The Crazy Bookworm

One week left, I can’t believe it!  Today I am writing about the new Chinese tale that we (Group 2) have chosen to replace our previous Chinese tale of “The Dragon King’s Daughter.”  The new tale is “The Crazy Bookworm.”  This tale is about a man who loves his books and he loves to study.  He is too preoccupied with studying to worry about marriage or a life.  The man knows he will find a wife in his books.  Eventually, he does and she ends up being a beautiful “jade-like face” girl.  She convinces him to become a more well-rounded person by having him learn to play the lute and make friends with high officials.  The District Magistrate hears of his beautiful wife and decides that he wants the “jade-like face” girl for himself, so he throws the man in jail and raids his house only to find books.  The Magistrate gives orders to burn the books without the knowledge that the “jade-like face” girl was hiding in the Book of Han.  When the man gets out of jail, he is able to pass his examinations and earn the highest degree to become an official in the town of the Magistrate.  The man gets his revenge on the Magistrate by taking his estate and his mistress and eventually gives up his good job to go back home.  The story ends there but we decided that this tale would be a better choice for our Chinese tale because it gave us more of a chance to explore Buddhist themes.  The details of the tale support the Buddhist themes and also introduce a Buddhist monk and a shrine.  The tale also allows us to talk about the ideology of Confucianism and how the Chinese adopted Buddhism into their already rooted Confucian beliefs.  “The Dragon King’s Daughter” did not give us (what we felt like was) enough room to explore these ideas.  It did not explicitly state Buddhist themes and we wanted to use a tale that was more comparable to what we originally had in mind.  We are very excited to debute our podcast comparing and contrasting Buddhist ideas within Chinese and Japanese culture  to the class (and the public?!?!) very soon, but for now, a simple project update will have to do! 🙂 Happy Founders Day tomorrow!

-EW

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