You are on page 1of 40

YUAN MEI'S (1716-1798) NARRATIVE VERSE Author(s): Lin Tsung-Cheng Reviewed work(s): Source: Monumenta Serica, Vol.

53 (2005), pp. 73-111 Published by: Monumenta Serica Institute Stable URL: . Accessed: 21/08/2012 15:39
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Monumenta Serica Institute is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Monumenta Serica.

Monumenta Serica Bry

WL ja

73-111%& 53(2005):

YUAN MEI'S (1716-1798) NARRATIVE VERSE* LinTsung-Cheng #tkIE

Contents Introduction Structure I. Narrative A. ABA' Structure B. Temporal Sequence C. Developing Sequence II. Characterization of Characters andtheInitial of theNarrator A. Status Appearance B. Realistic Description III. Conclusion ChineseAbstract 73 74 74 77 82 87 87 99 108 Ill

Introduction - e.g., forms in itsmultivarious Chinesenarrative literature, Generally speaking, frameworks theoretical narrative appliedto the verse,novels,and the narrative area of poeticsby Wang Fuzhi 3kZ (1619-1692) or Yuan Mei MC (1716commentaries theoretical appliedto the area of 1798), as well as the narrative novelsby JinShengtan &!? (1610-1661) or ZhangZhupo 3if (fi. 1680) a verseenters In particular, reachesits apex in theQing dynasty.1 longnarrative Wu as timein the Qing withpoets such Weiye ^i$H goldenage forthe first Yuan in seventeenth the Wu and ^H century, (1618-1684) (1609-1672) Jiaji and ZhengZhen %l% (1806-1864), JinHe ^P Mei in theeighteenth century, cenZunxian and M MM (1848-1905) in the nineteenth (1819-1885), Huang tury.2
of British at theUniversity D. Schmidt to Professor I wouldlike to expressmygratitude Jerry comof Victoriafortheirinsightful at the University Daniel Bryant Columbiaand Professor of thispaper. on theearlyversion ments 1 For a discussion see frameworks of thetheoretical poeticsby Qing critics, appliedto narrative Yuan Mei and The Garden: D. Criticism, Poetryof Life, Literary Harmony Jerry Schmidt, commentaries of thetheoretical ap(1716-1798) (London2003), pp. 419-421. For a discussion ChineseFictionand Fiction see David L. Rolston,Traditional pliedto novelsby Qing critics, 1997). (Stanford Commentary 2 See Schmidt, verse in a Garden,pp. 416-418. The best studiesof Qing narrative Harmony Western Garden,pp. 415-451; id., "Yuan Mei and QingHarmony languageare Schmidt,



and particularly influenced by thenarraby pastpoetry Havingbeen inspired in otherliterary forms such as Ming and Qing vernacular tivetradition implicit in numerous areas of showsinnovation novelsand novellas,Yuan Mei' s poetry narration. This paperwill focuson two of Yuan Mei' s mostimportant narrative poems, Poem the "Balladof theTiger'sMouth"("Hukouxing"JAPT) and "Impromptu abouta Trip Home" ("Guijia jishi" iCP^),3 witha special emphasis on sestatus of and characterization. Yuan narrator, quentialstructure, By comparing Mei's narrative withpastpoetry and thenarrative in other tradition found poetry in Chinesepoetry the transformation of the narrative forms and forms, literary Yuan Mei' s contributions to the in of narration Chinese especially development can be better illustrated. poetry I. NarrativeStructure A. ABA' Structure Yuan Mei's "Ballad of theTiger's Mouth"is dividedintothree episodes:theinthe of the and the that also servesto echo troduction, development story, ending the introduction. This particular combination of threedifferent is a components ABA' of an In structure.4 the of the typical example introductory paragraph poem, not only is the protagonist, Bian Dashou I^, introduced his voice through and actions, butat thesametime,themainidea of thepoemis putforth: thehero is nota hero;neither does theheroact. The second episode of the poem, the development of the story, consistsof three Bian's excavation of thegrave,his arrest, and his subsesections; namely, sectionis dividedintothreesubsections of its own: the quentescape. The first circumstances the excavation,the excavationitself,and afterwards. preceding Priorto digging and upsetBian Dashou decidesto deup thegrave,a determined the of Li's in ancestors order to defeat therebels.The cold and desostroy grave late scenery at thisjuncture servesto makehis act of bravery depicted conspicuous. The secondsubsection, theexcavation of thegrave,is comprised of two intrinsic of thedangers Bian enparts;theplotbeginswitha hyperbolic description and thecourageous actsperformed counters, endswith by Bian in thecompletion of his mission to destroy thegrave.Moreover, theactualgravedig, Yuan during Mei employs a seriesof actiondescriptions to demonstrate In the Bian's heroism. third after Bian has finished the the subsection, unearthing grave, people's expecNarrative Studies37 (1999), pp. 1-33; id., Within the Verse," in: Journal Dynasty of Oriental HumanRealm: ThePoetry 1994), pp. 129-131,154ofHuangZunxian1848-1905 (Cambridge 158.

3 For theChinesetext of thesetwopoems,see Yuan Mei, Xiaocang shanfang shiji 'htLJ^ltJI, vol. 6 (Taibei 1993), p. 21. The translations of thesetwopoemsare in Schmidt, GarHarmony den,pp. 568-572,633-636. 4 For a discussion of theABA' structure in Chinesenarrative Garverse,see Schmidt, Harmony den,pp. 429-430.

Yuan Mei' s ( 1716-1798) NarrativeVerse


is contrasted withoutcry and disappointment overhis timidtation of his bravery theensuing events.The poet's motivation behind thisuse of contrastive ityduring is subvert Bian's and reveal theridiculousness of to heroics, description strongly in hero. belief sucha hypocritical The second sectionin the poem, the arrestsequence,includesfoursubsectheeventswhichoccur tions:Li's greatanger,theeventspriorto Bian's arrest, In in the initial thepoet his conduct his arrest, and lastly subsection, jail. during to an arrowthat"had hithimsquarein theeyes" (line 37) to deuses an analogy thereafter. scribeLi's angerand the people's false hope thatdissipatesshortly of consists before Bian's arrest with what occurs subsection The second dealing therebelsbreakintothecitywith twosubsidiary unexpected rapidity; parts:first, two also includes The third subsection to leave. Bian hesitates second, subsidiary the people cry out, urgingBian to escape for fearof endangering parts:first, theirpleas, Bian is arand his family;second, immediately himself following Fias a warning. rested undertheeyes of thepublicand paradeddownthestreet torover Bian's describes the in fourth subsection, poet being anxiety nally, the in prison. tured The foursubsections. that deals withBian's escape includes section The third the from in whichhe is granted manner thepreposterous first describes reprieve and thesecondshowstheridiculous deathpenalty, way Bian managesto escape. his flight, he is during and humiliated howpanicky describes subsection The third arhe feels and unsettled how discomforted whilethefourth uponfinally conveys his family. with homeand weeping riving out that whichpoints of a singleparagraph The epilogueof thepoemconsists but also a proa becomes Bian not becauseof his fortunate hero, survival, only official and eminent minent personage.Moreover,at the end of thispoem, the comments, "Rely onlyon heaven,/ And don't feartigers!"(lines 97-98). poet These lines serve to echo the main idea of first episode, and place thispoem intoan ABA' structure. neatly beforeYuan Mei.5However, The ABA' structure poetry appearsin narrative of thestory intotheprologue Yuan Mei infuses tonethat thefarcical maybe unof theproAt thestart of Chinesenarrative in thetradition poetry. precedented in This is immedinature. is clownish itself the monologue protagonist's logue, that the the readers who informs of the the followed narrator, appearance by ately is designed conduct thanBian Dashou. The hero's clownish clownis noneother ironicvoice and slighting to puzzle the reader,and the narrator's expression rethis satiric created confusion The reader's confusion. the reader's by deepen him with the to andprompts arouseshis curiosity laughs. go along telling in Chinesepothere are severalwaysto begina narrative Generally speaking, a characin to reflect their "seasonal Most opening scenery" etry. poemsemploy The initial forthecharacter's ter'smoodor to setup thebackground appearance. in Bai Juyi'si^M (772-846) "Ballad of theLute" ("Pican be found evidence
5 See Schmidt, Garden, pp. 429-430. Harmony


LinTsung-cheng (836-910) "Song of theLady of Qin"

pa xing" %W) and Wei Zhuang'sM ("Qinfti yin"^%&t):

On thebanksof theHsn-yang River,I was seeingoffa guestone night, The autumn in themapleleavesand reed-flowers.6 windsighing In thethird thethird month of thespring, yearof theChung-ho reign, Outside massedlikesnow.7 Lo-yang'scitywalls theblossoms

In addition, sometimes historical or political context is used in theopening as the of the story, or as a thematic The approachis evident in background summary. Cai Wenji'sH JtE (latesecond/early third "Poem of Affliction" ("Beifen century) shi" BWM) andWu Weiye's"BalladofYuanyuan" (" Yuanyuan qu" 1 H ft):
In thelater phasesof theHan, whenitlostholdof itspower, Cho rebelled theabiding of Heaven.8 Tung against principles On that from theworldof men, daytheEmperor departed Wu Sangui,comingdown from JadePass, defeated theenemyand tookback the capital.9

theprinciples of bi it ("comparison" or "simile") and xing M ("asMoreover, sociation"or "motif")10 are also used as a mechanism forcreating theinitial atin some narrative can be found in "Fishmosphere poems. This typeof opening hawk" ("Guanju" UBI) in the Classic of Poetry(ShijingMa) and "Southeast thePeacockFlies" ("Kongquedongnan fei" ILfMffiM):
The fishhawks singgwangwan, On sandbars of thestream. Gentle maiden, pureand fair, Fitpairfora prince.11 A peacockfliessoutheast, And itfalters everyfiveft'.12

7 8 9 10 11

"Ballad of theLute," lines 1-2. See WangYuqi #:fi - Wen GuoxinHO HIiff(eds.), Lidai xushishi xuan M.'^MMWM (hereafter abbreviated Xushishi) 1984), (Guiyang p. 180. The translationis in Dore J. Levy, ChineseNarrative Poetry:The Late Han Through T'ang Dynasties N.C. 1988), p. 134. (Durham, f?? - ChukuiIH (ed. and comm.),Lidai "Song of theLady of Qin," lines 1-2. See Zhifang xushishi is in Levy,p. 138. MKMi^^MM xuanyi (Nanjing1984), p. 139. The translation "Poemof Affliction," lines1-2. See Xushishi, is in Levy,p. 125. p. 40. The translation "Ballad of Yuanyuan," lines 1-2. See Xushishi, is mine. p. 312. The translation See thediscussion and translation of theprinciples bi andxingin Levy,pp. 34-40.

lines 1-4. See WangJingzhi iff 2, Shijing "Fishhawk," MM9 (Taibei 1981), p. tongshi 36. The translation is in Stephen Owen (ed. and trans.),An Anthology of ChineseLiterature (New York 1996), p. 30. 12 "Southeast thePeacockFlies," lines 1-2. See Xushishi, is mine. p. 26. The translation

Yuan Mei's (1716-1798) NarrativeVerse


Some of thenarrative thetimeof Yuan Mei, suchas the"Ballad of poemsbefore and Bai Juyi's"Song of Everlasting Sorrow" Muan" ("Muan shi" 7fcSiit#) start theirstory withthe initialappearance of characge" -HfElfjQ ("Changhen withthe commences ters.For example,in the "Ballad of Mulan," thenarration lines1-4: andtsk, tsk, tsk, Tsk, Mulan weaves byherwindow. hear theshuttle's Wecannot sound, hear the Weonly sighs.13 girl's breakof the thesudden thereader'sattention attracts The poetfirst by describing of thegirl's the sound attention to moves the reader's and then shuttle's sound, read: the first lines Sorrow," sighs.In the"Song of Everlasting totopple a kingdom, for a woman andlonged TheEmperor beauty, prized her. without he searched of a obtaining years Throughreign many ofthe There wasa girl justabout grown, Yangfamily, - nooneknew ofheryet.14 inthe inner chambers Whohadbeenreared of thepoembeginsthenarration narrator omniscient The third-person by sequenthen the and the first its two girlof the emperor protagonists, tiallyintroducing are introduced of theabove two poems,thecharacters At thestart Yang family. the "Ballad of theTiger's from This differs voice. narrator's the significantly by his own voice and achimself introduces the character in which Mouth," through of poem can initialappearanceat thebeginning tions.Placingthecharacter's Howto the character. of the readerimmediately to drawtheattention function text the narrated voice narrator's omniscient the ever, mayseparate third-person contwo. the between communication from the reader,thereby By interrupting characthe can reader the character's the voice, trast, directly perceive through In to addition communication. effect of has the which ter, employing promoting clownish Yuan Mei also depictsthe protagonist's the voice of the protagonist, idea of a hero. This contrasit withthearchetypal in orderto contrast behavior which to the reader'sunderstanding, resultsin a contradiction tive description the discloof the reader's and prompts arousesthereader'scuriosity anticipation sureof sometruth. B. Temporal Sequence one of Yuan Mei's two major apThe "Ballad of the Tiger's Mouth" typifies inevents elements: to connecting i.e., composing temporal sequencing, proaches thesecondepisodeof order.For example,within to a sequenceby their temporal thereare threesectionsthatare conof the story), thepoem (the development of events.As mentioned nectedby a temporal above, theseeventsinordering
13 See Xushishi, 62. The translation is in Owen,p. 241. p. 14 See is in Levy,p. 129. The translation 160. Xushishi, p.


Lin Tsung-cheng

elude Bian's digging and his escape. In addition, every up thegrave,his arrest, orderof section is also dividedintoseveralsubsections to thetemporal according events.For example,within the initialsection,Bian's excavation of the grave, there are three subsections: thecircumstances theexcathe preceding excavation, vationitself, and afterwards. some of thesubsections are also divided Moreover, intoseveralparts a of events. For thesecondsubby temporal ordering example, section within theinitial section is comprised of twoparts:theplotbeginswitha of thedangers Bian encounters, and ends withthecourahyperbolic description acts in Bian the of his missionto destroy the geous performed by completion grave. in theMusic Bureau(yuefu^kM) pofound Temporal sequenceis commonly of the later Han and Six For thePeacock etry Dynasties. example,in "Southeast education and intelligence are described thetemFlies," theprotagonist's through ofherage (lines3-8): poralorder
At theage of thirteen, I couldweave white silk, At theage of fourteen, I learned to makeclothes, At theage of fifteen, I couldplaythemany-stringed lute, At theage of sixteen, I couldrecite from theOdes andHistory, At theage of seventeen, I becameyourwife, Butmyheart was often fullofpainand sorrow.15

used in Tang poetry.An exampleis Li Temporalsequence is also commonly Bai's ^ (701-762) "Ballad of Changgan"("Changganxing" -irpfi1,lines718):
At fourteen, whenI becameyourwife, So timid I neversmiled. andbetrayed I facedwall and shadow,eyesdowncast, A thousand them all. pleas: I ignored At fifteen, scowl to soften, my began I wanted us mingled as dustand ash. Andyoualwaysstoodfast hereforme, No tower vigilsawaiting yourreturn. At sixteen, sailed far offto distant you in Rock Yen-y Ch'-t'ang Gorge,fierce June waters and impossible, howling Gibbons calledoutintotheheavens.16

In thepoem,theprotagonist's married lifeand herlove forherhusband are described the use of The starts with the first through temporal ordering. story year ofhermarriage, whichtimeshe feelsshyin thepresence of herhusband's during In thesecondyear,she starts hermarriage and dedicates herself family. enjoying to herhusband, whilein thethird she feels sad and worried about her husyear
15 See Xushishi, pp. 26-27. 16 See is in David Hinton(trans.),The SelectedPoems ofLi Po Xushishi, p. 78. The translation (New York 1996), p. 12.

NarrativeVerse Yuan Mei's (1716-1798)


eventsintoa sequenceby band's longjourney.Another exampleof organizing orderis Bai Juyi's"An Old CharcoalSeller" ("Maitanweng" M their temporal seller Anoldcharcoal South below ittocharcoal andsears Cutfirewood Mountain, ofwoodsmoke, color andashthe with dust Hisfacesmeared utter histen andgrey, Hishair black, fingers gone grizzled take home he'll the for such Andyet profits daring hopes toeat. food robes towear, all sold:warm charcoal's Oncethe heworries andyet so miserably areworn Hisclothes thin, for cold he so too Charcoal's weather, hopes selling cheap, inthe foothills falls ofsnow an inch Then onenight city's ruts ofice. hiscart hetakes Andatdawn through crackling when sunis already man: the A tired ox andhungry high thesouth outside mud inmarketplace gate. pausetorest They flourish: indashing nooneknows Andtworiders appear inwhite. a servant other inyellow, the dressed Oneanenvoy itout, andafter an imperial carries Theenvoy warrant, reading north. itoff andtakes the chart turns the ox away, He chases ofcharcoal, a thousand carries likethat A cart pounds easily second without a it hurries Buta palace thought: away envoy damask offine anda few ofcrimson Half a length yards a fair isn't that the oldox's neck: over price?17 enough Draped of thepoem are threesections The first This poem is dividedintofoursections. old man's hardthe describes section The first (lines 1-6) temporally. organized ship,and his wishto sell thecharcoalforfoodand clothes.The secondsection nextday. This section his cartto the market himdriving (lines 7-12) describes also are which all of into three can be divided subsections, by a tempoorganized he before of events.These eventsincludehis wishforcold weather ral ordering rutsof his cartcracking whentaking he encounters setsoff,thehardship through noon. at market the of the south mud outside in the rest his and ice at dawn, gate the section(lines 13-16) describestwo riders(two officers) The third pillaging on thestory. section charcoal.The fourth (lines 17-20)is thepoet's comments is taken the IS to thetemporal In addition fu (enumeration) ordering, principle eventsintoa sequencein Chivehiclesof connecting to be one of theprincipal in of sequencing a means as The use of theprinciple nese poetry.18 originated /w In the in and was further theShijing, poetry yuefu poetry. developed earlyyuefu used in is often of enumeration thetechnique of thelaterHan and Six Dynasties, structure. of sequential and thecomposition Typical characterization, description,
17 See is in David Hinton (trans.),The SelectedPoems of Xushishi, pp. 168-169.The translation 26. York Po Ch-i(New 1999), p. 18 For a discussion of theprinciple fu tt, see Levy,pp. 34-46.



in "Mulberries ofthiscan be found evidence by thePath"("Moshangsang" P@ #, lines9-12,40-43):

Her hairhas a trailing tail, pony In herearsare bright moonpearls, Her skirt belowis saffron damask, hervestabove. Of purple damask, The horse'stailis woundin blue silk, Andgold is thehalter on itshead, Andhis waistis a wound-pommel sword, or more.19 Worth a million perhaps

Luo Fu H theattire of thefemale twocouplets describe The opening protagonist, and moving itemby itemto whatshe wears from herear ornaments Sfc, starting twocouis used in thefollowing of description at thewaist.The same technique Another is enumerated. theattire of Luo Fu' s husband exampleofuspletswhere and as the order of sequencdifferent articles of clothing physical appearance ing in Peacock Flies" the (lines97-104): ingcan be found "Southeast
On herfeetshe worea pairof silkshoes, combsshone; On herheadtortoise-shell silkgauze, Roundherwaistshe woreflowing On herears she worea pairof moon-bright pearlpendants; werewhite and slimlikeparedscallionstems, Her fingers scarlet cinnabar. Her mouth was as ifpossessing Walkedwith delicatesteps, in theworld.20 Suchmarvelous was matchless beauty

starts witha description of thesilkenshoesLanzhi SI5l The focusof description on her wearson her feet,and thenshifts shining up to the tortoiseshell hairpin at her movesdownto thewhite head. Then,thefocusof description waist, gauze then to her down to her and to her fingers, up again lips. Fiearrings, again up focusmovesdownagainto her "delicatesteps."The use of nally,thedescriptive of thecharacter to estabof clothing or thephysical different articles appearance meansof sequencing and characis one of theprincipal lishtheorder of narration in Chinesepoetry. terization In addition, are often to be theorderof sequencthecardinal employed points the or geographical distance in The use of cardinal points poems. ing earlyyuefu techeventsintosequencesis one of the descriptive as a meansof connecting in theprinciple fu. An exampleof usingthecardinal employed niquestypically in is "Southof theRiver" of to be the order poetry sequencing earlyyuefu points lines UM , 4-7): ("Jiangnan"

19 See is in Owen,pp. 234-235. Xushishi, pp. 20-21. The translation 20 See Xushishi, p. 28.

Yuan Mei's (1716-1798) Narrative Verse Fishplayeastof lotusleaves, Fishplaywestof lotusleaves, Fishplaysouth of lotusleaves, of lotusleaves.21 Fishplaynorth


eventsintoa vehicleof organizing to be theprincipal The principle fu continued in "The Old Man be found Bai in Evidence can Juyi's sequence Tang poetry.22 Arm"("Xinfeng zhebiweng" r#r Witha Broken from Wm, lines 1Xinfeng 4):
livesan old manof eighty-eight, In Xinfeng there as snow; and beardas white His hair,his eyebrows him As his grandson's pasttheinn, grandson helps his right His left armis on theboy's shoulder, hangsuseless.23

with his age, and then of theold manbeginswith The narration descripproceeds beard. and tionsof thecolorof his hair,thehairat his temples, Next, eyebrows, and man's of the old include its focusto thenarration shifts posture, description and the right of his two arms: the leftarm is used to support mention himself, arm is broken.Similarexamplesare Bai Juyi's"An Old Charcoal Seller" and WheatReaping"("Guan yimai"||XiJ#): "Observing
dustand ash thecolorof woodsmoke, with His facesmeared utter black.24 his tenfingers and grey, His hairgonegrizzled a poorwoman, Therestands Holdinga babyat herside. handshe holdsleft-over In herright grains, basket.25 In herleft handhangsa tattered

of vision. followsthetargeting In thesetwo poems,thesequenceof description on his face,thenshifts focusesfirst In "An Old CharcoalSeller,"thedescription Wheat In "Observing downto his fingers. and finally to thehairat his temples, is similar. Reaping,"thedescription Tang poets employthe cardinal yuefu, particularly by past poetry, Inspired eventsinto a sequence. A of as a means bodies or celestial connecting points
21 See Fu Xirenftlit Yueabbreviated xuanxiMf^ittliilf/T (hereafter (ed.), Lidai yuefushi see Cai Zongqi, "Dramaticand Narrative fushi) (Taibei 1999), p. 22. For the translation, in: Monumenta Serica 44 (1996), p. 113. in Han Yeh-fu," Modes of Presentation 22 For a discussion of thelaterHan and Six theyuefu from of narration of thedevelopment poetry in Lin in T'ang Poetry," see C.H. Wang, "The Natureof Narrative to Tang poetry, Dynasties - Stephen Han the Late Voice: Shih the Owen (eds.), The Vitality Shuen-fu Poetry from of Lyric in poetry from structure of sequential to T'ang (Princeton 1986), pp. 217-252. For a discussion see Levy,pp. 104-120. thelaterHan to theTang dynasty, 23 See and is in XianyiYang - GladysYang (trans.),Poetry 171. The translation Xushishi, p. Prose oftheTangand Song(Beijing1984), p. 119. 24 "An Old CharcoalSeller,"lines3-4. See Hinton, PoemsofPo Ch-i,p. 26. TheSelected 25 is mine. WheatReaping,"lines 13-16.See Xushishi, p. 187. The translation "Observing



typical exampleof thisis Wei Zhuang's "Song of the Lady of Qin." In thedeof the stampede of thepopulation of thecity,whichsuggests thatthe scriptions and his have deserted the to save their own lives, emperor entourages capitalcity thecharacter-bound the of uses a in of the stars narrator, lady Qin, "stampede" theheavens as theorderof narration (lines41-48): Fires burst outwith which Ninth Heaven, golden sparks fly uptothe TheTwelve fill with flames andsmoke. Municipal Thoroughfaresup Thesun'swheel descends tothe itscoldrays arewhite, west, TheLordofHeaven still in no word vain the mind throbs with horror! speaks Darkclouds the sun with a halo of like in formation for haze, troops ring siege, TheMinister Stars fallfrom their with blood, paths, tinged follow the Throne as itshifts Purple vapors stealthily Royal position, Weird of shoot the todestroy theThree T'ai Lords' rays lights through darkness, stars.26 to thesequencing with thenarrative However,in regard technique, compared pofrom the Han to the Tang dynasty, Yuan Mei' s "Ballad of the Tiger's etry Mouth"stands out as a workof some significance. This is becausean incremental development of eventsis used in composing the sequential structure of this poem. C. Developing Sequence The use of temporal orderto connecteventsintoa sequencedid not originate withYuan Mei, nordid theABA' structure. However,thegradually developing beenused to composethesequential strucdegreeof plotelements mayhave first tureby Yuan Mei in Chinesepoetry.This kindof sequenceis referred to as a "developing sequence." Within a developing sequence,the eventswitha "commontheme,"such as taketheir different and gradually fear,and sorrow, cruelty, tragedy, developing as the order of their As in tandem witha gradualindegrees progression. such, crease in emotion, suchas gradually in thedescriptension sorrow, exaggerated - mayalso increment. tion- e.g., theinfectious toMoreover, powerof sorrow with these the effect of the reader's the elements, gether perception e.g., - mayalso simultaneously reader'sfeeling sorrowful be promoted. The use of developing of storysequencescan be tracedback to thetradition and is in found Chinese vernacular novels such as the Romance telling commonly i H[I|$li|).27 In this novel, Luo Guanof the ThreeKingdoms (Sanguo yany of characterization is typical of thiskind zhong's HiJI43 (1330-1400) technique of developing sequence.At one pointin thisnovel,GuanYu MM breaksthrough theenemy as ifwalking intoa no-man's-land, and cutsoffthehead of the troops,
26 See is in Levy,p. 140. Zhifang, p. 140. The translation 27 Luo of this H43, (Taibei 1998). For a narrative Guanzhong Sanguoyanyi^HS analysis Patterns in San-kuoand Shui-hu" in AndrewH. Plaks (ed.), novel,see PeterLi, "Narrative Chinese Narrative: Critical and Theoretical 1977), pp. 73-84. Essays (Princeton

Yuan Mei's (1716-1798) NarrativeVerse


a second.28 Zhao Zilong ilTfl, like some divineguard, enemygeneralwithin breaksthrough a million twice to rescueA-dou H -4, and then,carrying troops himon his breast, breaksoutof thesiege.29 ZhangFei $kM can haltand scarea in their tracks with roars.30 million enemy troops just thesoundofhis frightening In the Water thesame technique is used by Margin(Shuihuzhuan /Kiffi),31 in the three brave his of Shi Nai'an MJt; killers,Lu (1296-1370) description at a butcher's Zhishen#?f, Wu Song Af, and Li Kui ^. Lu is indignant When his brother is him to death with three blows.32 and beats only inhumanity, an enraged Wu Song killsPan Jinlian M&1Land XimenQing murdered, cruelly Li slaughters withtheir hearts.33 heads and out offtheir ffiH It, cutting digging out any reason simplybecause he likes to kill.34Moreover,Lu is powerful Wu is strong a willowtree;35 tigerwith enoughto kill a fierce enoughto uproot Li is able to killfour at once.37 hisbarehands;36 tigers eventsintoa sequenceis comto connect Whiletheuse of developing degree there scantevidenceforthistechin is Chinese vernacular found novels, monly Yuan Mei's age. In the"Poem of Afflicbefore poetry niquein Chinesenarrative Cai of the protagonist tion," severaleventsare used to describethe suffering cold and taken to their is she For &, by Xiongnu1*0 captured example, Wenji. warrior. to marry a Xiongnu nomadic Afterwards, home,and forced threatening is situation release from a bad feel on that she by squelched might anyhappiness of herhome and thedesolation from herchildren thetragic despairat separation to discernwhichof theseeventscould indeedbe more village. It is impossible theproare all for narrator, verytragic.In fact,thecharacter-bound tragic, they her afsorrow to describe of use different to does notattempt degrees tagonist, to end. from thesamelevelof trauma she suffers instead, fliction; beginning in thelevelof tragare no differences In the"Song of theLady of Qin," there theladyof theeastern whichneighbor, In thispoem,no matter neighedyeither. No are all sorrowful. their bor,or thewomanof thewestern sufferings neighbor, all or suicide whatthe finalconsequence, matter beingcaptured, of committing which No matter unfortunate. ends are these scene,thepeople's disapdistressing under hurriedness fromrumor,or the people's disordered resulting pointment
28 See 25, p. 223. Luo, chapter 29 41, pp. 359-363. Luo, chapter 30 Luo, 42, p. 365. chapter 31 Shi Nai'an JSi , Shuihu zhuan/Klfil (Taibei 1990). For a narrative analysisof thisnovel, in San-kuo Patterns and Shui-hu." see PeterLi, "Narrative 32 See 2, pp. 35-36. Shi, chapter 33 25, pp. 257-259. Shi, chapter 34 39, 49, pp. 393-394,492-493. Shi, chapter 35 6, p. 70. Shi, chapter 36 22, pp. 212-213. Shi, chapter 37 Shi, 42, chapter p. 423.



No matter whatkindof violent all of theseare mournful. act, therestarvation, No all of theseare inhumane. or theimperial bels' robbery, troop'splundering, The characwhichone, theladyof Qin or theold man,bothare pathetic. matter levto distinguish different ter-bound theladyof Qin, does notattempt narrator, theupheavalthatshe because theeventsthatoccurduring els of sorrowsimply to her. Furthermore, becausethereaderis livesthrough are all equallymiserable from theveryoutset of thepoem,he is not inundated with all manners of tragedy in discerning either. interested degreesof suffering In "Southeast the Peacock Flies," the protagonist Lanzhi, like Yuan Mei's feels it is to on with her life after third sister,38 impossible go being separated from herhusband, and herlatersuicideis a predictably finale.Thoughoctragic themistreatments Lanzhi receivesfrom at different timesand locations, curring herown family and husband'sfamily are similar in degree,and thereis no way to tellwhichone is worse.However,in the"Ballad of theTiger's Mouth,"Yuan Mei takesBian's cowardice as thecommon theme of description, and uses develof his the of acts to connect events into a opment degree cowardly sequence. For example, within thesecondepisode,Yuan Mei first Bian's timidconveys and how Bian chooses a safe ity hypocrisy by showing job digging up thegrave of Li's ancestor of fighting Li himself. instead Yuan Mei thenproceedsto exagand the dangershe encounters when fighting with the gerateBian's efforts in When Bian succeeds the and becomes a the hero, corpses. destroying grave him of to defeat the rebels as the people's expectation peaks. However, just peothe rebelsbreakintothe city,and withthe ple and Bian are enjoying victory, soundof celebration in the air, the noise of people's cries break stilllingering out. Bian wantsto escape but hesitates, whichis in contrast withhis heroism. The people seemto knowthetruth thata so-calledherois nothing buta myth, a consolation to whichpeople can consigntheirdreams,so theycry out, urging himto escape and notinvolvehis family. thepeople urgehimto esRightafter and moreembarrassingly as a cape, Bian is arrested, paradeddown the streets to thepeople; Bian's status is suddenly from that of a hero to a warning changed because of his hesitation. in While Bian is prisoner simply languishing prison, supposedto be a tragichero,like Wen Tianxiang^t^# (1236-1283) who became a martyr to justice; however, Bian acts like a cowardtrembling in fearof in the poem is gradually torture. Bian's character from a celebrated degraded: heroto thelevel of hypocrite, and then coward.However,Yuan Mei is prisoner, not satisfied withthis, and continues raisingthe degree of his irony.During
38 Yuan Mei's third sister Yuan Jisuffered viciousdomestic married. After violenceafter getting her traumatic and divorce,her character sterile marriage changedand she lived in a painful, condition before shedied. The mostfamous worksYuan Mei wrote abouthis lament for literary his belovedsister include"Mourning fortheThirdSisterYuan Ji,Fifty ("Ku sanmei Rhymes" wushiyun" 55^tt+li), of YoungerSisterYuan Ji" ("Ndi Suwenzhuan" ic "Biography and "Libationto YoungerSister"("Jimei wen" H#^3t). For a discussion of these lftjtffl), works and an account of Yuan Ji'ssuffering, see Schmidt, Garden,pp. 433-437. Harmony

Yuan Mei' s ( 1716-1798) NarrativeVerse


birdscaredto death herois portrayed as a frightened Bian's escape,theerstwhile by thesoundof a peasant'sshout. and The temporal or developing poetry sequencesthatare foundin narrative of is a miniature narrative literature novels are based on the same hypothesis: litnarrative eventswithin life,and itspurposeis to mimicreal life. Therefore, narrative in a logical orderso as to maintain shouldbe connected erature integto be "causality," betweeneventsis understood The logical relationship rity.39 mustfollow,and vice thereis a cause, an effect whichmeans thatwherever of versa. For example,in the "Ballad of theTiger's Mouth,"Bian's excavation leads to his escape, whichin turn and imprisonment, thegraveleads to his arrest causes this failedrebellion, and his successful escape, alongwithLi's ultimately is maniof narrative theprinciple cowardto becomea hero.In addition, integrity and the the the of this ABA' in the fest beginning, development, poem: design how skillwhichfitintoa neatcausal structure. However,no matter conclusion, life is intheprocessof writing, real life,through is in mimicking fula writer with not identical and is and twisted transformed, condensed, certainly variably of theprinciple lifein thereal world.In other words,in thedomainof literature, is real life. Given of the can this, why picture represent complete causality hardly in theelements vehicleof connecting as theprincipal to use causality it necessary theplot? to avoidusingtheprincisharesthisdoubt,and attempts Yuan Mei apparently Poem about a Trip the of his in another of "Impromptu poems, causality ple his whichare as follows:first, of thirteen Home." This poem consists sections, trivial conversahis mother's to go home; second,his arrival;third, preparations of his concutwo and tedious didactic father's his tion; fourth, speeches;fifth, his his traveling bines' privatetalks; sixth,his wife checking cases; seventh, his visitto his grandmother's mother tomb; askinghimto sleep earlier;eighth, his to his West to his eleventh, leave; Lake; tenth, preparations family ninth, trip his family himto staya bit longer;twelfth, seeinghimoff;thirteenth, begging his monologueabout his sadness. All of these sectionsare only loosely convoice and to one another. Moreover,the narrative nected,and seem irrelevant The only in section. each differ as well as the narrated contents, perspectives, Yuan Mei conversation. is thetrivial thesesections that existsbetween similarity when in his story, buthe does notspeakuntilthefinalsection is theprotagonist at interior he is aboutto leave. ExceptforYuan Mei' s sorrowful monologue the In his narranoteson dailytrifles. of random takestheform end, thenarration whathe rewho has trouble like a Mei acts Yuan tion, comprehending stranger of the conversabetweenevents,the triviality cords. Withthe lack of causality to tion,and his family's pleas forhim to stay,as well as his own reluctance

39 For a discussion in Chinesevernacular of causality of theuse and function novels,see Zhang Dachun3g;fc#,Xiaoshuobailei 'Mftftl (Taibei 1998), pp. 52-60.



withhis family.40 fromand intimacy leave, Yuan Mei involvesbothalienation in his narration in thetradiis rarely found Yuan Mei's attempt to avoid causality tionof Chinesenarrative poetry. in the "Impromptu Yuan Mei' s "random-note-like" structure Poem sequential abouta Trip Home" maybe inspired by Wu Weiye's verse. As has been menversedid notenterits goldenage untilthe Qing tioned,Chineselong narrative in thisdevelopment and one of themostimportant was Wu Weidynasty, figures in Wu's poetry narrative is intricate ye. One of themostsignificant styles sequenin sequential tial structure. The art of narration structure reachedits fullest dein Wu's in Wu's achievement the form of velopment poetry. adopting sequential structure otherliterary forms from laterpoets such as Yuan may have inspired Mei. The intricate in Wu's poetry structure is composedof intricate sequential structure and the {zhuiduan Miff) sequential analeptic "independent-but-linking" structure. The intricate structures that serve to create analeptic multiple temporalities notonlythehistorical chaos during theupheavalof that represent age, but also createan unprecedented in whichthereadercan perceive reading experience a specificmeaningthrough narrative structure. The "independent-but-linking" which Wu from other forms to promote the structure, sequential adopted literary art of narration in his poetry,consistsof a series of independent-but-linking eventsthatare used to displaya series of historical scenes. In this sequential in different are featured each structure, figures sequenceof events.A workcomin structure is likea collection of tales; each of thetalescan posed thissequential be independent but also linkedto one another. This structure is also termed the which is related to the tradition of stostructure," "linked-plot sequential closely and can be commonly found in Mingand Qingvernacular novels.41 This rytelling structure notonlyenriches thecomplexity of narrative tense,butit also createsa certain dimensional structure rather thanlinearstructure fornarration underlying in poetry. the structure that Wu Inspired by "independent-but-linking" sequential in his poetry, forms Yuan Mei created successfully adoptedfromotherliterary the"random-note-like" a new form of sequential in structure structure, sequential thedevelopment in Chinesepoetry, of narration to displayan unusualthemein Chinesepoetry: alienation.42

40 For a discussion of thispoem and its contribution to thedevelopment of narration in Chinese see Schmidt, Garden,pp. 428-431. poetry, Harmony 41 For a discussion of linked-plot in Chinesenovels,see PeterLi, "Narrative structure sequential 42 For a discussion in Wu Weiye's verse,see Tsung-Cheng of thenarrative form Lin, "Historical Narration under A Study of Narrative Multiple Temporalities: Stylein Wu Weiye's(1609-1672) in: Asian Cultural Studies30 (March2004), pp. 127-143.Some other studPoetry," important ies of Wu Weiye's narrative verseare HuangJinzhu ScSfc, "Wu Meicunxushishi yanjiu"% Taibei: NationalTaiwan NormalUniversity, WfML^MW (M. A. thesis, 1985); Wu Fumei de xushigexing"f+iftfJfcfiStt, in Wu Fumei,WuMeicunshigeyifiiH, "Meicunshi shuxinlun de %U^M%M%W (Wuhan1998), pp. 131-182;Pei ShijunHtof, "Meicunti
Patternsin San-kuo and Shui-hu."

Yuan Mei's (1716-1798) NarrativeVerse II. Characterization


ofCharacters andtheInitial oftheNarrator A. Status Appearance influences the initialapthe statusof the narrator In Chinesenarrative poetry, Three reader's in influences the which turn of perception. pearance characters, are foundin Chinesenarrative agent,and poetry:instructor, typesof narrators functheir different are of narrators audience.These three by categorized types of charthe of the reader. the to tionsaccording Moreover, techniques perception are different. of thenarrator, to thestatus which acterization, correspond between the readerand like a third The instructor-narrator, personstanding This results text. the how to reader on the instructs narrated the text, experience thereaderand thenarrated between connection on thedirect effect in a blocking textis less the narrated betweenthe two. Therefore, text,and createsdistance from the reader that inhibits the reader's to parsomething perception, specific Evidenceof thiskindof within the narration. in his own experience ticipating in the"Song of theEverlasting can be found narrator Sorrow,""Ballad of Yuan" Affliction. of "Poem of the the and beginning yuan," narrative is an autobiographical The "Poem of Affliction" poem in whichthe of the grandhistory status.The narrator has two roles withdifferent narrator of theupheavalapand thevictim called grandnarrator) appearsfirst, (hereafter pearslater(lines 1-4, 17-22,61-62,69-72). ofitspower, itlost hold ofthe Inthe later Han,when phases ofHeaven: the Zhuo rebelled principles against abiding Dong hisruler's tousurp ambition He hada perverted place, lords. wiseandnoble andthe men all the hemurdered Butfirst worthy ofthe heads the sides horses' Ontheir men, they suspended the women. carried off backs horses' ontheir them Behind they the entered west and to the we rode passes, Long andimpassable. A twisting road, perilous andblurry the dark I gazed backinto distance; with crushed were vitals anguish. My around andhung cameforward myneck, Mychildren areyougoing? where [...] ." "Mother, Crying, this To seethem vitals, very my waycrushed as onedemented. as I was,I became Distressed hands andcrying, caressing, clutching, Wailing backyet togo,I turned As I wasabout again.43 from Cai Wenji acts like a third As thegrandnarrator, personwho is separated text.Her voice tendsto be objectiveto the narrated the narrated text,and her
tanxi%M bianhua"StflWKliU^tt, in Pei Shijun,WuMeicunshigechuangzuo yinchuang 105-149. mWKii^UK (Yinchuan1994), pp. 43 See Xushishi, 40-42. The translation is in Levy,pp. 125-127. pp.



fromthe focus switches statusas a victimis not obvious. When the narrative and replacesthe her statusas a victim to her suffering, emerges, grandhistory of thegrand In her status switches from the narrator narrator. other words, grand no carof her own As a the narrator to the narrator victim, longer history story. of instructor; she becomestheagent, and hervoice thereriesthefunction rather, foregrowsmoresubjective and sentimental. In addition, the narrative focusof thispoem is gradually from a centralized widernarration of the grandhistory to a narrower, more centralized focuson This has been termed the "inverted trianpersonal, specific suffering. technique A of this can in be found Liu Zongyuan's$P gle description."44 typical example ^7U (773-819) "RiverSnow" ("Jiangxue" M): Bird vanished from a thousand hills, flights Andtraces ofpeople vanished from ten thousand paths. Ina loneboat, anoldmanina straw cloak andhat, aloneinthe coldriver snow.45 Fishing This poem's narrative focus zooms in froma thousand hills, to ten thousand and then to the lone boat. the focus shifts to an old manin this, paths, Following a straw and and to the of a line touches a hat, cape finally tiny point fishing that the finalfocusis thetiniest, it is also the piece of snow on the river.Although mostcentralized. No matter all which,a thousand hills,or thepolitical upheaval, of them are used as thebackground of thefinalfocus.In thecase of the "Poem of Affliction," thebackground helpsplace thefinalfocuson thevictim'ssufferthe focushelps integrate the background, so as to ing. Moreover,by contrast, the reader the as an whole. help perceive description integral The agent-narrator is an activecharacter in the narrative, his exexpressing his own and voice actions. the narrator functions as Moreover, perience through an incarnation of thereader;thatis, through thenarrator's actionsand perspecthenarrated text.Since theagentis an activecharactives,thereaderperceives betweenthe narrated textand the reader,the narrated textis ter,not standing morespecific to thereader.Therefore, thenarrated textcan be exposedmoredito thereader,and thereader'sperception of thenarrated textcan be prorectly moted.This in turn in thenarrated text.Evidencefor helpsthereader participate this kind of narrator can be foundin the "Ballad of Mulan," "Ballad of the of the Lute," "Song Lady of Qin," and thesecondhalfof the "Poem of Affliction." In the"Ballad of theLute," Bai Juyi's inof thefemale musician's description itialappearance I starts heard over the water the sound with,"Suddenly coming of apipa; 1 1 forgot all aboutgoinghome,and myfriend did notsetout" (lines7and surprisingly hearsthe soundof a pipa through the 8). The readersuddenly
44 See ffSEWIWaftKl (R, Chuantongde (Taibei1987),pp. 37-51. WangJingxian yuxiandaide 45 See Gao shi juyao it^l#SS (Taibei 1983), p. 775. The Buyingm#9k (ed.), Tang -Song translation is mine.

NarrativeVerse Yuan Mei's (1716-1798)


The above linesare followed of thenarrator. auralperception by, "We followed be" (line 9). In thisline,not askedwho theplayer thesoundand discreetly might buthe also anof the in search narrator follow the the reader does musician, only of thepipa "The sound the her. with an encounter Followingthis, line, ticipates she answered"(line 10), createsa sense of suspense,as the halted,reluctantly Andthen meetthemusician. he will actually whether wonders narrator (lines1113), herto meet ourboatto thesideofhersandinvited us; /We ordered We moved A thousand / the and the calls, renewed more feast, lanterns, againbegan wine, she before thousand ten emerged. pleas, the reader's the sense of suspenseand once again promote These linesheighten musician the appears; Finally,underthereader'shighexpectation, anticipation. thepipa in such a way as halfto hide her face" she is "Still holding however, in both whicharousescuriosity hermystery, stillretains (line 14). The musician and thereader. thenarrator of thelady's iniIn the"Song of theLady of Qin," Wei Zhuang'sdescription colorshis first that seasonal of the in context the occurs tial appearance scenery it is spring that sees reader the thenarrator's withher. Through encounter eyes, and theblossomsare massedlike snowoutsideLoyang'scitywalls (lines 1-6, 911, 17-22): ofthe month the third ofthe Inthe third spring, reign, Chung-ho year like massed the blossoms walls snow; Outside city Loyang's havevanished, road onthe the north south, East,west, people hadsettled. dust the and were willows Thegreen quiet still, fragrant like a a came I suddenly roadside flower, Atthe upon lady intheshade. torest andsatdown tothe shehadgone Alone willows, green I asked. haveyoucomefrom?" where lady, "Young into a sob, first broke her voice but to andstarted speak, features her Shecomposed me. answered then hersleeves, courteously her headtoadjust So sheturned lastmonth, fifth onthe waskeng-tzu, which before "Theyear dayofthe last, its after the lesson, as I wasclosing Just parrot cageofmy golden combed bell-bird totake hair, over I reached mirror, my lazily upmy idleandwithout still carved onthe leaned Andpeacefully balustrade, speaking, wasrising, reddust house ofthe the outside sawthat I suddenly gates drums."46 onmetal men inthe street I glimpsed beating frantically Already

thepretty encounter and thereadersimultaneously The narrator lady in theline, came upon a lady like a flower"(line 5). Whenthe "At theroadsideI suddenly narrator asks, "Young lady,wherehave you come from?"(line 9), thereader's and aboutthisis also aroused.In theline, "She composedherfeatures curiosity brokeintosobs" (line 10), thelady's pathetic to speak,buthervoice first started to thereader'scuriosity and promotes the reader's elicits both sympathy fragility enand sympathy Withthereader'scuriosity to thestory. look forward already
46 See is in Levy,pp. 138-139. Zhifang, p. 139. The translation



of the story gaged, the sorrowful story beginsand the narrator changesto the lady of Qin. In thispoem, bothWei Zhuangand the lady are character-bound narrators. Furthermore, they are also the agent of the reader's perception. their the reader witnesses the tragedy of the lady's neighbors; Through eyes, their the voices, thereaderhearsthe soundof people screaming through during of that political upheaval age. The audience-narrator bearstheidentity of a witness. In thiscase, thenarrator is to persuade thereaderto believehis narration, butnotmakethereaderto feel thesame as he does. The instructor and agentplace conditions suchas their suband on the so as to dominate the jectiveunderstanding sentimentality character, character's and thereader'sperception. performance However,theaudience-narrator avoidsplacingburdens on thecharacter's thiskindof instead, performance; narrator more which allow the narrated text onlyprovides objective perspectives, to expose itself to thereader.This helpstheliterary worldbecomemorelifelike to thereader.Underthesecircumstances, thereadermaybetter in the participate narrated text.Evidenceforthiskindof narrator can be foundin "Southeast the Peacock Flies," as well as Yuan Mei's "Ballad of theTiger's Mouth"and "ImPoem abouta TripHome." promptu In "Southeast thePeacock Flies," there are two kindsof narrators, thethirdomniscient narrator and the character-bound narrator. The third-person person thepoet,is theprimary narrator of thestory, thewholestory narrator, narrating in detailfrom an omniscient of view. of this are in thepaspoint Signs implicit thesuicidesof Lanzhiand JiaoZhongqing sages whichrelate ^{WP. Zhongqing alone in his so there is no one who could knowwhat room, stays empty possibly he is thinking. BeforeLanzhithrows herself intoa pond,there is nobody to hear anyofherfinal sighs(lines327-343):
The clerkbowedonce moreand wentback, And sighed room. longsighsin his empty Thenhe madeup his mindto carry itout. He turned hisheadtoward thedoor, Sorrow on himmorethanever. pressing On that lowedand thehorsesneighed, daythecattle Whenthenewbridewentin hergreenhut. After thedarkness of duskhad fallen, Whenall was silent andpeoplestarted to settle down, (She said to herself:) "My lifewillend today, My soul willbe gone,and mycorpsewillremain." Thenshe lifted herskirt, removed hersilkshoes, Stoodup, andjumpedintotheclearpond. Once theclerkheardof this, He knewin his heart that itwas an eternal separation. He lingered under thetreein thegarden, Thenhanged himself from thesoutheast branch.47
47 SeeXushishi, p. 33.

NarrativeVerse Yuan Mei's (1716-1798)


in the first the story.This is manifest infiltrates thepoet didactically Moreover, for the coupletat the outsetof the poem, whichcreatesthe basic atmosphere in finale the two of the the on comments and the (lines protagonists tragedy story, 1-2,302-303,356-357): flies A peacock southeast, //. five Anditfalters every setitapart, likedeath were Thelivings separated, words cantell. than andsorrow more With regret men oflater the I saidtoyou, ages: this taleandnever from a lesson Learn forget!48 can be tracedback to thetradition intothestory of thenarrator This infiltration of theLord Historian" Comments "The as such of historical (Taishigong writing

Historian (Shiji ^B/A/AE3) in theRecords oftheGrand yuelzanlzanyue TraZuo in the Gentleman" of the Comments "The or (Junzi yuef0) U)49

Eif).50 dition (Zuozhuan the such as Lanzhi, Zhongqing, the character-bound In addition, narrators, own stories their narrate of Jiao,and thematchmaker, of Liu, themother mother of theomnisthe from This differs view. of restricted their from viewpoint points in point a shift entails in narrator a shift in this cientnarrator. Therefore, poem, the the storywithan omniscient of view. Despite detailing perspective, thirdof an audience, withthe function acts like a witness narrator personomniscient direct use of the stories words, characters' the speech.In other through narrating own voices(lines3-44): their themselves thecharacters through express white weave I could "Atthe silk, ageofthirteen, make I to learned of Atthe clothes, age fourteen, I could Atthe lute, many-stringed playthe ageoffifteen, theOdesandHistory, from recite I could of Atthe age sixteen, I became Atthe wife, your ageofseventeen, full ofpainandsorrow. was often heart Butmy as a government You worked clerk, andlovefor changed. younever Mychastity inmyroom I often alone, stayed Sawyoulessandless. atthe I started Atcockcrow loom, weaving a rest. without after night Night ofcloth, five I made Inthree lengths days atmyslowness. scorned still ButMother-in-law wastooslow, that Itwasnot weaving my home. inyour tobe the Butitwashard daughter-in-law to too were house atyour Chores demandingcopewith,
48 SeeXushishi, 26, 32, 33. pp. 49 See Kametaro C^i^sl (Taibei 1975). kaozheng TakigawalJllllicK, Shijihuizhu 50 See . (Beijing1990). zhu ##cA:ff Zuozhuan Yang BojunMlII, Chunqiu


Lin Tsung-cheng My stayherewouldnotdo anygood. So pleasego telling yourmother, To lethersendme homein good time." Whentheclerkheardthesewords He went his mother: up in thehall to address "Your son was bornwithlittle inherent fortune, ButI was fortunate to havethiswomanbe mywife. We wed, and shared pillowand mat, We vowedto accompany each other tillYellow Springs. We married onlytwoor three years, Our married life just beganfornota longtime. Her conduct was descent without anywrongdoing, How comeyoudid nottreat hernicely?" His mother said to theclerk: "How can yoube so soft! This womanhas no senseof good manners, Whatever shedid she did herown way. I havetried to hidemyangerfora longtime How dareyoumadethisdecisionon yourown! Thereis a good ladyin oureastneighbours, Her nameis Qin Luofu. and no one can compare Lovelyfeature to, Mother willarrange itforyou. You can dismiss herright away, Dismissheranddon'tletherstay!"51

The use of directspeechis one of theprimary narrative stylesin Chineseyuefu Evidenceof thiscan be found in yuefu poetry. poemssuchas "Mulberries by the Path," "Ballad of theOrphan"("Gu'er xing" ML )52and "The Officer of the Guard"("Yulin lang" ^#|).53 In Chinesenarrative direct poetry, speechin the form of dialogueor monologue is often takento be a mechanism fordescribing the character's or personality, and thoughts, feelings movingthe plot forward, for specificsituations.54 For example,in Du Fu's ttff (712-770) accounting Officer at Xin'an ("Xin'an li" r$), thedialoguebetween the "Conscripting two characters servesto propelthemovement of eventsand providean account ofthehistorical (lines3-8): setting
51 See Xushishi, pp. 26-27. 52 See Chen (ed.), Liang-HanNanbeichao YoubingWfctfc yuefu jianshangWMM JbBSIflAA abbreviated (hereafter Yuefu jianshang)(Taibei 1996), pp. 158-164.For a narrative analysisof thispoem,see Levy,p. 60. 53 See Yuefu jianshang,pp. 190-196. 54 For a discussion of thenarrative function of thecharacter's direct see speechin Chinesepoetry, Tian Baoyu ffl3,"Zhongguoxushishi de chuancheng weizhu" yanjiu:yi Tangdaixushishi + ffl^*!M1*jf??;: W/fft$*!$^i (Ph.D. diss., Taibei: NationalTaiwan Normal 1993), pp. 187-189. University,

Yuan Mei' s ( 17 16- 1798) Narrative Verse of Xin'an, "May I ask you,Officer in this small town there are no adults?" Why "An official document was issuedlastnight: To draft young boysto thewars." "Thoseyoung and young, boysare sureto be short How can they the guard capital?"55


thedialoguebetween thepoetand theofficer of Xin'an, thepoetpoints Through outthedifficult of a that is forced to draft predicament government young boysto in Du Fu's "Conscripting is also employed join the army.The same technique li" ML, lines5-20): Officer at Tong Pass" ("Tongguan
I askedtheTongPass officer, "Whenrepaired, can itthen repeltheTurk?" me to getoffmyhorseand walk He invites outthemountain's foldsto me. As he points all the to stretch way theclouds, "Ramparts A birdin flight couldnotpass through. If theTurkscome,justholdthisfast, no more. The Western Capitalneedworry at those Just look, sir, strategic points! one cart let So narrow through. they just In danger a longpike, just snatch One mancouldholditforever." thePeach Grovebattle, How sad, though, menwerefedto thefish. Whena million thepass thegeneral "Do instruct guarding themodelof Ge-shuHan."56 Notto follow

In thispoem, the characters' dialoguenot only servesto move the eventsforat Tong Pass. In thetoneof theofficer functions to characterize but also ward, forewithout as theone who is overconfident is portrayed his voice, theofficer In to the between addition the characters, dialogue forthcoming danger. seeing in Chineseyuefu takento be the majorvehicleof narration is often monologue in the"Ballad of Mulan," can be found Evidenceof theuse of monologue poetry. New Bride" ("Xinhunbie" Du Fu's of the the "Mulberries Path," "Parting by "Poem of Yuan Zhen's 7UfI (779-831) fr^'J),57 LianchangPalace" ("Lianci" HIr]),58 Wei Zhuang's "Song of the Lady of Qin," and changgong Zhang Ji's 3ifg (767-830) "Song of a Chaste Wife" ("Jiefuyin" Pt)59 and "Separation"("Gedongxi" #J^H).60 ZhangJi's "Song of a ChasteWife"
55 See is mine. Xushishi, p. 105. The translation 56 See Xushishi, 109. The translation is in Owen,p. 425. p.
57 See Xushishi, p. 110. 58 See Xushishi, pp. 149-151.

59 See theChinesetext in Yuefushi, p. 533. 60 See Yuefushi, p. 536.



is a good exampleof thispoint.The narrator and of thepoemis a wifeof virtue, herspeechesserveto portray heras a chastewife: You knew, I hada husband, sir,that When sent me this you pairofshining pearls. Grateful for skin-soft your thoughts, I wore them over redgauzebodice. my Butmy home is a tallhouse built beside the Imperial grounds, Andmy in man bears arms the Palace ofRadiance. good I know, heart is pure as thesunandthe sir,that moon, your Butinserving I husband him havevowed tobe with inlife anddeath; my So I nowreturn with tears oneach, your shining pearls that wedidnot meet I wasstill while unwed.61 Regretting The use of character's and themovespeechesas a vehicleforcharacterization ment of eventsinfluences Yuan Mei' s narrative poems. In the "Ballad of theTifunctions like an onlooker, aside to let the ger's Mouth,"the narrator stepping characters themselves to the reader their own voices and actions. express through Yuan Mei does notstandbetween thenarrated textand thereader;therefore, he does notblock a directconnection between thetwo. Furthermore, Yuan Mei is not part of the narrated the reader's perception text,and does not dominate his own He acts like a witness, a member of theaudience,tellthrough feelings. from thespeechesof his characters. The use inga different story history through of the character's actionsand speechescan promote the realismof narration, whichhelpsthe readercommunicate his own experience withthenarrated text. Evidenceof thisis theopening passageof thepoem(lines 1-7): "I enter the lair, tiger's Climb uptoitsmouth. atthe I risk head; Running tiger's fangs, my Is hegoing tobite ornot? aredifferent from Tigers dogs." "Just LookatTaiyuan's governor, BianDashou!"62 In theinitial fivelines,theprotagonist is depicted his own voice. Here through thereader is confronted with a contradictory hero.In the typeof hero,a clownish first three linesthat are composed there is a total by theprotagonist's monologue, of thirteen wordsthat consist of fourverbs,"enter"(ru A), "climb"(deng f), "risk"(dai He), and "run"(zou M)9 and three of thenoun"tiger"(hu repetitions The of the verbs is the who thetiger. ). subject protagonist, is goingto fight The verbsand the threeinstances of "tiger"effectively reveal the contrast betweentheheroand tiger.Through thecontrast, thenarrative focuszooms in on
61 The translation - Xu Yuanzhong is in Lii Shuxiang in (eds.), Gemsof Classical ChinesePoetry Various Translations tt (Hong Kong 1988), pp. 233-234. flirti English 62 The translation is in Schmidt, Garden, Harmony p. 633.

NarrativeVerse Yuan Mei's (1716-1798)


has in whichnotonlycan the readersense thatthe fighting their confrontation, nearlybegun,but also thatthe hero is in greatdanger. Under these circumthe and killing thereaderexpectstheheroto act like Wu Song, fighting stances, Howbattlefield. to deathon the or like Xiang Yu II H, fighting bravely, tiger cannot thetiger bite,and muchworse,that ever,thenexttwolinespointoutthat it is no longer a fierce at by thehero.The tiger is scoffed thetiger beast;instead, is theherowhobecomesfierce. as a hero. Howtheprotagonist threelines,the readerrespects In the initial whatthe contradicts conduct the two in the lines, ever, protagonist's following Underthe leaves thereaderconfused. a hero,whichin turn readerexpectsfrom his own himself thenarrator reader'sconfusion, voice, through suddenly presents Bian Dashou!" / at look "Just (lines 6-7). The Taiyuan'sgovernor, exclaiming: him to and prompts the reader,piques his curiosity voice astonishes narrator's of thetruth. look aheadfortherevelation who In otherwords,Yuan Mei first appearsas an audience,a merewitness narrated of the overthereader'sperception dominance stepsaside to avoiddirect his actions, he lets the character text. Subsequently, through expresshimself moredirectly. thecharacter to experience whichallowsthereader Overall,in the are onlysevenlineswith the"BalladoftheTiger'sMouth"there first episodefrom Yuan Mei managesto arrangethree words. Nonetheless, a totalof thirty-two to These cause thereader and irony. mood clownishness, changes:bravery, quick and to from in feeling, three bravery, confusion, finally quickchanges experience of the reader's the effect these to curiosity. feelings, changing rapidly Through is intensified. perception as in Yuan Mei's poemalso functions thenarrator As well as beinga witness, intothe story. withan omniscient thethird-person pointof view and infiltration even the who providesan omniscient As a third-person perspective, narrator who As a in while thinks to himself knowswhattheprotagonist third-person jail. his comin his narration thenarrator thestory, infiltrates through appearshimself ments on thehero(lines52-55,95-98): tohimself, Bianthought be sad? "A man diesonce, why andnailmy Butifthey tongue, pulloutmyintestines be like?" willthat what Alltortures imaginable, ofhistroubles, a record Bianwrote men. for later a I wrote And poem on only Heaven, Rely fear Anddon't tigers!63 thequalityand omniscient The narrator's pointof view can be used to promote hero.Howof the one-time the subvert to he uses evidence of the legend quantity theefwith instructor as an he mayalso function narrator, ever,as a third-person
63 The translation is in Schmidt, Garden,pp. 634, 636. Harmony



between thenarrated textand thereader. feetof intervening thecommunication the story, thisnarrator Moreover,by possessingthe capacityto infiltrate may howthe reader understand the narrated text better his comments; help through like an agentdominating theperception of thereader ever,he mayalso function his own subjective thefunction By contrast, through understanding. by possessing of a witness, thisnarrator can avoid the intervening effect of the instructor and thecompulsiveness of theagent,and thereby the of his narrapromote credibility tion.In other omniscient narrator words,in thispoem,theuse of a third-person who infiltrates the story is simply a meansof promoting thepoet's ironyin his the reader'ssense of the credibility of his narration. hero,and does not forfeit This kindof narrator can be referred to as "the narrator withthe story-teller's of view."64 can in This be found the tradition of folklore whichexistsin point Chineseyuefu and well as as historical such as theZuo novels, poetry writings, zhuan,theDiscourseoftheDomains(GuoyuIp),65 and theShiji. The technique of exposingcharacters to the readerthrough theiractionsis in Chinesevernacular found novels.For example,in the Water Marcommonly of XimenQing flirting withPan Jinlian in the Matchmaker gin, thedescription with a pairof fallen Wang's (WangMeipo Kl) housestarts chopsticks: Ximen wine for Golden Lotus. With his wide he a pairof sleeve, swept poured from the table to the floor. Fate was on the side of his amorous chopsticks quest landed beside the feet. He bent down as to them they right girl's though pick up andinstead oneofherembroidered satin shoes.Golden Lotuslaughed, squeezed Areyoutrying toseduce me?"66 "Sir,youmustn't! The narrator seemsto stepaside to let thesetwo characters revealthemselves to thereader.Without thedominance of theinstructor, or thecompulsiveness of the becomesmorerealistic. This makesit easierforthereaderto agent,thewriting with the between Ximen and Jinlian. However,Xiaoxiao empathize goings-on sixteenth of theflirtation and inSheng's %%^ (early-late century) description between Ximen and in Jinlian the Plum Blossom in Golden Vase timacy (Jinping mei^MM)61 seemsmorelifelike and detailed thanShi Nai'an's rendition of it in the Water In addition to Jinlian' s seductive the intimate diaMargin. language,
64 See John C.Y. Wang, "EarlyChineseNarrative: The Tso-chuan as Example,"in Plaks,pp. 3A Preliminary Statement on Methodology," 20, and id., "The Natureof ChineseNarrative: Review 6.2 and 7.1 (October1975 - April1976), pp. 229-246. Tamkang 65 See Gao ^ Jgil and Liu QianxianS!lK$fe(comm.), GuoyuUsa (Taibei 1992). For Zhenfeng thenarrative of thiswork,see John C.Y. Wang, "Cong xushiwenxue analyses jiaodu kanZuoand "Zailun Zuozhuanyu zhuanyu Guoyude guanxi"'tWM Jt^AS^KlSWBSIi, C.Y. Wang (ed.), Zhongguo Guoyude guanxi"ffl^ftKBllaMKH/?, in John zaoqi xushiwenlunji^M^MMtW-XWuM (Taibei 1999), pp. 135-167,169-178. 66 See Shi is in SidneyShapiro(trans.),Outlaws Nai'an, chapter 23, pp. 236-237. The translation 24, p. 392. oftheMarsh(Beijing1980), chapter 67 See Xiaoxiao mei itWM (Taibei 1999). For a narrative of this Sheng%%^, Jinping analysis on theChinp'ing mei," in Plaks,pp. novel,see David T. Roy, "ChangChu-p'o's Commentary 115-123.

Yuan Mei's (1716-1798) Narrative Verse


theirown through logue of these two lovers in bed is describedrealistically but also stirshis imaginathe reader'sattention, voices, whichnotonlyattracts tion. In theDream of theRed Chamber HS), Cao Xueqin's W (Hongloumeng also called Fengof Phoenix(XifengBBJ1; If /f (17157-1764?)characterization thefirst accountof whathappens day Lin during jie MM) beginswitha detailed of this As the Jia (JiafuJtt). episode, Daiyu part family Daiyu #J3l joins of theJiaclan and is embraced meetstheJiafamily members, by thematriarch the or #, (Jiamu Lady Dowager):
For in spiteof her tender had been struck All present by Daiyu's good breeding. distinction. air of natural an she had delicate evident and health, Observing years she had been having. or treatment askedwhatmedicine how frailshe looked,they medicine "I've alwaysbeen like this,"Daiyu said witha smile. "I've been taking butnone have examined doctors well-known I weaned. was me, ever since Many I'm still Now use. was of theirprescriptions any [...] takingginsengpills." theLady Dowager. "We're havingpills made, and I'll "That's good," approved makesomeforyou." see they and a voice cried: theback courtyard thentheyheardpeals of laugherfrom Just "The peowithsurprise, afar!"Daiyu thought ourguestfrom "I'm latein greeting breath. their be to all seem and so here are holding respectful solemn,they ple and pert?"Whileshe was stillwondering, Who can thisbe, so boisterous through a youngwoman.Unand maidssurrounding somematrons theback doortrooped as a fairy.[...] She had the dressedand resplendent like thegirls,she was richly as wilas of a eyebrows long and drooping slanting phoenix, eyes almond-shaped The vivacious. manner her and slender was Her leaves. low springtime figure And before face gave no hintof her latent charmof herpowdered formidability. herlaughter hercrimson rangout. lipsparted, to greether. "You don't knowher yet." The Lady Dowager Daiyu rose quickly of thishouse. In thesouththey'dcall herHot Pepper. "She's theterror chuckled. call her FieryPhoenix." [...] ThoughDaiyu had nevermether, she knew Just the uncleJiaShe, had married JiaLian, theson of her first that hermother from niece of Lady Wang,her seconduncle's wife. She had been educatedlike a boy herwitha nameXifeng. and giventheschool-room Daiyu lostno timein greeting smileas "cousin."68

and herillof Daiyu's suffering thestory thecharacters, In thedialoguebetween the Lady as ness in past days is narrated Followingthis,just retrospectively. Dowagersays, "That's good. We're havingpills made, I'll see theymakesome breaksin. Her sudand speechabruptly foryou," thesoundof Xifeng's laughter
68 See Cao 3, pp. 21-23. For the W3 (Taibei 1974), chapter Xueqin WB/r, Hongloumeng and see of thesepassages, translations GladysYang (trans.),A Dream of Red HsienyiYang Mansions(Beijing 1978), chapter 3, pp. 37-39. For the narrative analysesof thisnovel, see in Hsi-yuChi and Hung-lou Meng" in Plaks,pp. 163-202;WongKam-ming, Plaks, "Allegory and Structure: "Pointof View, Norms, Mengand LyricalFiction,"in Plaks,pp. 203Hung-lou A Readingof Hung-lou Narrative: in Chinese Vision Mengand JuKao, "Lyric 226; Yu-kung in Plaks,pp. 227-243. lin Wai-shih,"


Lin Tsung-cheng

of the scene. In the sentimental den interruption atmosphere disrupts completely a cardinalrule in theJiafamily: to this,Xifeng'sbehavior addition transgresses is the of the reason, interrupting Lady Dowagerwhileshe is speaking regardless the sound of her not Xifeng'spersonality, Through laughter, simply permitted. interior is portrayed. rudeand impolite, Moreover, monologue, Daiyu's ensuing Xiof is used to underline in whichshe describes from her view, point Xifeng forward to the reader's so that he looks This arouses curiosity feng'spersonality. meeting Xifeng. Underthereader'scuriosity, Xifeng appears.However,Xifeng'sappearance or forthispurpose,Cao Xueis notexecuted her actions voice; instead, through on a description of Xifeng'sattire.This constitutes a third-person qin embarks Lin Daiyu. In thismanner, narration fromthe perspective of the character the After readermeetsa womanwho is dressed-up, and slender,charming, sexy. her mystery. Moreover,the fothis,even without Xifengstillretains speaking, calizorof thenarrative, to another of thecharacproviding pointof view, shifts ter-bound the the narrators, Lady Dowager. Through Lady Dowager's speech, is described as "Hot Pepper"(pola huo ^A). Afterwards, thefocalXifeng izor is once again shifted to Daiyu. ThroughDaiyu's interior the monologue, and of are the name introduced. It is not until family background Xifeng briefly as "Sister-in-law" thatshe starts to speakwithher (sao WL) Daiyu greets Xifeng own voice. Fromtheinitial soundof herlaughter to whenshe eventually speaks, two paragraphs thatare filledwithreferences to Xifeng pass by, paragraphs of different narrative voices and variouspointsof view. The various comprised narrative voices and perspectives are used to promote thereader'sunderstanding of Xifeng. in thedescription This technique that is also found of thefemale musiin cian's initial the "Ballad of the Lute" is used to create a sense of appearance and the reader's to meet the character. expectation promote anticipation Evidenceof theuse of thecharacter's characters can also speechesto portray in theScholars.Wu Jingzi be found thesametech^WW (1701-1754) employs Butcher Hu (Hutuhu WiMPY niqueto describe
"Now thatyou have become a gentleman," wenton Butcher Hu, "you mustdo in proper are decent, things style.Of course,menin myprofession high-class peome. But these ple; and I am youreldertoo - you mustn't puton yourairs before round and thelike,are low people. If you greetthem here,dung-carriers peasants will be a breachof etiquette and treat them as equals, that and will makeme loose facetoo. [...]" Fan Jin'sfellowcandidates askedhimto go withthem to theprovincial capitalfor theexamination, buthe had no moneyforthejourney.He wentto ask his fatherin-lawto help. Butcher Hu spat in his face, and pouredout a torrent of abuse. "Don't be a fool!" he roared."Just one examination has turned passing yourhead like a toad to swallow a swan! like a fool, [...] Now, completely you're trying want to the examination and become an official. But do you pass higher you know who thoseofficials are? Theyare all starsin heaven![...] All thoseofficials have of faces and ears. But mouth sticks out and pots money, dignified big your you've

Yuan Mei's (1716-1798) Narrative Verse


Hu. Hu asks Fan Jin of speechesmadeby Butcher These passagesare composed ?ai to respectand be politeto rich men like him, but not treatpeasantsas a seriousbreachof peasantsas suchconstitutes equals. Hu claimsthatregarding to the for hisjourney to to ask Hu whenFan goes Moreover, helppay etiquette. of insultHu abuseshimwitha torrent capitalto taketheexamination, provincial to comes not the reader Hu's abusive Butcher words. only speech, Through ing the embarrassalso realizes but he himas a vulgarand disgusting lout, perceive ofthat scholars ment that age had to deal with.
B. RealisticDescription

and look at yourface in the a chinlike an ape's. You shouldpiss on theground become an official. want to You look like [...]"69 yetyou monkey, puddle!

variousperspecto form variouscharacters by utilizing speaking, Comparatively in using more latitude is allowed of a witness withtheidentity tives,thenarrator the instructorat his disposalthaneither of characterization varioustechniques are notreof his characters This is becausetheactions or agent-narrator. narrator character's of the the use As mentioned stricted above, by his own subjectivity. of the "Ballad of the in thebeginning voice and actionsto expressthecharacter In Yuan Mei of characterization. is a Mouth" addition, technique typical Tiger's For realistic. more his characterization to make uses "contrastive description" to escape, without after thepeopleurgetheprotagonist why explaining example, and how he is paBian's arrest describes Bian failsto do so, Yuan Mei directly to thepeople(lines27-34,43-51): as a warning radeddownthestreets
thebones, Bian smashed Cutdownthetrees, theserpents, Slaughtered Andleveledthetombs. withsulfur; theashesintopools,burnt He threw everything cow urine. and soakedwith with horsemanure All was smoked likethunder, and thepeopleroared The army therebels. to destroy at thesun,swearing Pointed All alongtheroad,they cried, "The rebelshavecometo getyou! Thereare crowdsof horsemen. Your mother, wife,and sons into Will all be thrown jail." RebelstiedBian on a horse,
69 See the Chinesetextof these passages in Wu Jingzi%#, Rulinwaishi S#^h (Taibei of thesepassages,see HsienyiYang - Gladys 3, pp. 28-29. For thetranslations 1984), chapter 3, pp. 31-32. For narrative analysesof this Yang (trans.),TheScholars(Beijing1973), chapter in in Ju-lin Structure and Narrative "Ritual Shuen-fu see Wai-shih," Plaks,pp. 244Lin, novel, A Readingof Hung-lou Meng and Ju-lin 265; and Kao, "LyricVision in ChineseNarrative: Wai-shih"See also Li Zhihong ^M'M, "Rulinwaishixushiyishuyanjiu"#^hi#J TaiwanNormalUniversity, Taibei: National 1996). WfL (M.A. thesis,


Lin Tsung-cheng

And senthimto their camp. of eyesglareduponhim, Thousands themanwhodug thetombs.70 Watching

in "Thousands of eyes glaredupon thatis implicit The people's disappointment thatis foundin withthe earliersense of expectation him" (line 50) contrasts thiscontherebels"(line 34). Through at thesun, swearing to destroy "Pointed in and Mei instills his Bian's trastive Yuan bravery, irony legendary description, of Bian seen in thewords"smashed thebones,/ Cut undermines thedescription the serpents, / And leveledthetombs"(lines 27downthetrees,/ Slaughtered betweenthe rebels' 30). Another exampleof thiscan be foundin the contrast advance on the and Bian's hesitation to rapid city escape (lines35-42):
An in-law of Li, one Ai Chaodong, thisto him,and Li was scared, Reported had hithimsquarein theeye. As ifan arrow Bian went backto his village, Andtherebelsentered Beijing, Neighbors urgedhimto escape; Bian said, "My old mother is stillalive, How can I leave?"71

In thispassage,therebels' fastentrance intothecityis tersely in two described short lines "Bian wentback to his village,/ and therebelsentered Beijing"(lines in onlysix characters. thisis conveyed Whilethere38-39). In theChinesetext, bels quickly breakintothecity,whichmeansthat Bian is in great of being danger Bian is nevertheless indecisive aboutleaving.The contrastive arrested, descriptionYuan Mei uses here functions to revealBian's hesitation and createan atof intense that makesthereaderanxiousaboutBian's upcoming mosphere danger misfortune. thissense of anxiety servesto intensify the reader'sdesire Further, aboutwhathappens nextin thestory. In the passages relating to Bian's incarceration, Yuan Mei continues using contrastive to Bian's heroic acts as and show Bian's description portray pretense, truenature as a coward. This subverts the reader'sbeliefin legendary heroism (lines8-15, 52-55):
Bian came from Shuntian and governed Mizhi, The townof Li Zicheng'sDaringbandits. He wanted to cutoffLi's head, Butfound no chance. "Whatcrime Li's ancestors had committed, To bring intotheworldsucha 'wonderful' child. Let's quickly their digup corpses; " I wantto see them!

70 See Schmidt, Garden, Harmony p. 634. 71 Schmidt, Garden, Harmony p. 634.

Yuan Mei' s (1716-1798) Narrative Verse Bian thought to himself, "A mandies once,whybe sad? and nail mytongue, Butifthey pulloutmyintestines will All tortures what that be like?"72 imaginable,


Bian bebefore theexcavation of thetombs, In thepassagesrelating thesituation tone. after with a determined like a true and haves However, hero, being speaks as a timidfellowwho fearsthegruesome Bian is portrayed punishimprisoned, withhis contrast whilein jail is set in considerable Bian's fearof torture ments. Bian' s cowardice which underlines in the up corpses, bravery digging previous and after is givento puzzle the before Bian's contrastive behavior and hypocrisy. reader. intoa coward, whenthehero turns the readeris alreadyconfused Although cowardonce again occur whenthe surviving even moreamazingdevelopments Bian's escape from becomesa hero.In thepassagesrelating home, death,return reveal the to Yuan Mei uses contrastive hero status, and subsequent description of thewholeprocess(lines56-71): absurdity
TheypassedDear Trap, FirmPass. Thenleft robesand crown. with arrived FierceLi Zicheng imperial toward Bian One rider him; pulled wavedhis handand said: Another battles and cannot "Our kinghas lostmany sleepat night; Don't handBian overnow; Li's health." It willharm Theygallopedon and on, at Shouyang. Arriving surrounded Ten riders Bian, brokeranks. Butthey gradually and said: One rider laughed "Whydon'tyouescape?" Bian rodeofflikea madman, His heart furiously.73 pounding

in him" (line 59) createsa precarious "One rider atmosphere pulledBian toward waved whichit seemsBian is aboutto be executed.Some timelater,"Another a hope that his handand said" (line 60) createsa sense of suspensethatbrings atmosfromthe deathpenalty.These two contrasting Bian may be reprieved of Bian. fate to theunpredictable Finally,the pheresbindthereaderemotionally is revealed:Bian is luckily verdict sparedforwhatis a veryabsurdreason- alto kill Bian, the riderconcludes,"Don't hand Li had been determined though Li's health"(lines62-63). Not onlyBian's respite It will harm Bian overnow; / he finally becomesa hero,are owed to preposand escape, butalso thefactthat
72 73 Garden, Schmidt, Harmony pp. 633, 634. Garden, Schmidt, p. 635. Harmony



Yuan Mei helps the the use of contrastive terousfortune. description, Through the cowardbeof the whole process whereby the absurdity readerexperience comesa hero. is also used as one of In addition actiondescription to contrastive description, themajordescriptive skillsin Yuan Mei' s poem. Contrastive portrays description he is nota hero,buta coward.On theother Bian's truenature; hand,actiondeThe use of actiondescripconduct morelifelike. makesBian's cowardly scription can be tracedback to the veryearlynarrative tionin Chineseliterature works, theShiji,and theXijingzaji H M it IS (Miscellanies suchas theZuozhuan, ofthe 1A of thetypeof narrative it is novel, Western genre,whether Capital). Regardless thelifelike narrative or historical of a character is dewriting, portrayal poetry, In action other what the character is and what words, pendent upon description. will be required A the actionsapplyto his characteristics accordingly.75 typical in thedescription of Lu Zhishen a willow exampleof thiscan be found uprooting treein chapter sevenof the Water Shi Nai'an describes a series of acMargin. tionsthrough theuse of thethree verbs,ba E, yong#,andjiang $? to auxiliary verb such as "remove" {tuo fl&), "bent" (daozhuo f'JS), emphasize phrases (chenf).76Withthehelpof theseverbs,thede"grasp"(ba M), and "wrench" more becomes whichallows the readerto sharein lifelike, scription something theexperience of uprooting thewillowtree:along withLu, thereaderseemsto graspand seize thetree,applystrength, straighten up his waist,and pull thetree outof theearth: Lu looked thesituation walked tree andremoved hiscasover, Sagacious uptothe sock.He bent andgrasped thelower of the trunk with his while hand, part right hisleft hand seizedithigher then a tremendous wrench and the up, gave pulled tree from the roots and all!!"77 ground, In thepassagesrelating Bian's excavation of thetombs, there are thelines: "Bian smashed thebones,/ Cut downthetrees,/ Slaughtered theserpents, / And leveled thetombs"(lines 27-30). Here Yuan Mei uses fourverbphrases,"smash" and "level" (ping T), to describe (sui 5), "cut" (fa f), "slaughter" (la JJg), Bian's greatangerand determination to destroy therebels.In thecouplet,"Bian went backto his village,/Andtherebelsentered are Beijing"(lines38-39), there six words which two consist of Bian and just contradictory subjects, (gong &) the rebels(zei M), and two synonymous verbphrases,"wentback" (huan JS) and "enter"(ru A). Through thesecontradictory and synonymous verb subjects the rapidentrance of the rebelsintothe phrases,Yuan Mei not only indicates in in whichtheneighbut also Bian's arrest. the lines Moreover, city, upcoming
74 See Cao of the (Taibei 1995). For a discussion HaidongWJK (comm.),Xijingzaji ffiM$t in this see 15-24. work, Zhang,pp. descriptive technique employed 75 For a discussion of theuse of verbsin Chinesevernacular novels,see Zhang,pp. 90-100. 76 See 92-93. Zhang,pp. 77 See is in Shapiro, Shi, chapter 6, p. 70. The translation 7, p. 115. chapter

NarrativeVerse Yuan Mei's (1716-1798)


bors urge Bian to escape (lines 43-47), Yuan Mei repeatsthe particle yi ^ to verbphrases,"cry"(ku and uses three a senseof "helplessness," deliver strongly of "hopelessness." a sense to (ru A), convey ^), "get" (zhuo f), and "throw" and disappointments. In thisway,Yuan Mei alludesto thepeople's greatworries the field,and the into Bian's of the the Elsewhere, part escape poem relating two a peasantlastsonly he receivesupon encountering couplets(lines 70fright of fiveverbphrases,"rode off"(cuan t), "pound" consist 73). These couplets (zhan SO, "hit"(da T), "shout"(hu Hf),and "fear"(jing 1$), all of whichtotheseverbphrases,Yuan Mei reThrough displaysa sense of "fright." gether fear. veals Bian's great a in thispoemare connected theevents showthat The aboveexamples through this within is increasingly thehero'scowardice and that seriesof actions exposed are notonlyused to move theplot forseries.This seriesof actiondescriptions The use of verbphrases morelifelike. ward,butalso helpto makethecharacters to actionplays a crucialrole in Yuan Mei's attempt to describethe character's hero. one-time of the thelegend subvert and novelscan makethecharactheuse of verbsin narrative poetry Although of the actionin and help propelthe plot, the features ter's actionmorelifelike in novels. those from different are narrative speaking, Comparatively poetry and spatialthanlyricalpois morespecifically whilenarrative temporal poetry thannovels do. In other and spatialindependence" etry,it has less "temporal are in narrative of actions series poetry partof thesamecontexwords,sinceany noneof theactionsor objectsthattheverbsdescribecan be indetualintegrity, a seriesof actionsmustbe read as a whole. theother.Therefore, from pendent Cai's partthe"Poem of Affliction" in thepassagefrom For example, describing nomadic the from to China when she is about to return ing fromher children to departis used to suggestCai's and reluctance the horse's neighing frontier, If thereaderhas no knowlchildren. her from face of in the sorrow parting deep of thispassage and interpretation his understanding context, edge of theprevious of narrative feature This particular different. mayhave poetry maybe completely of the as in genre Chinese highest regarded traditionally poetry, originated lyrical whole. in whicha poem is takenas an integral However,the action literature, of contextual features stillpossessing in novels,although thatis found continuity the and readin pieces. For example, can be independent and integrity, throughout Northern in the Battle Beast "The Blue-faced in Shuihu Capital" zhuan,whether in the Water-Girt Strife Internal Stirs "Lin MSUb^A 13), Chong (Chapter W^lK^Xlklft (Chapter19), or "Hua RongShootsa Wild Goose Strong-hold" on MountLiangshan"''^MMik%iM 35), thereadercan admirethe (Chapter the of without of these figures heroism previouscontext.In other knowledge a feature of theplotin novelscan be read independently, possiwords,segments of in tradition the storytelling. blyoriginating action,anto theuse of verbphrasesto describethe character's In addition of "detailed the termed otherimportant description styleof actiondescription,



of Yuan Mei' s poems,the "Impromptu trivial actions,"can be foundin another backto Mingand can be traced Poem abouta TripHome." This descriptive style A the novels such as vernacular exampleof Sanguoyanyi. representative Qing of dropping this styleas foundin this novel is the detaileddescription chopIn thepassage, in whichCao Cao WS and Liu Bei I'Jfttalkaboutthe sticks.79 with"delicacieshas alstarts thenarration of "hero,"Luo Guanzhong definition with readybeen set out: a platepiled withnew greenplumsand a jar brimming and enthe two men drankfreely warmedwine. Sitting oppositeone another, without constraint": joyedthemselves to condefines a herois this: a determination on, "what "Now,"Cao Cao went and the an to the a mind of marvelous realm, schemes, ability encompass quer, willtomake such a description?" Xuande asked. Cao pointed ithis." "Whomerits toXuande, tohimself. "Theheroes ofthepresent first then day,"he said,"numin Before he realberbuttwo- you,mylord, andmyself." Xuande gulped panic. Then thestorm cameon. A peal izedit,hischopsticks hadslipped totheground. to benddowncasually andretrieve them. "See of thunder gavehimthechance "A great manafraid of what a clapof thunder has mademe do?" he remarked. thunder?" Cao asked.80 The earlierstory tellsthat before Liu Bei had alreadysusgoingto thebanquet, his loyalty and planned to kill himat thebanquet pectedthatCao Cao suspected In the if Cao Cao discovered withhis reaction. his disloyalty or was discontent in his everymove face of Cao Cao 's conspiracy, Liu Bei is anxiousand careful made and word spoken.However,whenCao Cao says to himthatonlytwo of them couldbe considered theheroesof their age, Liu Bei is completely paralyzed withfearand does notknowhow to answer.The compliment is a trapin which Cao Cao. Cao Cao waitsforLiu's answer no answerfrom Liu Bei can satisfy and gets readyforhis nextmove, killing Liu Bei. Fortunately, thunder strikes, This and Liu Bei's chopsticks to the when the thunder strikes. just slip ground fortuitous occurrence saves Liu Bei' s life. actionsas dropping is selThe detaileddescription of such trivial chopsticks in Chinesepoetry, domfound whichstresses theimportance of "speaking of aspirations"(yanzhi i=[M) and "following However, feelings"{yuanqingHctjjf).81 can be commonly foundin Chinesevernacular thisstyleof description novels, which had beendegraded and regarded as "unofficial historical records" (baiguan dropped by Liu Bei in theSanguoyanyi yeshii^^if j). Thatpairof chopsticks in theShuihu was later zhuan;the pickedup by XimenQingto seducePan Jinlian
78 For a discussion of trivial of theuse of detailed actionsin Chinesevernacular novels, description see Zhang,pp. 152-165. 79 See Zhang,pp. 154-155,159. 80 See theChinesetext of this of thispassage in Luo, chapter 21, pp. 183-185.For thetranslation - Los An(trans.),TheRomanceof theThreeKingdoms (Berkeley passage, see Moss Roberts geles 1991), pp. 164-165. 81 Schmidt, Garden, Harmony p. 415.

Yuan Mei's (1716-1798) Narrative Verse


detailed descriptionof trivialactions used in the Sanguo yanyicontinuedto be the principal vehicle of description in the Shuihu zhuan}1 In the story of Ximen Qing's seductionof Pan Jinlian,Shi Nai'an startsthe narrationwith Matchmaker Wang preparingthe banquet: witha cooked fatgoose, stewedmeatand delicate Soon Mistress Wang returned and set themon thetable. [...] The old on platters She placed everything tidbits. woman selectedchoice pieces and placed themon Golden Lotus's plate. She thenwentoutto heatsomemore. [...] of winein succession, rounds pouredthree Ximenpouredwine forGoldenLotus. Withhis wide sleeve, he swepta pair of thetableto thefloor.83 from chopsticks It is apparent that the descriptionin the Shuihu zhuan, which involves several trivialactions such as arrangingdishes, pouring wine, and dropping chopsticks, is more detailed than that in the Sanguo yanyi. Moreover, in these two novels, the detailed descriptionof dropping chopsticks is given a specific meaning and role in the developmentof story- Liu Bei' s life is spared and plays a significant Ximen Qing gains an ecstasy thatlater sets offa series of bloody events.84 This styleof descriptiondid not reach its fullestdevelopmentin Chinese novels until the Hongloumeng, in which detailed descriptionof trivial actions only of In chapterthirty-five serves to describe the psychological statesof characters.85 the Hongloumeng, "Bai Yuchuan Tastes Some Lotus-Leaf Broth" DlISS0! t witha detailed descriptionof fourpairs of H, Cao Xueqin begins the narration golden spoons: them cuthefoursilvermouldsand examined AuntXue tookthecasketcontaining with inset were inch about one and a foot More than across, they long riously. thanpeas - chrysanthemum, fashioned morethanthirty shapesno larger delicately and thelike. [...] lotusflower, caltrop plum-blossom, and AuntXue and thetablewas laid. "Our Old Ancestress Soon thefoodarrived them but do as I say," declaredXifeng, standon ceremony mustn't approaching in a handkerchief. of ivory with a bundle [...] wrapped chopsticks theLady Dowager,AuntXue, Baobefore pairsof chopsticks Xifeng placed four of the theserving whileLady Wangand Li Wan superintended chai and Xiangyun, calledforcleanbowlsand chosedishesforBaoyu. [...] dishes.ThenXifeng to Baoyu, and Yuchuanstoppedteasing in Wheninvited theypaid theirrespects as he talked in to the conversation. bowl hand, himto listen, Baoyuwenton eating When he reached visitors. the two on their whilebothhe and Yuchuankept eyes his over forthe bowl and upset it, splashing out suddenly hand, Yuchuan soup are "What a and hurt not herself, gave cry: started, you doing?"As the although of his own pain, oblivious the to take forward othermaidsrushed bowl, Baoyu,
82 Zhang,pp. 155, 159. 83 See theChinesetextof these of 23, pp. 235-237. For thetranslation passages in Shi, chapter 390-392. thesepassages,see Shapiro, 24, chapter pp. 84 Zhang,pp. 155-157. 85 Zhang,pp. 159-160,164.


Lin Tsung-cheng

cried: "Wheredid you scald yourself, Yuchuan?Does it hurt?" Everyone laughed at that."You're theone who got scaled, notme," she pointed out. Onlythendid he realizethat his ownhandwas smarting.86

In thesepassages,there is meticulously detailed thedecoradescription regarding tionson spoons,conversation between of dishes, characters, Xifeng's arrangement and Bai Yuchuan the and so on. All Hf3 3|ll| Baoyu carelessly spilling soup, theseevents are employed to solely depict Baoyu's infatuation. Thisstyle ofdescription can also be found in the"Impromptu Poemabouta Trip Home." In thepoem,detailed of trivial actions is to suggest description employed theprotagonist's alienation from andunfamiliarity with hisfamily (lines61-76):
I was just aboutto go fora stroll in thegarden, Whensomeone at the hem of myrobe. tugged A concubine carried to mydaughter me; She lispedherrespects and bowedto herDad. The mother to Daddy, feigned angerand reported Thathis daughter was constantly milk. demanding Another concubine in hushed low, tones; spoke with me in a romantic "Spendthenight spot, Please don'tneglect servant, yourhumble Andonlymakelove to thenobleladies." My wifeletouta hearty guffaw, As she openeda pairof greentraveling cases. She thought she was getting goldjewelryor pearls, Butshe onlyfound someuselessessays! insisted I takea good rest, that My mother So sheblewoutmycandlewith a singlepuff.87

In thispoem,Yuan Mei describes in detailthespeechof his wifeand concubines. As such,thisdescription takestheform of random noteson trivial diurnal events, which from Yuan Mei. appeardistant As has beendiscussed so far,in the"Ballad of theTiger'sMouth,"Yuan Mei uses variouskindsof characterization skills- i.e., the third-person omniscient narrator who bearsthe identity of a witness and infiltrates thestory, contrastive - in orderto promote and actiondescription therealism in his narradescription, tionand instill in his hero.Nonetheless, a senseof irony in addition to portraying theheroas a cowardthrough theuse of thesetechniques, Yuan Mei also playsa theentire joke on him.In thisway,Yuan Mei ridicules legend. For example,when Bian hurriedly escapes, he feels threatened by the apof the rebels. a peasant proach Suddenly, jumps out,hitsBian on theback, and shoutsat him, whichnearlyscares Bian to death. Even more ironically, this wants Bian' s clothes and else. this in peasantonly nothing By planting joke the
86 See the Chinesetextof these of 35, pp. 340-345. The translations passages in Cao, chapter thesepassagesare in Yang, chapter 35, pp. 506-513. 87 Schmidt, Garden,pp. 569-570. Harmony

NarrativeVerse Yuan Mei's (1716-1798)


herointotoday'sfrightened line,notonlydoes Yuan Mei turn yesterday's story bird, which effectively pokes fun at the heroic code in general,but it also the reader to functions to bring thereader closerto the laugh.This effect prompts character (lines70-77): Bianrode off likea madman, Hisheart pounding furiously. hit Someone hisbackandshouted, Bianfeared hadcaught they up. heturned around andlooked, When with a hoe. He sawa peasant Bian' s clothes; Theman wanted Biangaveuphisoldcoat.88 Thistechnique, thereader'sperception i.e., promoting by either playing jokes on in a humorous thecharacter or placingthecharacter can predicament, commonly in Chinesenovels.For example,in chapter be found of theHongloumeng, forty Liu's Laolao whichrelates visit to the GrandView Garden (Liu i'J^^) Granny the narration withthe description of (DaguanyuanJzWlM), Cao Xueqin starts to make fun of Liu. and a of Xifeng's plan Xifeng purposely prepares pair heavy forLiu and asks herto tastesome pigeoneggs. Liu is slippery ivorychopsticks and triesto chase theeggs round enoughto knowXifeng'sintent, sophisticated herslippery thebowlwith utensils: eating Liu stood then anddeclaimed atthe Liu, Granny up topofhervoice:"Oldwoman I vow,/ Eatsmore than / And down she settles / To an cow, now, any gobble enormous sow." Thenshedried out her cheeks and up abruptly, puffing staring down at herbowl.Theothers hadbeenstaggered at first butnoweveryone, high andlow,started with [...] roaring laughter. Butwhen shepicked shestill found them "Evenyour up thechopsticks unwieldy. sheremarked, hens arerefined," such as these. Well,let "laying tiny, dainty eggs " . megetoneofthem. [. .] Theoldwoman reached outwith herchopsticks butfailed to secure an egg.After them round thebowlfor a time shefinally incatching succeeded one;but chasing as shecraned forward toeatit,the andfell tothe floor. Shehastily eggslipped put downherchopsticks and stopped to retrieve it. However, a maidhad already itup. "A tael ofsilver!" Liusighed. "And without a sound."89 picked Granny gone Besidesheramusing hercomicspeechmakestheother characters behavior, laugh untiltheyare out of breath.By goingalong withthelaughs,Granny Liu's peris impressed sonality upon the reader's mind; hence, she and the readerare closer together. Yuan Mei's playing brought Comparatively speaking, jokes on his protagonist is to createa senseof ridicule that createsa further senseof irony to subvert theentire hero.By contrast, thecomicalspeech legendof theone-time
88 Schmidt, Garden, Harmony p. 635. 89 See 397-398. The translations of thesepassagesare in Yang, chapter Cao, chapter 40, pp. 40, pp. 587-588.



Liu is used to createa sense of funand amusement that and behavior of Granny becomemorelifelike. of thecharacters helpstheportrayal III. Conclusion in narrative forms are Yuan Mei' s mostremarkable achievements To summarize, in thefollowing structure and characterizathree areas: narrator status, sequential in the"Ballad of theTiger's Mouth"is a third-person narrator tion.The narrator of of a witness. This narrator an omniscient of view and theidentity bearing point thestory. As a third-person omniscient thepoemalso servesto infiltrate narrator, herois theone-time he conveys an alternative legendof theheroand claimsthat and bothquality nota heroat all. The omniscient pointof view servesto promote this to subvert the As a in the evidence the uses witness, legend. poet quantity whathe of thelong-held narrator hearsother versions legend,and he knowsthat an omniscient doubleidentities, describes is backedby hardevidence.By bearing thecredibility of an alternative Yuan Mei promotes narrator and a witness, legin a cloak of ambiguity. At the end in his narration, and drapesso-calledhistory the comments: infiltrates the storyby injecting end of the story,the narrator of his troubles, / And I wrotea poemforlatermen. / Rely "Bian wrote a record onlyon heaven;/ And don't feartigers!"(lines95-98). These linesnotonlycoin inherent also pinpoint thedifficulties incidewith theopening message,butthey withdoubleidenin human The use of a narrator real truth history. ascertaining in thecredibility of fiction narrator and a witness, to improve an omniscient tity, the in earlyhistoriography such as theZuozhuan, Yuan Mei' s verse,originates found can also be commonly Shiji,and theXijingzaji; and thisstyleof narration novelsor novellas.90 in Mingand Qingvernacular
90 For example,in the "Xiang Yu benji" lfMJf%i of Sima Qian's W)S3 (ca. 145 - ca. 85 to recount narrator B.C.) Shiji,Sima Qian, on theone hand,acts as an omniscient XiangYu's state,and his everyheroicmove; on theotherhand, (233-202 B.C.) thoughts, psychological to recordXiang Yu's speeches,suchas his severedecriesof beSima Qian acts as a witness his lastfight on thebankof Wu River. Yu jSE during forhis concubine and his sorrow trayers "I words am powerful Yu's heroic Due to Sima Qian's lifelike enoughto descriptions, Xiang has been an inthe world" to dominate a and brave ;frieJ^]Et: mountain, enough uproot and his sigh"thetimeis notforme, and whileitpasses away, to thelatergenerations, spiration lament of thetragic has beentakenas thearchetypal I am unableto catchit" B# ^(J^^S who could possibly hero. However,amongthewars and chaos during Xiang Yu's last fight, record Xiang XiangYu's heroicmovesand speechesin suchdetail?It is Sima Qian whobrings to promote with doublestatuses of usinga narrator fiction. More evidence Yu newlifethrough of fiction can be foundin Liu Xin's g'Jt^(50 B.C. - A.D. 23) Xijingzaji, in thecredibility liezhuan" events evenmore.In the"Sima Xiangru whichLiu Xin seemsto enjoyfictionalizing clothes to Sima does not recount Sima ^IS+BP?yff, Qian Xiangru(179-117 B.C.) selling does he describe in and neither his arms Zhuo wine or -^S crying; Wenjun buy holding abouttheilland age; nordoes he record anything personality, appearance, Wenjun'sbeautiful unableto makelove withWenjun.All of theseeventsare fictionalness thatrenders Xiangru thepersuasiveness theeventsin greatdetailso as to promote ized by Liu Xin who rearranges and able and is reborn the of Liu Xin's of his writing. fiction, Wenjun story Xiangru Through novelsand is commonly used in Mingand Qingvernacular vital.This skillof fiction to remain

NarrativeVerse Yuan Mei's (1716-1798)


of thepoem, Yuan Mei relatesthe story structure In regard to thesequential of an impeccable orderand a neat ABA' format comprised by usingtemporal a a It consists of structural stage,and an endbeginning, developmental integrity. and persuasivethecompleteness so as to intensify echoesthebeginning, ingthat theuse of develIn addition to temporal ness of thenarration. sequence,through deintosequencesthrough elements gradually opingsequence,i.e., composing in thelevel of irony his hero. promotes veloping degrees,Yuan Mei increasingly Poem aboutA TripHome," in another of his poems,the"Impromptu Moreover, to displaybothhis structure Yuan Mei uses the "random-note-like" sequential The temporal withhis family. from and intimacy alienation sequenceand thedein pastpoetry, found are commonly early particularly signof theABA' structure and the "ranthe and However, developing sequence Tang poetry. poetry yuefu foundin poetry beforeYuan Mei. structure are rarely dom-note-like" sequential in Yuan Mei's poemmaybe inspired structure The "random-note-like" sequential whichin fact,is structure, sequential by Wu Weiye's "independent-but-linking" in tradition of storytelling Ming and Qing verycloselyrelatedto the narrative Yuan Mei, likeWu Weiye,adopts novels.It wouldbe safeto say that vernacular in theform of narrative devicesfrom narrative Mingand Qing novelsto promote poetry. Yuan Mei uses threekindsof description the characterization, Concerning theheroas a cowardin the "Ballad of theTiger's Mouth."The skillsto portray in the not only enhancesthe realismof characterization contrastive description thatis meantto puzzle the poem, but also servesto createa sense of conflict in the readerso thathe also arousescuriosity of description reader.This form servesto sometruth lateron. The actiondescription to discovering looksforward the to become more lifelike,thereby enable the characterization promoting in a humorous text.Placingthecharacter of thenarrated reader'sperception preto servesto createa senseof ridicule or playing a joke on thecharacter dicament in another of his poems, characterization. thepoet's ironic Additionally, intensify Poem abouta TripHome," Yuan Mei uses thedetailed the"Impromptu descripto describe thepsychological stateof thecharacter. tionof trivial actions Among found can be commonly theseskillsin thetwopoems,thecontrastive description three skillsof characin anytypeof narrative literature. However,theremaining in a humorous terization, i.e., actiondescription, predicaplacingthecharacter of trivial and thedetaileddescription actions,are seldomfoundin poetry ment, novels. used in Ming and Qing vernacular before Yuan Mei's age, butare often
of thisis theJinping mei. The author, Xiaoxiao Sheng,takes novellas.One of thebestproofs thestory of Wu Song in theShuihu theidea forthenovelfrom zhuan,and detailsand fictionals from thosein theShuihu Xiaoxiao Sheng' izes events that are totally different zhuan.Through thestory of XimenQing and Pan Jinlian is rewritten and beand detailed lifelike descriptions, thelongThis skillof fiction is exactly whatYuan Mei uses to subvert comesmorefantastic. in classiand fictionality of historicity heldlegendof theheroin his poem. - For a discussion see Zhang,pp. 15-24;see also SheldonHsiao-peng cal Chineseliterature, Lu, FromHistoricity The Chinese PoeticsofNarrative to Fictionality: (Stanford 1994).



conventions of characterization that Yuan Mei takesthenarrative It is verylikely forms such as Ming and Qing novelsto utilizethemas the from otherliterary narrative devicesin hispoetry. In addition, Yuan Mei's "Ballad of theTiger'sMouth"has also maderemarkin Chinesepoetry. In thepoem,Yuan narrative to thehistorical able contribution a historical herowho does notfitthenormalimageof a hero. He Mei portrays his own brave deeds but fearsthe gruesome escapes not through punishments, he of a peasantthat and cowersat thesight because of theguards'carelessness, of thepoem seemto be thefinaltwo couplets mistakes fora pursuer. Moreover, withits hisneeds notbe overlyconcerned literature out thatnarrative pointing in thepoem,notonlydoes Yuan Mei abandon that It is apparent torical accuracy. in poetry from theTang to theearlyQing,buthe also highheroism theromantic and that of history has a lifeindependent literature the idea that narrative lights in fiction.91 be allowedmorelatitude poetsshould Poem abouta TripHome," is of Yuan Mei's poems,the"Impromptu Another in narrative Chinese to the poetry.In the poem, Yuan Mei family significant as well limitations ofpastpoetry, and structural all thestereotypes breaks through narrative to createhis original verseof family as seventeenth-century narrative, theConfuaboutfamily Yuan Mei's age, narrative work.Before conveyed poetry and the state,and therefore the family between cian idea of thecorrespondence to didactic. For more thepoetry example,Du Fu's "Journey morally appeared fromearliertimes,contains the North,"the most famouspoem about family concernof but the primary moving passages aboutDu Fu's wifeand children, in thispoemstandin Du Fu's wifeand children thispoemis political.Moreover, in the "ImIn contrast, to him as he standsto the emperor. the same relation theConfucian Poem abouta TripHome," Yuan Mei notonlyabandons promptu from and intimacy his alienation buthe also suggests in pastpoetry, ideas found and his "random-note-like" voice the withhis family through stranger-narrator's in described be adequately withfamily cannot records.92 Such a complexrelation in a new form of narrative butcan be conveyed of pastpoetry, form thenarrative in his verse. suchas theone Yuan Mei creates of to thedevelopment In conclusion, Yuan Mei has madea majorcontribution devicesfrom of narrative Yuan Mei adoptsa variety in Chinesepoetry. narration innovate the so as to of vehicle to be the forms other narration, principal literary In his innovative in his art of narration the form and to promote narrative poetry. writforpoetry withsubjectmatter Yuan Mei's experiments forms of narrative, Mei's Yuan in of Chinese the were poetry. history unprecedented completely ing in forms and also broadensthe scope of writing the narrative enriches attempt Chinesepoetry.
91 For a discussion see Schmidt, of Yuan Mei's historical Garden,pp. 423narrative, Harmony 425. 92 For a discussion see Schmidt, on family of Yuan Mei's narration Garden,pp. Harmony story, 428-431.

Yuan Mei's (1716-1798) Narrative Verse


nmmmm , ^mmjsm^mmmmm^, *m$kmmmmm

^mmm^} tnjMm^, &mmiamm^, fioMmw^mn,

structuft, mmm^-XMm^Ao ^XU^mmW^ (sequential M. URAWMM (characterization) (narrator status), re),$kW-$M