Chinese Literature T. Ang Dynasty Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Literature Type: Term Paper Paper: #58457531 Related Topics: Reincarnation, Eastern Religion, Gone With The Wind, World Literature
Excerpt from Term Paper :

¶ … culture of humankind and its history, for as the saying goes, "the more we are different, the more we are the same." The Tang Dynasty in China occurred hundreds of years ago, yet some of the issues from that time remain as pertinent today as they did in the past. The poets of this period truly exemplify this continuation through time. When reading the works of the most well-known writers of this period in Asia, it is almost as if they were just written.

TO MY DAUGHTER

ON HER MARRIAGE INTO THE YANG FAMILY

My heart has been heavy all day long

Because you have so far to go.

The marriage of a girl, away from her parents,

Is the launching of a little boat on a great river.

..You were very young when your mother died,

Which made me the more tender of you.

Your elder sister has looked out for you,

And now you are both crying and cannot part.

This makes my grief the harder to bear;

Yet it is right that you should go.

..Having had from childhood no mother to guide you,

How will you honour your mother-in-law?

It's an excellent family; they will be kind to you,

They will forgive you your mistakes

Although ours has been so pure and poor

That you can take them no great dowry.

Be gentle and respectful, as...

...

The girl in the poem may have left for her new marriage by boat instead of limosine, but the love that the father feels for his daughter as her wedding day approaches shares the same bittersweet emotions of any parent when the wedding couple walks down the isle and say their vows in 2004.

During this time in China's history, women were considered second-class citizens and male dominance was norm. A woman -- even a young girl such as that in the poem -- was required to obey her father before marriage, her husband after the betrothal and her sons in widowhood. She also was to follow the four virtues -- fidelity, physical charm, priority in speech and proficiency in needlework (Jianying).

Regardless of these differences between this ancient society and the more modern one today, it is difficult not to share in the father's grief as he gives his final advice to his loved one: "to be gentle and respectful," "careful of word and look," "observant of good example."

What is also so alike the male in present-day society is the fact that the narrator in the Chinese poem feels obligated to hide his feelings -- a demand placed on men in many cultures including that in America. After they reach a certain age, they can no longer show their feelings.

As many Tang poems, this one can be read as a simple narrative or with deeper symbolism. Often, a river stands for aging and the eventuality of death. At another level, then, this poem could be…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Ho, Jianying. "Women of the Tang Dynasty." The Tang Dynasty. 12/01. http://www.chinavoc.com/history/tang/women.htm.

University of Virginia. "300 Tang Poems." 1997. http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/chinese/frame.htm03/01/04


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