Name: Zhihao J.
Class: HIST 119
Primary Source Analysis on The Salt Merchant’s Wife
1.) Bo Ju-Yi is one of the many famous poets in the Tang dynasty. He presents his poems in a variety of style. More specifically, he mostly addresses social and political issues that are unjust to ordinary people. In this particular poem, he addresses the issue of merchants gaining too much profits that the government can’t obtain enough taxes revenue.
2.) This poem expresses excessive richness of a merchant through a third person’s perspective --- his wife. By doing so, the merchant’s wealth is more emphasized here because not only can he live a luxury life but his wife also ...view middle of the document...
3b.) I personally believe that the audiences are from the author’s class. Recall the social classes that are ranked according to the amount of production, It seems like throughout the entire poem the author is criticizing the fact that a merchant can gain so much wealth without having to produce something while the scholar officials that are well educated and behaving in their role earn so much less profit. Both the intended audiences and the author desire to change this unjust social problem.
4a.) Multiple values are being expressed in the poem. Nevertheless, the ideas of “Material wealth” and “Loss of moral values” are being stressed the most by the Bo Ju-Yi. All of these values majorly reflect the more commercialized Tang dynasty where people are more likely to prioritize materialism over moral values. However, the author would definitely disagree with all these values as he is a confusianist who believes that people should behave in their roles in order to create a stable society. Thus, he writes this poem to criticize these values and arouse people’s desire to change them. 4b.) Recall the merchant’s wife is originally from a humble family where she practices her virtues and behaves in her role. However she loses all of her moral values once she gets married to the wealth merchant as the author critiques “On one side she shouts to her servants, on the other, yells at her maids.” Both “shouts” and “yells” link into the idea of loss of moral values. According to Confucianism, she is supposed to have a friendly relationship with her servants and maids instead of yelling at them and bossing them around. Her moral values are totally lost in the surrounding of excessive wealth because she does not practice the proper relationships with people that work for her anymore and therefore thinks that she can use her wealth to control those people that work for her. Similarly, both “servants” and “maids” reflect her social status due to her excessive wealth and thus link into the idea of material wealth. Those two words show that all the social classes are classified by material wealth that she gets to have both servants and maids because of her wealth.
5a.) This poem...