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A Research on Female Subject in Tang Poetry
poems with a female theme
Gender studies have been upcoming in the last few decades within Taiwanese academic circles. This field specifically focuses on the female role as a ‘subject’, rather than an object from a male perspective. They examine to what extent women are able to take lives into their own hands within Lacan’s so-called ‘symbolic order’ of patriarchical society. This is done by analyzing whether women are self-conscious or not of their own behavior and personal emotions. This thesis is written in line with this kind of research, and therefore belongs in the field of gender studies. First of all, this thesis inquires into the question whether Tang Dynasty women are subjects or not (as opposed to objects of males), and looks into the practices of the two sexes and how they profile themselves. It uses Lacan’s Gaze theory and discusses how vision initiates either an active or passive position/role. In doing so, it proofs that Tang women are on one hand under the control of masculine power, but on the other hand know how to dress up in order to draw male attention. Secondly, the thesis uses ‘the poem of Zhang Haohao’, ‘a set of five poems for Liu Zhi’, ‘Qin Fu’s poem’, all written by male poets who use three specific women as the subjects of their poems. The first two observe the way female subjectivity is expressed within male-female interaction, and the way women freely choose their love. Weizhuang’s poem describes Qin Fu’s experiences, from the way the war started, how she escaped from it, and what happened to her during the escape, and how in this process female subjectivity becomes apparent. The final chapter is divided into two parts. The first part uses the writings of female authors as its core. It focuses on discussing how royal women bring about the atmosphere of creating poems. Not only an atmosphere in which they themselves could compose poems, but also an atmosphere that created a certain platform for high ministers in the court on which these male characters could display their literary talent. Thus, by urging men to do things because of them, the royal women found a way to break free from male domination. The second part analyzes the abundant works of three female poets; Yu Xuanji, Xue Tao, and Li Ye. It points out the main points of concern of the female authors at that time by analyzing the content of their works. In this way, the development of the female subject is presented.
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