Gender Role of LI Kingzhao, Essay Example

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Essay

Introduction

Chinese poetry refers to poetry spoken and written in the Chinese language. There are different versions of the Chinese language. Historians around the world are aware of the two primary types of Chinese poetry. There is the modern and classical Chinese poetry. Chinese poetry has been highly rankled in China. In China, poetry has provided an opportunity to express feelings of emotions. There is a distinct difference between the western world and the independent Chinese world. This is seen in the rich quality of Chinese poems, which has made it a fascinating subject of study for the western world (Djao 17).

Li Qingzhao

Li Qingzhao is a famous female writer of poetry in China who was born in 1084. She was only interested in coming up with poetic lyrics in different tunes. Poetic historians such as Hu Binqing have ranked her as a fearless woman who is not bothered by her gender as a woman. Le is an enterprising person who has broken the boundaries of gender thus competing with other top male poets. The male poets did not consider the female label because of the exceptional performance in the world of poetry just like them. She has received quite a number of awards due to her poetic imaginary accompanied by her unique composition of emotional language in her poems. She is indeed an inspiration to many female youngsters who may have an urge to pursue poetry. Many male poets believed that they were excellent in the industry (Lǐ, Rexroth, and Zhong 66).

Le has a unique style of writing poems using regular verses although not many poems written in this version have survived. She originated from Shandong province, which was, then under the power of Emperor Shenzong. Later she moved to Jijan where she grew up. Jijan is a leading home of her poetry as here her work is well displayed. She came from an affluent and knowledgeable family. Her father being a scholar and her mother being an expert in poetry, Le was able to follow her parent’s example (Miller, Vandome, and McBrewster 61).

She was homeschooled by her parents who were cultured and only believed in classical learning. Compared to most girls of her time she received the best education. Evidently, the education enabled her to excel in the field of poetry. She was highly ranked like men poets who were considered the lucky gender. Since her father was a scholar, she also wanted to become one. She was interested in education more than her brother Li Mang was. Apart from her dream of becoming a scholar, she also developed a talent in writing poetry. Her mother who was a poet gave her all the assistance she needed (Djao 24).

Li Qingzhao gained fame in her hometown due to her literary talent her poetry work. The whole society became interested in her poetic work. She ruled her home by entertaining the people socially. Together with her husband who worked at the court, they were able to make enormous savings. The couple expressed their love through writing poems to each other. Li drew her husband to poetry where continued to research and record their historical treasures. Theses recordings helped them when it came to composing poems (Qingzhao 24). Li had an ability to imagine and formulate any poem and dedicate it to her husband. Indeed her husband was her greatest fan. Despite being a woman writer, she gained fame and recognition while her male counterparts did not.

During Emperor Gaozong’s era in 1128, Li’s husband was appointed as a magistrate. In 1129, he received a new appointment to serve in another city. He died at the age of 48 while on his way to Jiankang, which was his new appointment. The city of Jiankang was invaded, and Li had to fly to the South. During this transition period, most of her art and poetic work was destroyed. The invaders were not happy with her determination as a woman, and they destroyed her song, the Dynasty. Once she became a widow, she started composing poems telling people the way she felt after her husband’s death (Lǐ, Rexroth, and Zhong 14).

Her poems have taken over in the society. Some are being read as commentaries while others as songs due to their beautiful composition. She received so much honour of which she deserved. Her composition of poems confirms the honor bestowed upon her. She worked so hard to earn this. Li became universally recognized as China’s greatest poet. She possessed all the qualities of an eligible poet. Her creativity in writing, the sense in her poems, and the originality of her ideals are just but a few qualities she is associated with which enhanced her prowess in this field (Djao 29). At this time, women in her society were not allowed to secure a quality education as this was against the tradition. They not gave an opportunity to hold any position of honor. Li was much cunning as wrote poems that elevated her status thus beating the traditions. Her name became immortal in the whole society.

Li Qingzao wrote poems that portray confidence of a woman living in a society ascribing to men. This is even expressed in poems by other poets such as Hu Binqing. In his poems that he wrote, women are not entitled to freedom of thought and not allowed to have freedom of action. He states that women should not have the freedom to love or express themselves willingly. This is how the society despised women at the time of Le Qingzhao, but she was able to fight and overcome all the above traditions. Many women were battered and were not allowed to make any decision. Li is indeed a hero because of her all these were conquered and women started gaining respect just as men (Miller, Vandome, and McBrewster 72).

Li is indisputably the most brilliant poet in the history of China. The events of her works have a background that is full of socio-cultural developments. These are eminent in here song the dynasty which was because of comprehensive research work. Li flourished at a time when China was experiencing political instability two emperors were conquered. In her poems, she picks on the political leaders. She mocks the leaders of the empires revealing their cowardice that led to attack in China. She blames them for occupation of Northern China by invaders (Ho and Li 20). She writes a poem about her life. This poem received another massive recognition as it is about an unusual character. This character is a woman who holds immensely strong points.

Her styles of writing poems and her ability to uncover the oppressing traditions in the society made all literature experts in China alike. Li became the subject of other poets. They wrote articles that recognized her unique and quality work. A poet, Wei Djao wrote that Li’s work was memorable and one that had literal achievement. Li drew the attention of other poets. They all wanted to be associated with her. Djao has successfully translated all the works of Li into beautiful English thus overcoming the barrier of language. These translations still have maintained poetic rhythm (Djao 33).

As a highly educated female of her time, Li could be incomparable because she came up with poems full of emotional intensity. She was feared and considered the greatest female poet in China. Her works were exemplary in teaching poetry in most universities and colleges. She used unconventional language to convey her message in poems. Her poems have been of paramount influence to other poets throughout the centuries (Miller, Vandome, and McBrewster 43).

During Li’s time, the education of a girl’s child largely depended on the family’s status in the society. Le was lucky that she came from a family of scholars. She grew up being intelligent under a life that was culturally refined. She was able to acquire all that was meant for the boy child alone. Her family did not follow the traditions in the society. Instead, they were excellent ambassadors of enculturation (Qingzhao 32).

She Wrote Lyrical Poetry in the Tzu Style

Most of her work was in Tsu style, which indicates her song, the Dynasty. Tsu is a writing style mostly used in old lyrical songs. Tsu is rich of lyrics and has precise rhymes that reflect the tune of the song. During her time, her critiquing prowess saw her examine and deliver judgment on poems of her fellow contemporaries. She liked to challenge herself, taking on difficult rhymes thus bringing out her talent immensely. Her poems were precise and had a variation in meter that was unique. This writing style gave Li a sense of belonging, and she considered a heroine in China. Up to date,  only 78% of Tsu poems belonging Le have survived. One of her critique is “Lun Ci” meaning “Discourse on Lyric.” This is an example of Li’s theoretical writings in the form of Tsu poetry (Lǐ, Rexroth, and Zhong 52).

At that time, the art of Tsu poetry had adopted two different writing styles: the heroic and euphemistic styles. Le used the euphemistic style of writing. This style had characteristics such as intense theme and art. In her style, she was able to bring out these characters in a remarkably mature manner. Her style became a contrast with that of her peers. Her poems were then categorized d as being in the Yian style. Her euphemistic Tsu style could not be ignored, and it received massive recognition. It was ranked highly in China (Ho and Li 28).

At this time, her fellow male counterparts put so much effort to try to capture the emotions of engaging women in their poems. They failed, and all their efforts were wasted. Li took a remarkably natural approach. She conveyed her true feelings in ordinary language thus succeeded in expressing the feelings of a genuine woman. She rejected all the works of poetry done by her fellow male poets by adopting a style that was tranquil and elegant. During her early stages of life, she wrote poems about her marital life and the happy times she shared with her husband (Miller, Vandome, and McBrewster 9). She did all these at in a society where women were not entitled to love or freedom of expression. She produced poems talking about her sorrows brought about by her husband who was far away. She expressed her loneliness. In these love poems, Li compares her loneliness to falling flower petals during spring (Qingzhao 24).

Driven from Her Home

After the death of her husband, Le could not rest because she kept on moving from one city to another. Much of her work was destroyed during transition and was forced to sell some of the few remaining ones to sustain herself. She made so many trips all over the country thus spent a lot. Jin destroyed the remaining valuable work she had. Jin is her brother – in law who was suppose d to take care of Li’s artwork. None of Li’s collection was rescued and could not afford to pay or buy a house thus lived in lodgings. The proprietors did not spare anything because they stole Li’s books and ink stones in the opportunities they got. These were the only remaining valuables that she had (Ho and Li 36).

By this time, the poems that Li had produced lost their oomph and spirited hopes. They took a reflection of the deep grieving that had killed her. She lost focus and became dormant. She started falling slowly by slowly and finally lost direction. The songs that she produced at this time were full of sorrow. The beginning all her poems were characterized by monosyllabic words (Miller, Vandome, and McBrewster 31). One of her last poems is her Tsu poem entitled, “Every Sound, Lentemete”. The beginning of this poem is characterized by words such as “cold” and “moan”. The poem ends abruptly with the word “grief”.

Wrote a Brief Memoir

In her determination to complete the work that was started by her late husband, Li travelled to the city of Hangzhou. Together they had started compiling a vast collection of artwork. She brought all the manuscripts left by her husband. Using these manuscripts, she formed an antiquarium manual. She gave it a title, “Record of Bronze and Steel”. The manual was an enormous volume consisting of 2000 rubbings in total and 500 essays. There were many praises towards the book on its release. It was s not easy for Li to come up with such a volume of the book. She was a hardworking woman who believed that she could do everything by herself (Ho and Li 42).

Apart from compiling the book, Li also wrote an epilogue. This was to serve as a final work of her life and poetry. She named it “Hou Hsu”. The rest of Li’s life was marked with misery and loneliness. In her final epilogue, she expressed her feelings of being heart broken because of her husband’s death. She also warned other scholars who might be in the identical situation at some instance in their life. She prepared their hearts by writing lyrics such as, “when there is possession there must be loss of possession”. In 1140’s, she took over the position of writing assignments for the new court (Lǐ, Rexroth, and Zhong 39). Her poetic work and mentioning of her name ended in 1149. No one knows the exact cause of her death and historians assume that she died in 1150.

Sources of history have clashed about the cause of her death. Researchers of history still have a task of the end of the era of this Heroine from China. Her death remains subject of debate until today. Some historians argue that, in 1132, Le remarried an old man who battered her to death. No one is sure about this. This information was revealed after her death. Others argue that stories surrounding her death were fabricated by her fellow counter parts. It is believed that these male poets aimed at destroying her reputation (Ho and Li 49). These people were jealous of her high-class acquired status as being the greatest female poet in China. They wanted to own the title of renowned poet writers. They felt degraded by a mere woman of Li’s caliber.

During her time as a writer of poems, she published seven volumes under the category of traditional poetry. These poems took the form of essays. She also produced an unbelievable six volumes comprising of Tsu lyrics alone. Out of all the above, only 17 Shi and 50 Tsu lyrics exist to presently. In fact, most of remaining works are in fragments. Her final epilogue is still alive. In addition, some of China’s pots are still using her works (Miller, Vandome, and McBrewster 25). In his collection, Kenneth Rexroth’ has compiled several poems from China. He named this collection “poems from the Chinese”. This collection has seven poems belonging to Li.

Works Cited

Djao, Wei. A Blossom like No Other Li Qingzhao. Toronto: Ginger Post Incorporated, 2010.      Print.

Ho, Lucy Chao and Li, Qingzhao. “More Gracile Than Yellow Flowers”: The Life and Works of Li ChʻIng-Chao. New York: Mayfair Press; [distributor: Yu Fang Book Co., New York], 1968. Print.

Lǐ, Qīngzhào, Rexroth Kenneth and Zhong, Ling. Li Chʻing-chao, Complete Poems, A New Directions book. London: New Directions Publishing, 1979. Print.

Miller, Frederic, Vandome, Agnes and McBrewster, John. Li Qingzhao. London: VDM Publishing House Limited, 2010. Print.

Qingzhao, Li. Music from a Jade Flute: The Ci Poems of Li Qingzhao. London: Hybrid Publishers, 2009. Print.

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