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Mallari, Erika Jane O. Chuang Tzu (369? - 268 B.C.

) was a leading thinker representing the Taoist strain in Chinese thought. Using parable and anecdote, allegory and paradox, he set forth the early ideas of what was to become the Taoist school. Central in these is the belief that only by understanding Tao (the Way of Nature) and dwelling in unity can man achieve true happiness and be truly free, in both life and death. Witty and imaginative, enriched by brilliant imagery, making sportive use of both mythological and historical personages (including even Confucius), the book which bears Chuang Tzu's name has for centuries been savored by Chinese readers. Chuang Tzu means Master Chuang,his personal name was Chou, and he was a Taoist philosopher of the fourth century BC, contemporary with Plato and Aristotle. He was, according to the Records of the Historian, from a place called Meng, where he was ``an official in the lacquer garden.'' (No one is very sure what that means.) China at the time was fragmented into a number of incessantly-fighting kingdoms --- the era is known as the ``Warring States Period'' --- and it is thought that Meng was in the state of Sung. Chuang Chou is also recorded as being a member of the Chi-Hsia academy maintained by the larger and more advanced state of Ch'i, along with many of his most famous philosophical contemporaries, like Mencius and Hui Shih. Interpretations:

This poem sounds to me of a man struggling with his own misgivings and characterizes his short comings and behaviors with the term Chung Tzu. He has a lot of fears to overcome. The poem sounds like a love poem to me. The speaker is expecting her lover to come over the high wall surrounding her home. But she is afraid of the damage to the trees that might be caused, her parents' reactions, her brothers' reactions, and what others will say as a result. This poem gives a dark meaning as if Chung-tzu is a evil and powerful tyrant. Or he could be a mischievous little boy. it feels as if the author is expressing a fear of Chung-tzu breaking everything in sight. Constantly telling him not to break several things in the poem. But at the sametime the author expresses that the stuff doesn't matter but is scared of having to face their mother and father to explain the mess. I feel that the author is trying to express that you should treat things like your own even if they are not yours. The author cares for the stuff because it does not belong to him/her, but also the author doesn't want to add power to Chung-tzu. "Chungtzu may be in my thoughts, but when people talk too much that too my be held in dread" the author feels as if even talking about Chung-tzu it may grow in fame as well. The story never really defines what Chung-tzu is which is left up to the reader to decide because everybody has a Chung-tzu in their life that they are battling with just as the author is.

The poems were arranged thematically, with the first portion centered on courtship. The following reveals the importance of social responsibility to the Chinese culture--duty towards family and country always supercedes self-indulgence.

Unlike most cultures, the earliest known Chinese literature is not narrative or epic poetry, but lyric poetry. It tended to concentrate on daily life and, discretely, political comments. It is hard for us to understand now as it's often a case of what is not said rather than what you actually read in the poetry. When written by a skilful poet, a poem that appears formally correct on the outside can hide deep emotions which the poet knew his audience would be able to read into it. Similes and metaphors aren't used explicitly; instead you find natural images. All lyric poetry was written in classical Chinese (wenyan or guwen) which was standardised during the Han Dynasty and was very different in grammar and vocabulary to the normal spoken language. Translation into another language is hard for lyric poetry above all other literature. The sound and suggestion of the words are very important to understand the proper meaning. Writing poetry gave the poet a high status most of the time in medieval China. Scholars learned the craft to help qualify them for government employment as it was one of the parts of the civil service examination and many of the greatest Chinese poets were government employees. It was also considered a social grace with a dinner guest often being asked to produce a poem before being served or posting a poem on the wall when leaving as a thank you. The earliest known collection is The Book of Songs, probably produced in its final form by about 600 BC. They received the blessing of Confucius in the next century who claimed that the poems stimulated awareness and kindled resentment against evil. It was also the inspiration for the DaoistDao-de-Ching. The poets aren't attributed and the poems are generally short, often enigmatic, and in a variety of voices, male and female, young and old. Love is often the theme of the poems, together with nature and political topics.

Questions: 1. What is the point of view of the speaker in this poem? What can you deduce about the speakers gender, age, and family status? 2. What is the speaker most afraid of? Why? What does this indicate about the nature of the speakers culture and society? 3. What do you think would happen if Chung Tzu did not heed the speakers entreaties and did climb over the wall, breaking willows, mulberry trees, and hardwoods in the process? 4. Does the situation described in the poem have any resonance with or relevance to contemporary situations