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Miss Sophia's Diary - Feminism

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Sophie, the protagonist of the famous Miss Sophie's Diary is a written monument to Feminism. Ding Ling, the deceased writer of this powerful short story uses the diary form to tell her most famous story with the purpose of solidifying her most famous character in Feminism folklore. Ding Ling uses the large pile of Sophie's personal problems, from her love life to her interactions with her fellow women and men to drive the feminist message to the reader. Simply put, Sophie's struggles and issues, printed in a diary form are not only her issues, but they are the issues of many women out there, including Ding Ling.

The main purpose of the diary form in this story is so that readers can connect as close as possible to Sophie. Sophie states that the reason she started to write the diary was, "I suppose that it must be that because of the very serious advice she gave me when she was alive I want to go on writing it for ever in her memory," (p. 52). Here she is speaking of Yun, the only person she ever showed the diary to. It is never revealed what this serious advice is that Yun gave Sophie, but the way she writes everything important in her diary, it seems that Yun told her about the importance of keeping a diary. Now the readers and Yun are the only people to have read Sophie's diary, establishing that connection with Sophie, opening the cover to all of her feminist thoughts.

Sophie expresses her feelings very freely in the diary. There is no holding back, if she feels something, it is written down. There are times where what she says seems like a feminist thought but it can be taken as a bashing of woman behaviors. One instance of this is when she writes about her mixed feelings for Wei, the pitiful man who constantly cries. She says, "It's been such a long time you've been in love with me, Wei. But has we won me? Of course, it's not my fault at all. That's how a woman is supposed to behave. I don't believe that there's another woman who wouldn't have made a fool of him,"(p. 15). Through Sophie's thoughts in written form, Ding Ling establishes some feminist principles by saying things such as, 'that's how a woman is supposed to behave.' Sophie's thoughts, which would not have been properly written out were this not a diary also have other functions, the most important being to show the inner workings of women.

Sophie is an ideal feminist. She is independent, young, and single. She also has flaws, which Ding Ling does not cover up. Sophie is isolated from the world, living alone and alienating anyone that comes to visit, by giving them a hard time. She is portrayed as someone who is comfortable with sex and men, yet she constantly writes about how unfamiliar she is with her sexuality. Through her diary, she has the large conflict in which she is torn over what she lusts and what she desires. Not only is she isolated physically; she is also isolated mentally, not knowing what to do about Ling Jishi.

Ling Jishi plays a special role in Sophie's life, occupying many of the pages in her diary. She obviously thinks about him constantly, mostly about his physical appearance. She mentions countless times his lips, which are a defining feature of him, along with his tall height. Her first encounter with him was written as, "The tall man's a real good looker. It's the first time I've ever been aware of male beauty: it's not something I'd ever noticed before," (p. 21). This is interesting because society values physical beauty very much, especially in women. Society sees a woman's beauty first, and everything else last. According to Sophie and Ding Ling, the reciprocal does not hold. She never noticed the beauty of men, only trying to get to know them from the inside for who they really are. The first time that she meets a man so handsome, that it's the first thing she notices, it really flusters her, and she becomes conflicted in whether to follow her old ways, or go with her primal lust. Unfortunately for Sophie, and many women in society,



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