Stories from a Ming Collection

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Stories from a Ming Collection is a work which reveals clearly people's life in various levels in traditional China. How does the book portray different levels of people's life (including scholars, peasants, military men, working men and women, beggars etc.), and from their life how do you perceive Chinese society?

Our society nowadays has many traits from the Chinese society. We share many things in common from the law to the way we act as human beings. I can say that we are not far from each other in ways like the feelings we have towards others and loved ones. Greed, stupidity, dominance and cruelty are bad characteristics that age-old Chinese people expressed towards each other in some cases. They had no regard for human life as if it meant nothing; even the authorities were cruel in their own ways of punishment. I'm not saying that the Chinese people where heartless, they expressed extreme love towards their family members and grief when those have passed.

There are many examples of the book portraying different kinds of people and where they stand in society. We all know that the scholars where as some would say it, on the top of the food chain, meaning that they were the top people in society. They were looked up to as leaders and intellectuals, which was important back then. As for men who were part of the military and the authorities were also big people. They kept everything and everyone in order. I feel that they were able to do what they wanted and had the last say in anything. Under interrogation of a suspect, if they felt that the questions being answered did not satisfy their needs for answers, the suspect would be beaten repeatedly. This was usually done to get out the truth or a confession, which was usually forced by all this beating. Sometimes if the person was innocent, the one interrogated would even give a false confession and give in so that the beating would stop.

I feel that the military men had the greatest say over people because they felt as if they were above everybody, they also had the right to feel that because they had to keep the people and their area in order. Peasants and merchants on the other hand were almost at the bottom. They were people who did a lot of business with each other but, as people weren't much. As unprofessionals they usually lived in small places and middle class areas with a similar kind of people are. Like today you would see the same thing where blue-collar workers live in the same neighborhoods and associate with their same kind of people.

Clearly it is obvious that everybody is not on the same level as the other in this book. Even in today's society there are class differences. There has never been a total sense of equality and respect for others, even family members. In the story the canary murders, Cooper kills Shen Hsiu in a brutal way by chopping of his head so he cannot be identified and that he would not get caught stealing the canary bird. That shows a sign of disrespect and cruelty towards human beings. Also another example of this is when the two sons big Poa and little Poa kill their father Old Dog Huang. They were an extremely poor family who didn't even have enough clothes to wear. The father Old Dog said to his tow sons that she should kill him so that they can claim the reward money and have a better life than the one they are experiencing now. The sons kill their father and claim the reward money saying that it was the head of Shen Hsiu. First to lie like that saying that they found the head of their son and making them feel better is just cruel, then to take their money is wrong. But what they did to their father even though it was his idea for them to kill him so he can have his sons have a better life is one of the worst things that could be done to anybody. Killing your own father for money is something that is unbelievable but not unheard of. Unfortunately stories like this are heard of today in...
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