The first time I read the poem, the first thing that went through my mind was Zhou Yu was courting or asking a girl for her hand in marriage. Since Zhou Yu served as the state’s general and military strategist, it only seemed fair that he was to be wed with a girl whom has royal blood. After reading a few history books in the De La Salle Library, I take back my previous impressions on the poem.
After reading a book about early Chinese history, it gave me a whole new perspective of this poem. During those times, China was in a civil war. There were three states that tried to break free from the government and succeeded. Later on, they established 3 separate states: Wei, Shu Han and Wu. Among these three, Zhou Yu was the general and strategist of the Wu or South China. The battle of Red Cliffs happened during the winter time of the year AD 208. This explains the “window of snow” in Li Tuan’s poem. The reason why the woman was touching a wrong note occasionally was because the setting of the poem was during the Battle of Red Cliff, which made her very anxious as to the huge possibility that this would be the last time they could ever be together. The tone symbolizes the feeling of the girl; a bit nerve-wracking. Zhou Yu is about to be sent to the battlegrounds and his wife would be left helpless at home.
Having just read a couple of books, I have completely changed my position on the main story of the poem. At first, my interpretations might vary from the different opinions of my colleagues in this class. However, At this point, I guess that we all have enough data to conclude the same (or almost) story from which this poem originated from.