the individualism of American culture often leads to distant relationships among family members.

1930s: In China, the political climate is threatening and unstable. Conflicts emerge from within and without. People live in fear and uncertainty. Today: In America, the political climate is stable. There are regular elections in which citizens have the opportunity to make choices about their governments, and political parties have a formal process for seeking power. Still, low voter turnout is a consistent source of disappointment to candidates and party leaders.

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