Tang Tale questions - Rebecca1. Why was Chang-an's ward system important to the plot lines in many of the Tang Tales?2. Find examples of the use of the supernatural in "Li Zhang-wu's Story".3. Having read "Ying-ying's Story", do you think that Zhang's behavior is justifiable in terms of the Confucianism of the day? Why or why not?
Richard Lam1) In "Ren's Story", Ren was caught and killed by the Imperial Groom's hound dog. Were animals able to find creatures who could disguise as humans?2) In "Li Zhang-wu's Story", Zhang-wu is compared to Zhang Hua. What similarities do they share, if any can be found?3) In "ying-ying's Story", Owen states that readers cannot read this story without seeing two sides to choose from. Is it possible to read it without picking sides?
Eric Cortés1) In "Ren's Story", why does Zheng only ascend in status after he has become involved with Ren?2) What is the significance of Zhang-wu's daoist belief in his story?3) In "Ying-ying's Story", rather than picking a side, is it possible to like and/or dislike both sides equally?
Rebecca's question 2There is the spirit of Zhang-wu's lover, the spirit's messenger, and the jewel from Heaven, the Mo-he jewel.
1.) Many societies expected and indirectly encouraged a certain level of promiscuity between young men and courtesans, for a variety of reasons. Do you see these stories and the ward system of Chang-an as an example of this or not? Why?2.) Is "Ren's Story" an example of enduring faith or overwhelming lust? Why?3.)Why do you think the concept of "equal faith" so important in the Tang Tales?Answer to Rebecca's first question:The ward system is an interesting narrative device. As Owen states, it seems to put young heroes in the "bedrooms" of young courtesans. This obviously creates some tension, but it also makes for an incredibly exciting environment. If the Tang Tales are didactic, then they also need be grounded in reality. If young nobles in Chang-an had "unspoken permission" to engage in some kind of sexual activity as these tales suggest, then it is no surprise that these tales would reflect that.
Tang Tales Jennifer Torres1.) Contrast how Zheng from "Ren's Story" and Zhang from "Ying Ying's Story" view women of supernatural origins.2.) Do you think there was a reason why Zhang from "Ying Ying's story" has better luck at coming out unscathed than Li Yi from Huo Xiao-yu's Story"?3.) After reading The Tang Tales, explain the pros and cons of encountering an otherworldly woman.Answer to Eric question 1:Zheng was brave enough to go against the belief that is is bad for one's health and fortune to be with a supernatural being. Because of this devotion, he was rewarded.
Answer to Joe's 2nd question:"Ren's Story", in the context of the time period, I think is more likely to be an example of overwhelming lust. Owen alludes to this in the short passage after the story by mentioning that being with non-humans was considered bad for health and luck. So we can view Ren's death and Zheng's unhappiness after that as an end to his good fortune because of his actions.
David Nguyen1. Why did Zheng from "Ren Story"lied to the shopowner about spending the night with the fox?2. Which type of person are you?Keeping Faith or Faith Broken?3.In "Huo Xiao-yu's Story," why didn't Li You tell his parents that he in love with Xiao-yu?Richard Question #1Dog in general has a great sense of smell. You see dogs at the border line sniffing drugs, but I don't know how they would tell the difference between human and alien.Jen question #3The only pro that I could think of is beauty.Con in the first story, is that the girl is not human.
Response to Joe's 2nd question - RebeccaI think that "Ren's Story" is more an example of flagrant lust than enduring faith. Throughout the story it is made evident how exceptional Ren is in character, and yet despite this Zheng is attracted to her only for her great beauty. It may even be said that he doesn't acknowledge the fact that there are more components to her than just her appearance. He values her solely for her looks and doesn't attempt to see beyond that, and in such a case his interest in her can't be driven by anything other than lust.
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