life rattle show no. 1267

Presented on THURSDAY, August 1, 2013


Hosted by virginia Ashberry


"Independent and Bound Feet"

by Jenny Qin Chun Zhou

tonight's Show

Life Rattle Number 1267 features a Life Rattle Classic by Jenny Qin Chun Zhou.

Jenny Qin Chun Zhou was born in 1954, in Shanghai, China, the youngest, smallest, and yet, the most rebellious of five children. Her mother was a high school teacher and her father, the owner of a sweater factory before the Communist Liberation of China in 1949. After Zhou graduated from high school, the government sent her to study Nursing for two years at Shanghai First Tuberculosis Hospital.

During that time, she wrote a play for two actors. That play expressed her mingled feelings—sorrow for the patients, unhappiness over some nurses’ indifference, and her own suppressed yearning to be a writer, or at least a teacher. The play, performed for the patients and staff of the hospital, suceded in producing some tears and chuckles. (But, because of government policy, Zhou, the daughter of a capitalist, could never qualify to be teacher, or writer, or even the higher status job of factory worker. She was allowed only the low status job of nursing).

Later, after completion of three years of studies at Shanghai Medical School, Zhou was hired as a head nurse. During that period, she entered contests and won three awards for ethics essays, which were sponsored by the Shanghai Health Bureau and the Shanghai Communist Youth League.

In 1992, Zhou came to Toronto, where she obtained her Registered Nursing license from the College of Nurses of Ontario. Since then she has worked in hospitals, nursing homes, and health care companies. She currently works as a nursing supervisor for a home health care company.

Jenny Zhou is working on her first novel, a series of stories that are a composite of women’s experiences she witnessed growing up in Communist Shanghai.

The story you will hear tonight is an excerpt from that novel and was read at our 2010 Totally Unknown Writer’s Festival. Zhou’s novel will show us how a dramatic political revolution in China did little to bring any real change for woman. Kind of a “same-thing-only-different” scenario.

In tonight’s story, "Independent and Bound Feet," Zhou takes us to Shanghai just before the revolution to give us two stories in one, that of a young girl’s frustration with the restrictions of a society predicated on male supremacy limiting her own desires, and the story of her mother’s sadness born of her own experience of love and limitations within the same society.