One of the many common trends thought the documentary was a dedication to family or sense of duty toward the family that was a big part of the social atmosphere for many of the nine individuals. Miranda Hong spoke about it clearly in the way family can influence careers and home life. Hong discussed that she felt a duty to take care of her parents and understand their opinions. For her taking care of her parents was more a duty and partially out of the strictness of her own upbringing.
Yang Haiyan talked of coming home to the countryside to help her father for the harvests; although she wanted to leave the countryside to work she also made a big connection to the countryside and family ties. Another aspect of this can be seen on Yang’s venture to find her kidnapped mother. After finally finding her mother Yang promises that if she ever returns to their hometown Yang will care for her mother for the rest of her life. This promise Yang gives to her mother gives shape to the way family plays a large role in her life.
Xu Weimin’s life was also greatly impacted by family. He had to split his time between three different cities to fulfill all of his family’s needs, Beijing for the children of his first marriage, Shanghai for his current marriage, and Shenzhen for his parents and sister. In part of his discussion Xu spoke about how he has to live in three cities just to keep all of his family happy.
Education was another key dynamic that played roles in the lives of the nine individuals. The type or lack of education shaped the way each young person conducted themselves and saw their ability to interact within their families and society. Wei Zhanyan became a factory worker originally to help support her brother’s education. Although Wei knew how to read and write she resented the fact that education was prioritized for boys and not girls. Wei’s story shows the trend of women in China seeking out more education or having the want for more education.
Education outside of China can be influential and an issue for individuals. For Ben Wu his education abroad helped shape his moral center and principles. In coming back to China to do business he found that his education in the United States put him in questionable situations when it came to whether to bribe officials or not.
In Zhang Yao’s case his medical education placed him in a better place financially. However it is Zhang’s case his efforts to use his education for the greater good set him apart. Zhang spoke about taking his education and skills learned to do good and benefit people with less training.