The World’s Asian Treasure
People would say that buried treasure doesn’t exist anymore, but these are only the people who never bothered to look. I’m curious to know what buried treasure means to people in today’s age, and after some pondering, it can be nothing else but Literature. Literature is the treasure that amazes the minds of readers and teaches precious life lessons.
It is a treasure because its boundaries simply do not exist, and it is set apart from any treasure chest in history for this same reason. Literature, a reflection of reality, does more than just describe and reflect our daily activities and respective cultures. It enriches the intellect of the lucky reader who bothers to look for it, and every literary piece is another precious stone in his pocket.
The world’s Literature is something to truly marvel at. Nothing else in the world is quite like it because it can mystify and enlighten. This powerful tool comes in many forms with each region of the world having its own unique set. It becomes unique because every nation has its own beliefs and philosophies of life. Now I will analyze Asian literature, a personal favorite, and how it is different from its Western counterpart.
Studying different types of Literature from a variety of Asian nations, I have taken one main literary value, and it is that beauty is present in simple things. Asian literature is simple because its forms are easy to read and capture the deep, underlying significance; therefore, Asian literature is arguably one of the most accessible categories of World Literature. Its themes are simple in its appreciation of nature and a well-rounded life making it something everyone can relate to. The three lines of a calm haiku and the perfect balance of Yin and Yang best reflect these main themes. The teachings of a certain famous Asian philosopher, Confucius, also center on the achievement of a balanced way of life. Although this already makes Asian Literature unique, there are three clear characteristics that give our literary pieces identity; thereby, giving us Asians an identity as a people.
Focusing on a person or thing’s place in a grander scheme than what it was originally part of is the first characteristic Asian Literature has. Based on the haikus, sijos, and tankas taken up in class, I can say that the objects being talked about always seem to play a bigger role than their mere existence. This is depicted by the author’s detailing of how the object in the poem fits in the grand scheme of things. Whether the thing is a big cause of change or something small in the background that makes everything more beautiful, it’s role in nature is defined through the different literary devices used. This is consistent also when characters are people. Yasunari Kawabata’s “A Thousand Cranes” and Hwang Sun Won’s “Cranes” are some pieces I’ve studied that have shown the same characteristic. Every decision is placed under a spotlight and its consequences take shape quickly revealing a larger picture of the situation. To get a more relatable example, we can look at a citizen of a country. He has his own work, and family yet he and his own decisions form and shape a crucial part of the society and, on a bigger scale, the nation. In comparison to Western Literature, a Western artist would tend to examine the intricate details, not leaving any stone unturned to find out what something is while an Eastern artist would take a step back, admire the surroundings, and come up with the same thing. Asian literature also takes a step back and appreciates objects in their niche in the environment.
The second characteristic is that Asian Literature has the concept of community flowing through the very philosophies that support it. What I mean is that our Literature reflects the tight-knit community relationships Asians traditionally have. This goes hand in hand with the first characteristic because the studied characters seem to grow with the...
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