What is a good example of resourcefulness in A River Sutra?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I wonder whether we can look at the way in which so many of the characters willingly embrace suffering and/or suicide in this collection of stories as an example of resourcefulness. Hear me out on this one before you think I am crazy! In a sense, we need to remember that part of this tale is the way in which the stories are received by the listener, who is uncomprehending in the face of the suffering that the various characters face from his Western view point.

However, part of the point of this collection of stories is that in the belief system of those involved, death and suffering is not thought of in the same way. Often, suicide is something that can be used to demonstrate the resourcefulness of the individuals involved as they literally feel they have no other option or no other way of living their lives rather than ending it. If we consider the teacher who kills himself after the boy who he has adopted has been killed, this is certainly the case. In the same way, the daughter's courtesan, facing a life of being forced into prostitution having lost her husband, is resourceful in her manner of escaping such a fate as she throws herself off a cliff. Both characters show immense bravery and resourcefulness in facing the realities of their lives and finding an escape.


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