In recent years, marriage has become not only a relationship with one man and one woman, but in America same sex couples and men who have multiples wives are able to wed as well. Indian and Japanese men and women are able to wed through an arrangement of both families. In ancient China, Chinese couples also had arranged marriages, but in modern times the tradition has faded.
Although the way people get married is different a woman’s role in the marriage is similar culture to culture throughout ancient India, China, and Japan, divorce is a common practice in American now, but thousands of years ago there were still laws and criticisms among couples in Indian and Chinese Civilizations preventing such action, and life after a death of a husband was nonexistent to women in Chinese Civilizations. A woman’s role in marriage does not only include: cooking, cleaning, bearing children, but also respecting their husbands.
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Respect can mean many different things and can be show in many different ways. The Laws of Manu, Manu being a sole survivor of a flood, are not legal, but more of an Indian culture for dummies type of book. People read and learn from the law instead of abiding by them. Not only does the Law of Manu say, “Let the husband employ his wife…in keeping everything clean…” (38), but also “if a wife obeys her husband, she will for that reason alone be exalted in heaven. “(38) Indian women must still do the house work, but also they must obey their husbands and in return heaven awaits them.
If obedience is not accomplished women according to Law of Manu will be “tormented by diseases as punishment for her sin” (38). A woman, Ban Zhao, wrote an advice manual for Chinese women called Lessons for Women. Zhao writes about husbands and wives and describes their relationship together like Yin and Yang. The couple is opposite forces bound together and creates each other. Not only does a woman have to serve her husband, but a husband must control his wife as well.
If one side of the puzzle doesn’t work then the Lessons for Women states, “the natural order of things are neglected and destroyed. ” (85) Because both sides have to work in the marriage it is based on both people working together. This Chinese philosophy has been used until the twenty century. The Japanese also had a female writer, Murasaki Shikibu, who wrote the narrative book The Tale of Genji. It describes how to pick a wife and the role of women in marriage. Shikibu describes the relationship between an and woman, husband and wife, “The bond between husband and wife is a strong one. ” (167) “When there are crises, incidents, a woman should try to over look them for better or for worse, and make the bond into something durable. “(167) Shikibu explains forgiving and forgetting the simple actions women should perform as a part of their daily roles in a marriage. Not all marriages work out one person is unfaithful or simply the two just don’t get along. In America it is simple legal procedure, but in ancient Indian Society couples tried to abide by the Laws of Manu.
The law states the man must be with his wife for a year, but after that year the man has the ability to take away what she has and live apart from her. In Indian society at the time this type of behavior would be acceptable. In modern China women are able to divorce their husbands and its becoming more common. The Chinese culture has a poem written about a divorced woman who returns back home. The poem from the Book of Song states, “It was not I who was at fault…” (43) The woman is very angry and hurt; she is filled with emotions.
Her family disowner her and she places blame on the man who broke her heart. The Chinese culture accepts the idea of divorce less than the Indian cultures. The death of loved one is hard enough, but the death of a spouse is much more intense. In Chinese cultures the woman would commit suicide when her husband died. The women committed the act of suicide in order to demonstrate personal virtue. The works are presented in Widows Loyal unto Death, show the main way of killing one self after a husband’s death was by hanging.
Most of the women in the stories were young girls and the time of marriage was usually very short. The girl, Sun Yinxiao was seventeen and her marriage lasted less than a year. She, “…bound a wide girdle round the beam to hang herself. “(180) Huang Yujue was only fifteen and was only engaged to Chen Rujing when she took a knife to the throat. The amount of bravery shown by the Chinese women to kill themselves to have personal virtue is still questionable to the Chinese people. Marriage, divorce and death is shown and presented in different way in different cultures.
Indian civilizations have the Laws of Manu to explain what roles women should perform and how divorces should be performed. Chinese cultures who have the Yin and Yang as a part of marriages not specific duties. Because of the bond, the ancient Chinese wives committed suicide after the death of their husbands. The Japanese are simple in what a woman’s role should be, simply loving and forgiving her husband after mistakes. Although different cultures have different ideas of marriage most husbands and wives still work hard to make it strong, healthy, and happy.