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The Tale of Kieu

The Tale of Kieu research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

The Tale of Kieu is a long, narrative poem about love, karma, duty, and redemption. The story itself was written by the Vietnamese Nguyen Du (176601820), who may have gotten the story from an earlier Ming novel from the sixteenth century. A story that survives centuries in the minds and hearts of a culture must therefore touch people in important ways. Kieu is a woman, daughter, sister, friend, love and wife; every woman can find something in Kieu to relate to. Because it is also about love, soul mates, honor, sex and nearly every man can relate to the story. Yet, it’s not just a story of love unrequited and then reunited. Kieu is every person who has to endure what fate has to offer. Now, no one is meant to believe that all the events in this story actually happened to one person; rather, Kieu’s life represents the gamut of experiences people can have and provides some understanding about why some lives are filled with grief and others not. Kieu loves a man, she is dutiful to her father, and gives herself and her honor up to save her family. She is used and abused by tyrants, yet keeps her dutiful nature.

The Tale of Kieu

Kieu foresaw her own doom when she uttered, “How sorrowful is woman’s lot! She cried./How sternly fate will deal with all of us!” and on the same page, “Since the universe began/when have fair women known a happy fate?”. Nevertheless, it diminishes the poem if this is interpreted to mean that only beautiful women have problems and that problems are foreordained with no chance for free will. The meaning is more far-reaching than that. Kieu’s karma is working itself out in her lifetime, a fact that she acknowledges. As a teaching poem, Kieu’s story informs the readers that when there is karma to unravel, life will take twists and turns and many painful things may happen. What is important is to acknowledge that karma is at work, and accept one’s lot in life, and try to do good.

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