Meng-long's "Du Tenth Sinks the Jewel Box in Anger" Book Review by Quality Writers

Meng-long's "Du Tenth Sinks the Jewel Box in Anger"
This essay is a thematic analysis of Feng Meng-long's "Du Tenth Sinks the Jewel Box in Anger" in terms of gender in 16th century China.
# 105003 | 1,759 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2008 | US

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The essay discusses the themes related to men and women in Feng Meng-long's "Du Tenth Sinks the Jewel Box in Anger", a short story typical of vernacular courtesan romances popular with the 16th century shift towards a business culture prevalent through the Ming Dynasty. Specifically, the author analyzes the relationships between the character of Master Li with his father and with his lover Du Tenth.

The Economics of Brothels
Male Weakness as Unfeeling Behaviour
Last Remarks

From the Paper:

"As a member of Li Zhi's school of writing which stressed human sentiment and behaviour, Feng stressed to the reader how Master Li had acted out of cowardice, thinking that the sale of Du Tenth would permit resolution in the future, that he could return to his family and later have Du Tenth. She is having no part of it, of course, having seen immediately what Sun had placed in Li's mind and how easily he had gone ahead with what seemed a solution. At once, the reader understands that her sentiment has been genuine along with her words, and also, that she is shrewd and when revealing the wealth she had amassed to give to her husband, that she is far better as business woman and person able to manage in the world. For Feng, men are cowardly when ignoring women's feelings, and easily manipulated, or opportunists in the manner of Sun who almost managed to get hold of Du Tenth. Unsurprisingly, in the romantic scheme of things, it is Du Tenth the whore who proves to have nobler sentiment, as well as intelligence. Feng summarized that 'Sun Fu, who thought nothing of throwing away a thousand taels in a plot to steal away a lovely woman, was certainly no gentleman, while Li Jia, who failed to recognize Du Tenth's sincere devotion, was a vulgar person not even worth talking about.' (p.855)
"The crowd wondered why she had not found a mate that suited her beauty and devotion, the whole story most pitiful in that she has suffered for her honesty, risked leaving the brothel behind, believing that she had found her future with Master Li who seems not to appreciate, at all, the radical step that she has taken, placing herself on the winds of fate, willing to go anywhere and face any consequences with the man she loves."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cass, Victoria. Dangerous Women - Warriors, Grannies and Geishas of the Ming. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.
  • Feng, Meng-long. "Du Tenth Sinks the Jewel Box in Anger." Trans. Robert Ashmore, in Stephen Owen. Ed. An Anthology of Chinese Literature - Beginnings to 1911. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1996, pp. 835-855.
  • Owen, Stephen. Introduction: "Vernacular Stories - Feng Meng-long and Lang-Xian" in An Anthology of Chinese Literature - Beginnings to 1911, 1996, p. 834.
  • Tien, Ju Kang. Male Anxiety and Female Chastity - a Comparative Study of Chinese Ethical Values in Ming-Ching. Leiden: Brill, 1988.

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