Essay on The Peach Blossom Spring by Tao Yuanming - An Illusory Utopia

Essay on The Peach Blossom Spring by Tao Yuanming - An Illusory Utopia

The Peach Blossom Spring describes the ideal society of the author, Tao Yuanming, which is peaceful, equilibrium and far away from the real society. It reflects the view point of some people at that time. However, this society in The Peach Blossom Spring is unfounded and fabricated illusion that stands for the passive life attitude. It will negatively affect people and the society. From the background, the author, the real positive society and the current trend of the times, the society in “The Peach Blossom Spring” will be eliminated.

“The Peach Blossom Spring” was completed in the year 421 when there was a huge turbulence in China. People were living under the pressure of frequently war and high tax rates. Living in a peaceful society was significantly difficult to people at that time. The author pointed this out in the passage. “The fisherman, marveling, passed on to discover where the grove would end. It ended at a spring; and then there came a hill. In the side of the hill was a small opening which seemed to promise a gleam of light” (Tao). The fisherman struggled through grove, spring and hills to get the destination.

His destination, the peach blossom spring was an absolutely confined and obstructed secret place. They had been cut off from the outside of the world and had never heard of the Han (Tao). Such an insolated place could not adapt to the transition and progress of era. People will never possess the real happiness and civilization since they do not know at all what those should be in the real world.

The fisherman found that the life style there was back to the ancient ideology. The productive method was primitive and communist pattern. Although the author embellished the peach blossom spring, it was still the peasant economy in feudal society. In the passage, there said that “people were coming and goinh and working in the fields” (Tao). In feudal society, the contradiction between the land lord and peasants is universality. And Tao Yuanming avoided the universality of contradiction which made the peach blossom spring even more vague and insubstantial.

Tao Yuanming did not get appreciated from the emperor and he felt disappointed and frustrated in his official career. So he decided to go back to home and live in seclusion. The failure could not represent one has the reason to escape from the reality. The other famous literati, Ouyang Xiu in Song dynasty, faced the same situation like Tao Yuanming. Ouyang Xiu was exiled as well. But he took his greatest efforts to improve the agricultural policy and the tax system. After a few years, the region became a wealthy town and people lived and worked in peace and contentment.

As opposite to it, Tao Yuanming lived in his fake Utopia and did not want to face to the outside world. Imagine this, if everyone who suffered failure from his or her career hides in their own peach blossom spring, what the society will be? How could the society progress without the real efforts from people? People are social animals and without contact between outside world, people will be eliminated from the rapid pace of the changing world. Tao’s passive and pessimistic attitude toward life will negatively affect people. They will be slacking off the work. It proves the demoralized aspect of The Peach Blossom Spring.

People could choose to live on their minds. Cowardice people choose to hide themselves, whereas brave people choose to face the failure and change it. It is obvious that the peach blossom spring is leading people to the passive way of life.

The passage mentioned that “the fisherman left his boat and entered the opening” (Tao). The fisherman left his boat outside The Peach Blossom Spring which means people give up their household tools from real life. This behavior does not adjust to the reality at all. Abandon the house living tool and pursue the shadowy Peach Blossom Spring will lead people to a passive way to treat the real life. Although the fisherman was treated well by people in the peach blossom spring, it was not a permanent way to make a living. He would still need to find his boat and go back to his life.

The Peach Blossom Spring started a new literature mode. It is like the combination of novel, prose, travel notes and fable. But it is still a fictitious story that stating the dream of the author.

From the background of the story at that time, the negative personality of the author, the current trend of the real society, we could obtain the view point obviously that The Peach Blossom Spring is advocating a passive attitude towards the world. The illusory Utopia will never be found in the real world.

Reference
The Peach Blossom Spring. Tao Yuanming. 421. Print.