Cause and effect essay: Hopelessness by Li Ch段ng Chao


Course: English Composition





Li Ch段ng Chao, a well-known Chinese poet, is a female representative of antique literature in the tenth century. Her poems, Hopelessness for example, show the voice of a sensitive woman, the sorrow and grief of the wartime and her lifetime. 滴opelessness is a good poem and one of the most symbolic poems that express her style, her characteristics in writings.


So as to understand the poem clearly, some details and features about her life are necessary. She was born and grew up in the wartime, in a family of well-known scholars and administrators. The social and political upheaval forced her to become a refugee. Her family followed the Sung court when nomadic people force to flee south from its capital on the north of China plain. She understood the root of the Sung regime痴 corruptness and military weakness. As a very experienced person like that, she wrote many works with many topics, which range from the political upheavals of China during the early years of Sung dynasty to her personal feelings.


The poem begins with the scene that a woman was watching herself in the mirror:


When I look in the mirror


My face frightens me


How horrible I have become!


When Spring comes back


Like a fatal sickness.


It痴 very normal that a woman makes up her face in front of a mirror. For a long time, the mirror has been considered the symbol of female beauty and beautification. Plus, in the old society, the mirror was also the property of the rich, who have their own mirrors were considered snobbish. And here, it is really strange that the mirror has become a screen to display the ugliness and old age of a woman, to frighten the woman herself. The horror and weakness came so fast and so surprisingly that it even caused a shock to her or just because she was filled with such fears that kept her away from the horrible reality: she had been old and weak. The spring is considered the season of love, of faith and sap of youth, and of new lives but for her, the spring is not something new, it痴 just come back from a sorrowful past, bringing her the weakness and tiredness of days and months. She was almost exhausted and bended down because of the exhaustion. Old age, tiredness, horror and ugliness all of those things brought her the hopelessness of being worn out day after day.


In the second stanza, the weakness really overcame her, making her lazy and sluggish. What else would be more interesting and exciting but the scent of the new flowers, what else would be more important and necessary but making up her face, however, she was extremely slothful or may be exhausted to do anything:


I am too slothful


To smell the new flowers


Or to powder my own face,


Everything exasperates me.