Sample Essay

Shin Fu’s autobiography ‘Six Records of a Floating Life’ tells the story of Fu and his beloved wife Ch’in Yuan in a vivid and classical manner that is unprecedented in the history of Chinese Literature. The romantic relationship between Shin Fu and Yuan stands in contrast to the concept of marital life according to Confucian ideology. Autobiography, romance and social document are allied in the story of Fu. The author pens down six phases of his life including his love story, career with vivid and occasional glimpse in the society of China.

Shin Fu and Yuan make a perfect match as both are artistic and meditating, a trait that is not found in the society around them.

The story of Shin Fu’s companionship with his wife interests the readers more than any thing else. Fu adored her to an extent that her departure from the world was a serious blow to him. He describes his wife with great love. Shin Fu’s tale of his love with his wife shatters the stereotypical image of educated class of Qing China. His account of an early marriage of two different and artistic-minded people transcends the boundaries of land and literature therefore people around the world have praised the chronicle. The first chapter of the book ‘The joys of the wedding chamber’ that tells the story of love between Shin Fu and Yuan becomes odd when Yuan tries to find a concubine for her husband. The second chapter ‘The pleasures of leisure’ that includes philosophy and pleasure behind Chinese art and architecture is as vividly written as the account of personal story of the author and his wife (Shen).

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