Thursday, April 25, 2013


Sometimes we can derive quite a bit of significance from a little tiny part of the reading.  Choose one small quote -- 3 sentences at most -- reproduce it below, and then comment briefly on how it connects to the overall significance of the long march.


"Valar Morghulis."

Valar morgulis -- translated from old Valyrian as "all men must die" -- is one of the most poignant quotes from Game of Thrones.  The literal meaning is obvious, but given how ubiquitous death is in Season 3 so far, we clearly see that there is a more pressing connection to the season's content at large. etc.


  1. "Not having to walk made the difference between life and death." pg. 159

    This quote illustrates a very significant concept of The Long March - the physical struggle and destruction of the troops. Those who did not have to walk, the men of higher authority, survived in all cases. However, the majority faced cruel conditions. Blood dysentery, typhus, and other illnesses arose amongst many, causing thousands of deaths. Mrs. Lo Fu explained how, "when [she] arrived in Banyou, [she] felt as if [she] had just returned to the human world from the world of death."

  2. "some did not waken in the morning, victims of cold and exhaustion." - this quote captures what just how natural it was after a while, to be surrounded by death. There's no comment on how unbearable it was to watch friends dye around you, just from staying still for too long, instead it continues on, like the book Night by Eli Wiesel, numbed to the desolate situation they are in.

  3. "Instead of trying to conserve the strength of the red Army, Mao insisted that Kuo-t'ao must face the same evil conditions-after him."

    I think that this quote symbolizes that the struggle of the hardship and the triumph of overcoming that obstacle. I think Mao wanted to put his men though hell so if hell were to come to china in the shape of a war or some other calamitous event. It almost reminds me of what the Green Beret do in the U.S. special forces, they go through three weeks of physical and mental abuse in order to be fit for any situation they might encounter. Mao believes that if his men go through this hellish terrain,then the ones that come out will be the soldiers he needs in order to rebuild china in his image.

  4. The quote I chose was: "we were famished and exhausted. Our clothes in particular, were in shreds. We had no shoes or socks, and many people wrapped their feet in strips of blankets."

    I found this so interesting because it depicts how brutal this march was. It was so cold and the conditions were aweful. It is amazing that so many people survived. Most people in the march died from things like lack of food or even just getting lost on the way. In the video earlier this week, we saw many people slide down the slick mountains and end up falling off huge drops. This quote accurately portayed the long march.

  5. "At this point, Mao had fewer than 8,000 troops, and they were desperately bewildered men"

    To me, this links together the Long March because there was great loss of life and a great deal of confusion. The troops didn't really know what they were getting themselves into at the start, and thus became very worried at the conditions.

  6. "Mao Had to let Kuo-t'ao have the top army job. On July 18th, Kuo-t'ao was appointed chief commissar of the Red Army."

    Kuo-t'ao was Mao's primary adversary during the time of the Long March. in fact Kuo-t'ao was the one who openly opposed Mao in the Secretariat. Kuo-t'ao tried to making things as difficult as he could for Mao at every chance he got. So Mao handing over the Red Army to Kuo-t'ao could prove to be detrimental to Mao's progress.

  7. "But Mao was not feeling at all defeated when he set foot in the red territory on 18 October 1935"

    Just before this, a quote from a Long March officer explains how "famished and exhausted" his army was. Although the army finally saw an end to their march, it was almost as if they ultimately were defeated, both mentally and physically. However this quote here demonstrates the Machiavellian idea that Mao sure possess, "the ends justify the means". Mao sure doesn't seem sympathetic to his either dead or near dying soldiers. he would literally do anything to ultimately achieve power in the CCP.

  8. "Mao had now archived his key objective:He had made sure he would get to the Russians first, knocking Kuo-t'ao out of the running by penning him up in the South till the following year."

    It was this paragraph that finally made me understand his behavior towards Kuo-t'ao. I could not possibly imagine why he would condemn all those men to the horrible march that he had just made with his own part of the army. It turned out as a proof for Mao's ruthless way of sacrificing the life of thousands for the top position in the CCP. He even was willing to weaken the communist army extensively, only to arrive first in Russia and to be the political leader of the Chinese Party

  9. "Impossible to go forward and seem to be waiting for our death."

    This is a very powerful line in this reading. It relates to the documentary we saw, which went into great detail about the harsh condition of this army. Foot infections, little food, cold weather, eating leather belts, esting horses/bones, and being surrounded by death shows how the Long March effected the army physically, mentally, and emotionally. This quote is a moment of realization for some of these soldiers. They knew that they had no more fight left in them. I can't even imagine what this must have done to their mental and emotional state. Then again, maybe some soldiers thought this in a positive way: no more suffering.

  10. "Sink or swim"
    As the reading depicts, the trio and the central army were truly struggling in the middle of the worst case scenario back then, the army had been wrecked by more powerful Nationalist forces and the extreme tension and exponentially increasing hostility from Kuo-t'ao's army put them into a distress dilemma that they could only choose from"Sink or swim". This also explained why Mao gained such a cultivated and staunch crew to devoted their own flesh as Mao's step stone to the ultimate dictatorship of communism. Especially even military boss like Chou en lai had colluded with Mao all the way who later become one of the most beloved and praised prime minister of china in the history.