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This essay will explore how Classical Chinese literature written during the Ming Dynasty illustrates the social role that women played in the traditional Chinese marriage. Issues and traditions that greatly affected women`s roles in the family and society included lineage, male dominance, families position in society, grounds and repercussions for divorce. In the vernacular short story ``The Shrew: Sharp Tongued Ts`ui-lien``, anonymous is a story in the collection Vernacular Short Stories from the Clear and Peaceful Studio (Qingping shantung heaven) which was writing during the Ming dynasty, the main character Ts`uilien, exemplifies a woman in this time period, subject to its rules and societal norms, who rebels against tradition and is forced to deal with the repercussions of doing so. The other hua pen and vernacular short stories that deal with women and marriage during the Imperial time period and were studied in this course are: ``The Tragedy of Pu Fei-Yen``, ``The Oil Peddler Courts the Courtesan``, ``The Jest that Leads to Disaster``. The main character of ``The Shrew: Sharp Tongued Ts`uilien`` exemplified the atypical version of a young female during the Ming dynasty. Her behaviour conflicted with the norms of society in that time period, which will be examined and analysed in this essay.

During the Ming Dynasty, lineage played a large role in marriage. People aimed at marrying others of `equal family background, and “intermarriage between seventeen of the most influential clans.” (Yao 215) People did not get married for love, but rather for the sense of obligation to their family. Great emphasis was placed upon marrying others of equal social, economic and political status. A primary purpose of marriage was to form alli...

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...desire to be like the other young women of the Imperial time period. This is exemplified by her wish to be married. She made a point not to gossip about others. This indicates that her whole situation may have been a result of a simple misinterpretation of the rules.

This essay explored the role of woman in the traditional Chinese marriage and family by examining how women were illustrated in literature written during the imperial dynasty. ``The Shrew: Sharp Tongued Ts`uilien``, anonymous, in the collection Vernacular Short Stories from the Clear and Peaceful Studio (Qingping shantung huaben), written during the Ming Dynasty was explored. The issues of lineage, male dominance in marriage, families position in society, grounds for divorce were examined and compared to the case of Ts`uilien in the vernacular short story: ``The Shrew: Sharp Tongued Ts`uilien.``
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