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Chinese Literature

In: Other Topics

Submitted By rjrokosz
Words 1798
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Richard Rokosz
CHIN 3801
March 11, 2016
Midterm

1. There are some perennial subjects in Chinese or Japanese poetry, for instance, love, nature, celebration of life, etc. Discuss one subject: How have different poets in different historical periods approached the subject? For instance, how is love depicted by different poets? Chinese poetry has since the beginning featured the subjects of love, nature and celebration of life as recurring topics. Almost every poem we’ve analyzed and discussed in class has included references to one or more of these subjects. Nature is the perennial subject that has resonated with me most, as it has encompassed the majority of metaphors and comparisons in the poetry we’ve read. Chinese and Japanese poetry metaphorically incorporate animals and the seasons. The animals will often represent humans. Their actions also symbolize different human actions. In no other cultural tradition has nature played a more important role artistically than in that of China. Since
China’s earliest dynasty, real and imagined creatures of the earth (serpents, cicadas, and dragons) were gifted with special powers. In the Chinese imagination, mountains were also infused with sacred power since ancient times. They attracted the rain clouds that watered the farmer’s crops. They concealed herbs used for medicines, magical fruits, and minerals that held the promise of longevity. Mountains with caves and grottos were viewed as gateways to other realms, “cave heavens” leading to Daoist paradises where aging is stopped and inhabitants live in harmony. Men roamed in the mountains not only

in search of immortality but to purify the soul and seek renewal. Du Fu has written dozens of works about nature. “A Guest Arrives” by Du Fu talks of a gentleman who arrives amidst a period of solitude. The poem is begun by a descriptive description of his hut’s surroundings. “South of my hut, North of my hut, all is spring water”. Then he describes the company that he keeps in the isolation of his hut. “The flock of gulls is all I see come each day”. He describes the path to the front door of his hut. “The floral path has never been swept for a guest.” While the poem goes on with subjects apart from nature, the first three lines used nature to depict the scene. Spring water and a flock of gulls paint a picture of a water landscape. In Du Fu’s poem, “The Solitary Goose”, he wrote about a goose that has lost its flock. The goose is distressed and searching for its flock. The flock has apparently forgotten about him, “No-one now remembers this one shadow”. While Du Fu speaks of a goose who has lost its flock, and “duck calls” refers to birds, the poem might have been a metaphorical reference to lost humans. “Cried of birds are everywhere confused”. Confusion while lost is a very relatable feeling that Du
Fu symbolizes through the literary use of a goose losing its flock. Li Bai, another famous poet of ancient Chinese poetry, has a number of poems that pertain to nature as well. In his famous poem “Viewing Heaven’s Gate Mountains”, Li Bai says “the River Chu cuts through the middle of heaven’s gate”. I said earlier that it is not uncommon in Chinese legends for the mountains with caves to be considered “gateways to other realms”.
Therefore, when Li Bai says that the River Chu cuts through the middle of heaven’s gate, it is immediately depicted as a river cutting through a great mountain. Li Bai even goes

into detail about the water, saying that the “green water” flows east and swirls here and there. Li Bai describes each riverbank as having great blue hills that face each other. The imagery perfectly paints the picture of a great river slicing through a mountain. He closes the poem with reference to a sun through a boat sail, creating the image of a sunset.

2. Analyze in detail one of the poems or prose we have discussed in class. Follow the leads (points emphasized in class) in your essay. For example, you may choose any one from the following: you are, however, welcome to make your own choice. Tao's career as a "scholar-gentleman" or government official, clashed with his

tendency for solitude, and he became a recluse in the Chinese manner, in a rural area with his family. Tao Qian’s very famous poem “Drinking Wine V” is particularly famous for its influence on later generations of poets. It is the fifth in a series entitled “Drinking
Wine”. In the poem, Tao Qian meditates on the meaning of retreat. He describes the life he lives after he retired to the countryside. One of Tao Qian’s previous poems was entitled, “Returning to Live in the Country”. His works are chronological in a sense. In
“Drinking Wine V”, he says, “I built a cottage right in the realm of men”. In the beginning of the poem he himself mentions that his hut of solitude still stands in the realm of men.
He has not gone to some remote hillside where there is no trace of mankind or civilization. He has plopped himself right into the middle of it all. Yet, he goes on to mention that he can no longer hear the sounds of the people who pass his hut. Why is this? He goes on to explain that reclusion is a state of mind and has very little to do with

physical occupation in a desolate place. Basically, Tao Qian is saying that man can live in a state of loneliness or isolation while still participating in the realm of men. Maybe the happiest people are like Tai Qian in that they disconnect themselves from reality and try to relish in the natural or simple glories of life. He says, “I pick chrysanthemums by my eastern hedge, far off I see the southern hills.” Somehow, all that is in between Tao
Qian’s hedge of his hut and the southern mountains he is able to disregard. The realm of men likely exists right there, but Tao Qian is unaware. If Tao Qian is able to disregard the huge mountain, then he is definitely able to disconcert himself with the trivial issues of every society. Tao Qian might be suggesting that the realm of men that includes social status, hard work, poverty, dishonesty and corruption is cause for unhappiness.
Therefore, it is more fulfilling and enriching to live a life of mental solitude. Philosophers have claimed that Tao Qian goes on to explain that ultimate truth can not be conveyed through language. In the poem, Tao Qian tells us that someone’s unsatisfactory life does not have to be an interruption or burden. He says that as long as your mind is in a far away place, or a much happier place, you are free and able to enjoy yourself. The kind of freedom that he refers to is more so meant philosophically than literal definitions of freedom. According to Tao Qian, we have nothing in our minds positive or negative.
When he talks of the chrysanthemum that he picks, his state of mind is depicted. It suggests that he is unaware of the southern mountain until he happens upon it as he picks the chrysanthemum. Therefore, Tao Qian’s state of mind is so solitary and disconnected from the realm of men that he is unaware of his surroundings. His mind

seems to be empty since the huge, vast mountain is not in his mind. Also in the poem,
Tao Qian writes, “birds in flight join in return.” When Tao Qian wrote the poem, he had seemed to return to nature. Therefore, he was free and so were the birds that he wrote about. The birds are returning home. I think that Tao Qian’s description of the birds is symbolic of his own experience. As Tao Qian is returning to home (nature), the birds in the poem are returning to their homes too. The birds represent different states of Tao
Qian’s mind, rather than birds of the rest of the world. As Tao Qian grew older, he grew more reflective, and more convinced of the virtue of reclusion. The profound and poignant experience of nature and solitude conveys to Tao an unspeakable reality.

3. Which poem, or poet, or prose work has appealed to you the most? (In other words, which poem, or poet, or prose work do you like the best?) Defend your choice. Note: you are required here to discuss a poem, a poet, or a prose work of your choice, but do not write about the same piece you have chosen for question
#2. In your discussion, try to be specific. Support your statements with examples.

Born in modern Jiujiang, Jiangxi, Tao Qian has come to be known as one of the

most influential pre-Tang Dynasty (618-907) Chinese poets. Scholars of Chinese literature throughout the ages have unanimously admired Tao Qian’s poetry. Roughly 130 of his poems have survived the test of time. These are all of various lengths. Many are prefaced with a foreword explaining the contexts under which they were transcribed. Many popular poets after Tao Qian’s time were drawn to imitate his style. Tao Qian ended up serving more than ten years in government service, personally involved with the sordid

political scene of the times. Scholars and historians believe that Tao Qian took serious issue with the corrupt regime that existed. However, he was apparently very aware of the Confucian moral obligation of the literate gentleman that stated that he must make his abilities available to the state. Historians believe that Tao Qian had a problem with alcoholism as wine was a recurring theme in his works. To him, wine served as more than just a beverage. However, the Chinese heritage appreciated the spiritual liberation achieved by being mildly intoxicated. Much of Tao Qian’s innocent genius has been possibly accredited to Tao Qian’s condition. Almost as much as wine, Tao Qian was extremely fascinated with chrysanthemums. In fact, the flower itself has come to be associated with the poetry of Tao Qian. He came from a notable family which eventually descended into poverty; when young, he was torn between ambition and a desire to retreat into solitude. The death of his sister together with his disgust at the corruption and squabbling of the Jin Court prompted him to resign, factors which led his decision that life is too short to compromise on his principles. Because his works portray a life of farming and drinking his self-made wine, he would later be called "Poet of the Fields".
With his wife and children, he retired to a farming village south of the Yangtze River.
Despite the hardships of a farmer’s life and frequent food shortages, Tao was content writing poetry.

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...Susanna Zhang Eacs 4B Section 6pm During Lu Xun’s study in Japan, some topics that he was interested in were “What are the qualities of the ideal human, what does the Chinese character lack most, What is the source of illness.” This made me pause for a little while and try to answer these questions myself. Just like Lu Xun, I was also surprised that his mother called him back to China was for an arranged marriage to a girl that he has never met. Usually in novels, we hear the women’s point of view in the marriage. The author then goes on talking about Lu Hsun’s literary work. The author says “many of his stories are flawed, though they are genuine by virtue of their depth, strength, and gravity.” You can tell that Lu Xun was a great write through the words the author uses in describing each work as “masterpiece” in “Madman’s Diary”, “transcends cultural boundaries and should reach the reader’s heart” in “New Years Sacrifice,” ect. I learned that Mao admired and respected Lu Hsun and “hailed him as the commander of China’s cultural revolution.” The author comes up with three reasons for this. First, Lu Xun’s literature was based on utilitarianism, secondly, he “subsumed literature and arts under politics”, and finally because Lu Xun was a “relentless fighter.” One of my favorite articles was a “Madman’s Diary.” The narrator had illusions that the doctor was going to eat him and that his own brother was the doctor’s accomplice. When the narrator says “ I know their......

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Music

...results, and 280,000 related videos on Youku, which is the China’s largest online Youtube. Some people argue that it is Chinese “Gangnam Style” (Sun). One related video it shows that Chinese paramilitary soldiers are performing a dance of the song “Little Apple” during a show by the local government. On November 24, the South Korea girl pop group T-ara released a remake of the music video of “Little Apple,” and translated most of the words to Korean. On the same day, the Chopstick Brothers performed “Little Apple” at the American Music Awards, where they were awarded the “Best International Music.” “Little Apple” is but one example of a new style of Chinese pop music that has appeared in the last few years. Other examples include “The Most Dazzling Folk Style,” by Phoenix Legend (2012), “So Cool,” by Da Zhang Wei in 2014, CCTV Spring Festival Gala (which is the premier mainland Chinese television event of the Chinese new year), and “Chick Chick,” composed and sung by Rong Wang (2014). These pieces represent a new style of Chinese pop music: “earworm songs.” As Chinese pop music industry, the new trend the style of an earworm song became immensely popular, attracted more people, and had hugely influenced Chinese society. In my paper, I will analyze this new style of Chinese pop earworm music with the particular song “Little Apple” and its affect on Chinese society. Sacks Olivers mentioned that the first time anyone used the word of “earworm” as a literal translation by......

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Ji Gue

...Name Course Name of the instructor Date of submission Asians studies, Introduction The Chinese history has it origin in the northern region where it find reference to dynastic ruler and sage – kings of antiquity. Chinese mythology found a fertile land for settlement in Yangtze, the southern area. Unlike the northern region the residents were able to live relatively ease, to involve in dreams of the supernatural and the romantic. This gave rise to the Chinese literature of metric songs that was different from the classic of poetry regarding their romantic’s spirit and lyrics nature. Songs of the south is sentimental, self- conscious and evokes supernatural spirits as well as outwardly. The greater solo voice of Li Sao was Chu Yuan. His Encountering the Sorrow is the most primitive narrative poem to survive. Chu was a supporter of the ruling house of the territory of Chu. He was an excellent diplomatic but his competency was shadowed by the jealous of his colleagues in the ruling house. His first deportation occasioned numerous brilliant lyrics songs: Outpouring of sorrow, Inquiry into Cosmos and Encountering Sorrow. There were other songs he composed in different banishments (Minford, 2000). Typically, Li sao is allegoric and yet anagogic. It dual, the tristesse and quest. The latter reflects the poet’s sorrow, resentments and complaints against the wicked society the through the malicious misrepresentation has disjointed him with the Fair One he serves. The quest,...

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