Japan

Tu Fu lived through a period of political and social unrest in China where there was warfare and constant threat of displacement. “Song of P’eng-ya” depicts an episode of running from violent rebellion. What do you think about this poem? What kind of values does this poem speak of? This poem touches the reader in a very real and very sad way. This poems main theme was about a family sticking together through very hard times and having nobody to rely on but each other. Aside from family, I think that the most important value Tu Fu shows is goodness.

He shows the importance of this when his friend helps out in his time of trouble. He is very grateful for the goodness that still lies within people. What is the short poem, “Moonlit Night” (836) about? Who do you think “she” is in the poem? What is the general atmosphere and feeling of this poem? What in the poem contributes to these feelings? This poem is about two lovers who are living apart for the time being. “She” refers to his wife and/or lover. They aren’t together at the time and there is definitely a sad feeling because of the separation.

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He is lonely and misses her. He describes her in detail in line 5 which shows how much he cares for her and also verifies that he is not with her right now but wishes he was. This poem raises the question of when he will see her again. Like Tao Chien, Tu Fu also mentions is “Thatched Roof” (837). What is the difference in their descriptions of their homes? What does lines 38-46 (838) of this poem mean? Why did he start the poem talking about his own situation and ended up talking about a “towering roof” for “poorest gentlemen of all this world”?

A hint—focus on the word “gentleman”. In general what do houses stand for in poems, either in Tao Chien’s or Tu Fu’s? Tao Chien’s reaction to the situation was more related to Taoism and Tu Fu’s was more related to Confucianism. Tao Chien more or less reacted without much thinking and went with the flow of nature. Tu Fu believes that because he leads a life of knowledge and morals that he should have a proper home. Last poem: “Writing of My Feelings Traveling by Night” (838)Try to picture this poem in your mind. What do you see? What do you feel?

What is this poem about and what is the general atmosphere? I see water close by in this poem. I feel sadness and doubtfulness. I think this poem is about growing old and realizing how close to the end you are and wondering if you have lived to the fullest of your potential. Tu Fu is probably one of the most respected of all Chinese poets of the classical era. Given your understanding of, especially Confucian ideals, why do you think he is so admired? Do the poems reveal any of these Confucian ideals? Tu Fu is the perfect example of what a gentleman would be as far as Confucianism goes.

His poetry is put together very well in a way that can relate and also teach the readers. He has a calm manor about him and doesn’t go over the top at all. He is able to connect with the reader on an emotional level. What general thoughts do you have of these poems? Tu Fu’s poems seem to be full of regret and sadness. By regret I mean he wishes he could still hold on to things, not change the way he handled them. He is very reserved and calm throughout his writings and this allows him to connect to a reader in a very real way.

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