What might account for some of the similarities and/or differences?
December 6, 2019 Comments Off on What might account for some of the similarities and/or differences? Assignment Assignment help

TOPIC 1: The Great Tang-Song Transformation
Convention describes the Song dynasty as a “turning point” in Chinese history. Prior to this era,
an aristocratic culture placed more value on bloodline than ability and the apex of society
embraced only a small number of old families. In addition, economic activity and urbanization
were rather modest in the Tang while government institutions were also limited in this time.
However, compared to the Tang, the Song had become a brilliant and innovative age
characterized by rapid economic growth as well as social and cultural changes. These changes
include the expansion of civil-service examinations, the rising prominence of scholar-officials,
the rise of Neo-Confucianism, re-definition of gendered space, thriving artistic and literary
achievements, and an affluent urban culture. Please write an essay to elaborate some of the
above-mentioned aspects to illustrate the new developments during the Tang-Song

TOPIC 2: The Encounter with Fox Spirits

Fox stories such as the Tang story “Miss Jen” (posted on BrightSpace) provide an important clue
to the history of Chinese views of sexuality and the sensual side of love. However, in his Strange
Tales from Make-Do Studio, Pu Songling presents a memorable portrait gallery of individualized
fox characters. Apparently, sexuality is not the entirety of the fox tradition: under Pu’s writing
brush, foxes play important role as popular deities, aspiring immortals, romantic heroines, and
intelligent friends. Based on the three fox stories you have read this semester (Miss Jen; Ma Jiefu
and Hengnian), examine how the portrayals of Ma Jiefu and Hengniang (by Pu) as “fox-spirits”
differ from the Tang fox-fairy Miss Jen? What might account for some of their differences?


Our discussion of Dream of the Red Chamber follows a survey of nearly two thousand years of
Chinese cultural tradition. How do you view the novel, particularly Chapter 22, in relation to
some of the important themes (family; gender relations; love and perfidy; the cult of talent;
religious syncretism; self and society …) we have discussed in class this semester? What points
of similarity or difference do you see as reflected in the novel if compared with earlier texts you
have read? What might account for some of the similarities and/or differences?