The Lowland

The Lowland

by

Jhumpa Lahiri

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Lowland can help.
Mao Zedong ruled the People’s Republic of China as the Chairman of the Communist Party from 1949 until his death in 1976. Mao’s Chinese nationalist, anti-imperialist outlook was inspired by Marxism-Leninism. He attempted to transform China’s economy from an agrarian to an industrial one. This movement, known as the Great Leap Forward, backfired with devastating consequences, leading to the deaths of an estimated 30 to 45 million people between 1958 and 1962. Mao attempted to strip Chinese society of cultural artifacts, elevate his own cult of personality, and keep China disconnected from the rest of the world. Though his supporters have, over the years, credited him with driving imperialism out of China and modernizing the nation, Mao’s regime was totalitarian, violent, and responsible not only for the deaths of perhaps 70 million Chinese but also for the widespread destruction of religious and cultural sites and artifacts in pursuit of a collective willful amnesia regarding Chinese history and culture.
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Mao Zedong Term Timeline in The Lowland

The timeline below shows where the term Mao Zedong appears in The Lowland. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 4
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
...are armed with primitive weapons, carry red flags, and can be heard shouting “Long live Mao Tse-tung.” (full context)
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
Subhash begins finding communist texts, including Mao’s Little Red Book, among Udayan’s things. One afternoon, on a study break, Subhash picks up... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
...to engage in a study-session-like meeting at which the group must prove their familiarity with Mao’s tenets and Chinese history. Communist newspapers are distributed, and from reading them Subhash learns that... (full context)
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
Secrets and Conspiracies Theme Icon
...with a folded piece of paper on which is written a list of slogans glorifying Mao and the uprising in Naxalbari. One night, when Udayan comes home late, Subhash asks if... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
...Udayan’s. Udayan describes how he has rejected the idea of arranged marriage, which goes against Mao’s tenets, and has married Gauri without his parents’ blessing. The two are going to wait... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
Secrets and Conspiracies Theme Icon
Presence in Absence Theme Icon
...the country in his absence. By 1970, the Naxalites had “plastered” Calcutta with images of Mao, disrupted elections, and set off bombs. After a period of general intimidation, they began focusing... (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 1
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
...or in the paper, Gauri notices a piece mentioning Naxalite activity in India and Nepal; Maoist insurgents are holding demonstrations and committing acts of violence and terror, “plotting to overthrow the... (full context)