Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zhou Dynasty Women

“Classic Poetry” is an excellent example of how a civilization’s legacy remains, even after thousands of years, through their pieces of art. Reading these short poems I can paint a whole picture of Ancient China. You can visualize what a normal person’s daily life was like since most of the poems are from the view-point of an ordinary person.
A number of poems we read basically talked about women; either regarding some issue that women in those days faced, or about how certain men acted towards women. In general, we can see how women were totally secondary in the society like most other cultures of that time. Men could go for second wives, or forcefully marry women such as in “Boat of Cypress’. Also, we can pick how fornication was a big deal, yet common practice, in that society by the poem “Chung-tzu, Please,” as the narrator is afraid of her family finding out about her sexual relations with Chung-tzu. Also, by “Dead Roe Deer” we can tell how a woman’s honor was shattered had she been found guilty of having sexual relations with anyone but her husband. She was treated worse than a wild, dead deer and not shown any respect anymore.
In the poem “Plums Are Falling,” a woman is yearning to be married off to anyone. Shedding light on how the ratio of men to women in that society was quite out of balance. Probably due to wars the number of men was quite low which lead to women having trouble finding partners, and also leading to the practice of polygamy.

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