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Chinese literature response 1st - Essay Example

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The several hidden meanings and themes in “The Story of the Western Wing” by Shifu Wang depict not only a comedy and love story, but also other social and political concepts of the time. Wang uses different literary descriptions and poetic rhetoric to describe alternative…
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Chinese literature response 1st
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The several hidden meanings and themes in “The Story of the Western Wing” by Shifu Wang depict not only a comedy and love story, but also other social and political concepts of the time. Wang uses different literary descriptions and poetic rhetoric to describe alternative meanings and to show several ideas about the issues of the time. One of the concepts that Wang portrays is the idea of division that is beginning to unite, specifically with the idea of east meeting west. The characters, rhetoric and plot line become a symbol toward this concept of unification. This was a central theme to the Yuang and Ming dynasty based on ideas of political expansion and social diversity that was beginning to influence different regions and is portrayed throughout this work.
The main way that Wang shows the idea of political unification is through one set of lines that is stated at the beginning of her work. This states:
“Only this place is paramount….At heaven’s edge autumn clouds furl; / bamboo hawsers cable together the floating bridge, / On the water a steel blue dragon reclines. / East and west it breaches into the rune regions / north and south it threads together a hundred streams” (118).
While Wang is speaking about the place that Student Zhang is going to, it also shows that this is a central point for unification of east, west, north and south. The politics that relate to this and the influence of the environment at the time influence this specific concept and theme.
This one rhetorical passage not only defines the idea of expansion and unification of political territories. This is also seen through the symbol of the characters that reflect this passage, as well as the metaphor of the entire work. The Student Zhang is located in the western wing of the monastery and Oriole, his lover, is in the east wing. Their love is seen by each when they go to different sides of the monastery to visit each other. This is representative of the theme of unification of north and south. The two characters and monastery become symbolic of the division of each side that is brought together through the actions and expressions of both characters. This is able to intertwine with the passage given that shows the meeting point of all sides.
Another relationship to this main theme is based on the actions taken throughout the book. The plot line follows the Yuan and Ming dynasties and what was politically occurring during this time. This is specifically represented by Oriole’s mother and the actions she takes after the monastery is invaded, specifically by offering her daughter’s hand in marriage for defeating the opposing side. Putting this conflict into the story is one that not only shows the specific plot line, but also relates to the political conflicts that Wang may have been influenced by at this time. The statement is one that shows the idea of conflict and invasion; however, the stronger statement is overcoming this to meet the unification of the opposing side, represented through the love of Oriole and Zhang.
The main themes that are represented in “The Story of the Western Wing” not only show concepts of love between two characters. More than this, the author creates an understanding of the political tensions, upheavals and divisions of the time. The main theme and statement that is created is one that is based on unification and meeting of different lands, as opposed to invasions and upheavals. Representing this through the rhetoric that is used, as well as using the characters and setting as a symbol, then gives Wang a space to make a statement not only of love, but also of political and social unification.
Works Cited
1. Wang, Shifu. The Story of the Western Wing. University of California Press: California, 1995. Read More
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