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On Chinese Allegories under the Influence of Ethics

Author: XuAn
Tutor: WuJiaRong
School: Anhui University
Course: Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords: Chinese allegories interdiscipline ethics Confucianist ethics
CLC: I207.7
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 174
Quote: 2
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Allegory is one kind of writing style which is bound up with human cultures. Itis an important carrier of cultural achievements. The paper explores allegories fromthe angle of ethics. Chinese allegoriesare of a long history. Allegories of differentperiods are affected by the moral thoughts both in form and in appearance. In pre-Qinperiod, the first group of Chinese intellectuals rose. They put forward their politicaland ethical opinions from different angles. For an enhanced effect, they insertedhistorical events and folktales. After transformed with the personal points of view,allegories emerged as the times require. In Han Dynasty, due to the cultural despotismas well as the war in late-Qin period, those books in pre-Qin period which reflectedConfucianist moral thought had lost. After Han Dynasty unified, it is quite importantto collate those ancient books. During the collation, expositors quoted some allegoriesto explain the recondite principles. Therefore, this kind of allegories appeared andeven featured largely in Hart Dynasty. In Wei, Jin, South and North dynasties,people’s minds became very active. The obsolete fossilized ethics were faced withserious challenges. However, there was no freedom of speech under the despoticfeudal rule. People had no choice but to use allegories to advocate their ethics. Thiskind of allegories, which were based on jokes, became the forerunner of satiric andhumorous ones. Chinese ancient allegories revived in Tang and Song Dynasties.Either the independent allegories created by Liu zongyuan or the spiral allegories bySu dongpo were influenced deeply by the ethics composed of Confucianist, Taoistand Buddhist thoughts. In Yuan, Ming, Qing Dynasties, capitalist industry andcommerce developed. Thus neo-Confucianism in Ming Dynasty came into being.Along with this, civilian literature and art had never been so flourishing. Thereupon,it is only natural that allegories and novels mixed together. Meanwhile, the rulers inMing and Qing Dynasties strengthened absolute monarchy. People were forbidden toaddress their opinions. It undoubtedly stimulated satiric allegories to grow. In moderntimes, with the development of the reform and Marxist theory, Chinese allegories have been characterized by the union of China and West. The traditional Chineseculture stresses moral and ethical problems, which makes ethical thoughts pervadeevery aspect of people’s lives. Among these, allegories are influenced heavily. At thesame time, allegories also affect moral thoughts. Sometimes, the moral thoughts of aparticular period can be figured out from allegories. A delicate relationship existsbetween the two. As time goes on, allegories have not flourished, but graduallydeclined. It is an important cause that moral thoughts have changed. In the past, muchimportance was attached to ethics owing to the idea of "the good, the beautiful". Andthe simple way of argument conformed to the given conditions. Therefore, it isinevitable for allegories to grow vigorously then. Now, science and technology aremaking progress with each passing day and ethics have grown multiplied andcomplicated. In view of this situation, the low-level preach of allegories has had noserious effect on modern man who enjoy higher cultural levels. In the meanwhile, thenew ethical problems occurred in the internet age. The traditional allegories havebeen so conventional to solve the new problems. As time passes, they surely losevigor gradually. The paper systematically elaborates how ethics influence Chineseallegories. It’s hoped that allegories could be reacquainted and make healthy andorderly progress.

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