Take-home Exam #1
Please answer any one of the following questions in approximately 4 pages (double-spaced, 12-pt font):
1. Princess Hyegyong’s Memoirs of 1801/1802/1805 (Hanjongnok 恨中錄) as well as Shen Fu’s Six Records of a Floating Life (浮生六記) both focus heavily on the injustices and humiliations faced by a daughter-in-law when her husband fails to conform to the expectations of his parents or other elders. Do you believe both of these two authors were critical of the hierarchical structures in family and society that made these women so vulnerable? Why, or why not?
2. Discuss the broad similarity of themes between Saikaku’s The Life of a Sensuous Woman (1686) and Tanizaki’s Naomi (1925), in terms of how they treat relations between men and women, female promiscuity, or the attempts by women to establish economic and social independence outside of a traditional family. Moreover, is it possible to read Tanizaki’s work as an updated, modern version of Saikaku’s? Why, or why not?