River Valley Records Instructions: As you read about River Valleys this week, consider the following pieces of historical evidence. I have included stories, poems, pictures, and proverbs that reflect the civilizations we have been studying. After each example, I have written a series of questions for you to consider. Write at least 150 words for each example. When you are thinking about what to write, you might look at specific phrases or particular pictures. Does the mention of crime remind you of modern-day news anchors? What about the comments about the importance of learning? Is it interesting that they might use one very strong word, like “choke” or “struggle”? If you want any help, feel free to talk it over with me or in the Cybercafé. China: We can see evidence of cultural markers in one of the earliest Chinese writings to survive. The Book of Songs celebrates Zhou culture by writing about the exploits of heroic leaders following the Mandate of Heaven. And yet, life was not always perfect. Read the following complaint about life under the Zhou Dynasty and consider the questions below it. Heaven sends down its net of crime Devouring insects confuse men’s minds, Ignorant, oppressive, negligent, Breeders of confusion , utterly perverse These are the men [politicians] employed to tranquilize our country Insolent and slanderous The king does not know a flaw in them. We, careful and feeling in peril, For long in unrest, Are constantly subjected to degradation. As in a year of drought, The grass not growing readily As water plants attached to a tree; So do I see in this country, All going to confusion. The wealth of former days Was not like our present condition. The distress of the present Did not previously reach this degree. Those are like coarse rice, these are like fine Why do you not retire of yourselves, But prolong my anxious sorrow? (Source: “Song 265” http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/chinese/shijing/AnoShih.html)Questions: What elements of ancient Chinese culture do you detect? Do you recognize comments that people say about modern US society? Write at least 150 words considering what this essay tells us about Ancient Chinese culture and the concerns of the author, or indeed, of authors throughout time.
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