Literature of East Asia
Answer any one of the following questions in approximately 4 pages (double-spaced, 12-pt font):
1. Princess Hyegyong’s Memoirs of 1801/1802/1805 (Hanjongnok ???) as well as Shen Fu’s Six Records of a Floating Life (????) both focus heavily on the injustices and humiliations faced by a daughter-in-law when her husband fails to conform to the expectations of his parents or other elders. Do you believe both of these two authors were critical of the hierarchical structures in family and society that made these women so vulnerable? Why, or why not?
2. Discuss the broad similarity of themes between Saikaku’s The Life of a Sensuous Woman (1686) and Tanizaki’s Naomi (1925), in terms of how they treat relations between men and women, female promiscuity, or the attempts by women to establish economic and social independence outside of a traditional family. Moreover, is it possible to read Tanizaki’s work as an updated, modern version of Saikaku’s? Why, or why not?
3. In both Kim Van Kieu and The Love Suicides at Amijima, female characters express kindred feelings toward other women (living or dead), with whom they share a fatalistic acceptance that they must suffer at the hands of their lovers or others. Compare the respective treatments of this idea in these two works, and in particular, how the two characters accept and cope with life in the world of prostitution.