Themes In Mao Zedong’s Poetry: Politics And War (Research Paper Sample)
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Themes in Mao Zedong’s Poetry
Even though Mao Zedong (1893-1976) is mainly renowned for having led the country for about three decades, he also wrote a large number of poems during his adult life. The poems of Mao are written in the traditional Chinese verse style. His poems are of high literature quality and are well written, although he might not be one of China’s best poets. Just like most intellectuals in the country at the time, Zedong was able to receive rigorous education in Classical Chinese literature hence his poetry skills are not surprising. Mao Zedong’s poetry style was influenced very much by Li He and Li Bai, who are great Tang Dynasty poets. Mao is regarded as a romantic poet (Raskin, 2014). This research paper looks into the main theme in the poems of Mao Zedong. The paper argues that although the poems of Mao Zedong mainly had political and military meanings, others depicted the struggles of the ordinary Chinese people against the imperialist oppressors.
The Chinese Communist leader was amongst the most creative writers on military strategy and political theory in the 20th century. Mao Zedong, throughout his adult life, managed to write a substantial amount of poems. He wrote over 20 poems. Some of Mao’s most popular poems include the following: Militia Women which was written in 1962: Inscription on a Photograph written in 1961; Ode to the Plum Blossom written in 1961; The Gods written in 1957; Reply to Li Shuyi written in 1957; and The PLA Captures Nanjing written in 1949. Others are Snow written in 1936; Mount Liupan written in 1935; The Long March written in 1935; Loushan Pass written in 1935; March from Tingzhou to Changsha written in 1930; Jinggang Mountain written in 1928; The Double Ninth written in 1929; The Warlords Clash written in 1929; and Changsha written in 1925. It is generally believed that Mao’s best poems are those written before 1949 (Payne, 2017).
Most of Zedong’s poems have political and military meanings. Mildred Jeremy Ingalls is an illustrious scholar who translated and provided commentaries on 20 of the Zedong’s earliest poems. The translations and commentaries were accompanied by various propositions regarding Zedong’s poetry. According to Ingalls (2013), Zedong imbued his poetry with complex military and political ideas. It is worth mentioning that these ideas come together to provide a driving military and political theme: the callous pursuit of psychological dominance to attain supremacy over the opponents and foes. Ingalls (2013) stated that this theme could only be appreciated when all of Mao Zedong’s poems are studied in a sequential manner. In Zedong’s poems, Marxist-Leninism did not act as a doctrinal centrepiece but rather as a political convenience. According to Mao Zedong himself, it is only a small group of readers who could truly understand the full meaning of his poetry; that is, individuals who had sophisticated comprehension of Chinese culture, language, and history. This is primarily because Mao Zedong wished his poetry to become a guide of master strategy for successive adepts (Raskin, 2014).
By pointing out that the poetry of Zedong had sophisticated political and military meanings in them, Ingalls (2013) challenges the prior statements of Mao-supervised translators and publicists that the poems of Zedong were mainly trivial in content and did not have a central design. Mildred Jeremy Ingalls gives reason for her disagreement by stating that the richness of the content and style in Zedong’s verses indicate, by themselves, a desire of articulating these messages. She extensively explains the underlying principle behind Zedong’s wordings in the poem, and connects them with significant po...
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