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The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan: Book Review Essay (Book Review)

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“The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan” is the earliest known Chinese work of literature that outlines instructions about family. The instructions were authored by Yan Zhitui during the Northern and Southern Dynasties. The author of “The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan” reiterates on the need for perfect family life probably because he was a person of noble birth. According to the author, it is important to educate children. Zhitui’s instructions are both historically and culturally significant. This paper explores Zhitui’s family instructions and outlines their significance.

“The Family Instructions” are divided into twenty chapters that target consequent generations of readers. The author sought to pass down the wisdom he believed would revitalize family life. Some of the subjects that are covered by the instructions include personality nurturing, learning, self-cultivation, and family management. For instance, section five of Zhitui’s readings contains a passage that says, “When the whip and indignation are dispensed with inside the home, then the faults of the youngsters immediately appear” (Dien 500). This section teaches people about the need to discipline young ones a value that is still upheld in modern society.

Even though most of what the book teaches is borrowed from other teachers and philosophers, the book still contains original thoughts and claims by the author. The book introduces new aspects of Chinese scholarship by forwarding some unique views about ideology, culture, morality, ethics, and customs. Some of these original views later acted as building blocks of the Chinese family unit. For instance, Zhitui was the first scholar to forward the argument that education of children starts with antenatal training. In addition, Mr. Zhitui suggested new and better ways of educating scholar-officials.

Works Cited

Dien, Albert. “The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan”. Custom and Society, Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 2014. 494-510. Print.

Essay 2

“The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan” is an ancient Chinese book that talks about early family life. The author of “The Family Instructions” is Yan Zhitui a Chinese scholar who lived between 531 and 591 AD. The author of the book divided it into twenty sections that covered specific topics about family life. Zhitui’s book is a valuable asset of Chinese philosophy that outlines how the Northern and Southern Dynasties handled family life in historical China. This paper is a response to Yan Zhitui’s “The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan”.

The main significance of Zhitui’s book is that it acts as a source of wisdom for various Chinese dynasties. The author uses this book to analyze various aspects of family life including personality nurturing, learning, self-cultivation, and family management. The book also contains valuable wisdom concerning scholars and parents. However, most scholars argue that Zhitui’s book originally targeted the elite. One scholar notes that Zhitui’s book was “designed to pass information that would enable his descendants to maintain a similar status in their own times” (Dien 495).

“The Family Instructions” is one of the most significant works on ancient Chinese culture. The book has provided countless generations with a rich source of literature concerning ‘family ethics and moral cultivation’. Another significant aspect of this book is that it draws parallels between the cultural practices of the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Consequently, scholars are able to consider the variations of the two dynasties in respect to their customs, art choices, modes of learning, and prevailing customs. To date, “The Family Instructions” is one of the most prolific research pieces on the Northern and Southern Dynasties. It is also important to note that Zhitui’s work was published during volatile political periods but the author was able to navigate through this problem without degrading the value of the book (Dien 496).

Works Cited

Dien, Albert. “The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan”. Custom and Society, Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 2014. 494-510. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2021, March 28). The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan: Book Review. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-family-instructions-of-mr-yan-book-review/

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"The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan: Book Review." IvyPanda, 28 Mar. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-family-instructions-of-mr-yan-book-review/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan: Book Review." March 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-family-instructions-of-mr-yan-book-review/.


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IvyPanda. "The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan: Book Review." March 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-family-instructions-of-mr-yan-book-review/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan: Book Review." March 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-family-instructions-of-mr-yan-book-review/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Family Instructions of Mr. Yan: Book Review'. 28 March.

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