Western and Chinese civilization 4 Essay Example

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Western and Chinese civilization 4


In the western civilization, the people who had the love of poetry had been able to note that it never created any effective impact to the citizens they way other form of literature. It was greatly ignored and found to be irrelevant in their lives. This is very different when considering the Chinese civilization that hold a lot of importance to poetry because they believed that it signified how they led their lives. The two cultures had two totally different concepts regarding the importance of poetry (Stephen 1990). The people from the west had based their literature of narration and acting whose background was based on their tradition and ancient epic. On the other hand the Chinese lyric was considered to be a compatible art that it was collectively known as ‘yen chih’ which meant it could pass the message that was in the heart and mind not only to the whole humanity but to specific people that the poets had in mind when they wrote their poems. They used very strong and rich vocabulary to pass their audience.

The Chinese lyrics are like passing messages from one person to another unlike the Word worth’s believe that men speak to other men (Stephen 1990). Some of the messages that were passed in the poems touched on the very activities or experiences that the poet thought would be necessary to pass an educative lesson to their target audience which was contrary to the western poetry. The Chinese used the poetry to get to know each other more and to show how much regard they had for poetry, it was used by the civil examination to determine if a person was qualified to hold public office. This was something that the western people considered bizarre.

The history of most of the Chinese poetry was from a collection of old classics of the shih ching and the book of songs which was a collection of several songs that had the theme of the Chinese tradition based on the Chou dynasty. The early western poetry as well as the archaic religious writing was incorporated in the Chinese songs and their main characteristic was the absence of terror despite the numerous bad occurrences in the people’s life. One similarity that was seen in both the western and the Chinese civilization was the fact that poetry was used for social participation in the world by carrying the educative function.

The Chinese art fiction originated from the caves and it was written in the vernacular then translated to the English language. The Chinese fiction was very different from the Western fiction in the sense that it was mainly rooted in the tradition of the Chinese people. By simply looking at a Chinese art fiction it was possible to see the beliefs, the values and the customs which were well brought out in the piece of art (Paul 1990). The two civilizations had very little influence on each other and this was why the comparison on their independent understanding of their political, moral and religious beliefs was clearly portrayed in their story telling forms.

In conclusion, the Chinese and the western civilization shared a few concepts of the artistic tradition and way of expressing them as well as the autonomy which as affected by the political and economic factors. The Chinese novel proved that the Chinese tradition was more superior and well recognized in both civilizations.


Stephen Owen, “Poetry in the Chinese Tradition”, in Paul S. Ropp, ed., Heritage of China:

Contemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilisation, (1990) pp. 294-308 (Chapter 12)

Paul S. Ropp, “The Distinctive Art of Chinese Fiction”, in Paul S. Ropp, (1990) ed., Heritage of

China: Contemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilisation, pp. 309-334 (Chapter 13)