06 - DEDICATED LOVER Li Wa-courtesan Written by Po...

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DEDICATED LOVER Li Wa —courtesan Written by Po Hsing-chien Story follows male character instead of female character. Full name was hidden to protect families suggests that this might be a true story Young man came from upper class family. He wanted to go to Chang An to take the examinations and make an official. Businessman was of a lower class. His father sent him to live in the capital, gave him money for two years of living. [exam was difficult, needs time to prepare for it and retake exam] Traditional parents arrange marriages for their children to ensure a good life for them. Young people didn’t get to meet one another freely. Men could develop romantic relationship with courtesan. This is the one place where men could find romance (not marriage). [contributed to the popularity of these stories] Young man was now in the capital. He’s from the countryside, rather naïve in the biggest city. Blissful court?? [courtesan house] He saw a beautiful woman standing in front of her house (normal woman would never do that—had to be a prostitute or courtesan) and fell in love with her beauty. He made enquiries and found out that she was a courtesan. He showed up at her house and contacted her ‘mother’ to become a patron. He stayed beyond the official curfew intentionally and spent the night at the house. They had a marriage ceremony and he had to support the whole family from then on. This is a dangerous relationship since it is a strictly commercial one. Had to stop once money stops. Yet they fell in love and even when he ran out of money he swore to stay. He pawned all this things off and borrowed from friends etc. In the end, when he finally ran out of money, the mother had to kick him away. They lured him away from the house to go to the temple. They made an excuse and left him alone in the temple. When he went back to the house everyone was gone. He couldn’t contact anyone so he went back to his inn and became sick. His was shattered, his whole system broke down. He was taken to a funeral home and the people there took care of him. He ended up becoming a professional mourner at the funeral home and sang funeral songs. [people hire pro mourner due to filial piety, show that they care for the dead] By taking up this job, he lowered himself to her level—professional entertainer (including mourner) are in the lowest class like hookers & courtesans do. His father thought that he was dead. [due to primitive communication methods—no private letter could be sent] he was cut off from any communication with all his relatives and friends ever since he took up his job as a mourner. There was a contest of funeral singers which attracted attention of everyone. He won it and his father’s servant spotted him. His father was furious and beat him and let him to death. [ extreme case of filial piety ] there was nothing wrong in what the father did because he had been grossly infilial. He didn’t take the exam, and lowered himself to become a funeral singer.
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This note was uploaded on 02/13/2008 for the course ARLT 100 taught by Professor Thompson during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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06 - DEDICATED LOVER Li Wa-courtesan Written by Po...

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