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Imperial Woman Essay

In 1852, a Manchurian girl, Orchid, clan name Yehonala, was summoned to beviewed by the Emperor of China.

On the twentieth day of the sixth moon, the lastEmpress of China was chosen. By right, her cousin, Sakota, was the Emperor’sconsort, but she gave birth to a girl. Yehonala gave birth to a boy and becamethe Empress, Tzu Hsi. Once the Son of Heaven dies, Tzu Hsi and the consort, TzuAn, became the Empress Mother and Regent. Since Tzu Hsi was the stronger of thetwo, it seemed as if she was the only Empress.

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Her son grew up to be the Emperorof China. All his decisions were still made by his mother, but he died young. Tzu Hsi had to find the next heir before any trouble started. She took hersister and the sixth prince’s son to be raised as the next Emperor.

Once theHeir grew up, Tzu Hsi retired to the Summer Palace. Again, she was called backto be the ruler of China since her nephew had made foolish decision. The peopleof China called her Old Buddha. According the novel, Yehonala was a beautifulwoman with a fierce heart. Since she was a virgin, she was called to be viewedby the Dowager Mother and the Son of Heaven. She could not disobey the command.

Yehonala wanted to marry her third cousin, Jung Lu, but the Emperor of Chinachose her to be one of his concubines. His mother opposed this decision becauseshe noticed Yehonala had a strong spirit. Concubines were not meant to haveambitions, they were meant to be pretty and serve the Emperor in any way. Yehonala’s cousin, Sakota was chosen to the Consort. Earlier, an older Sakotawas Emperor’s chosen one, but she had died. By tradition, the Emperor mustfulfill his duties to the dead Consort by choosing Sakota to be his new Consort.

Once Sakota conceived, the Emperor’s duties were done and he turned toYehonala. The Emperor did not leave his bedchamber for three days. According tothe records, no concubine or consort had stayed with the Emperor Hsien Feng forsuch a long time. Yehonala became pregnant, but she did not say anything. IfSakota bore a son, then Yehonala would be useless. However, if Yehonala bore ason and Sakota bore a girl, then Yehonala would have the title of the youngDowager Mother.

As it turns out, Sakota did give birth to a weak girl. Yehonalastarted to educate herself so she would be a proper ruler. The Dowager Motherhad died at the announcement of the girl infant and the pregnancy of Yehonala. On third moon of the spring year, Yehonala gave birth to a son.

According totradition, Sakota had a duty to protect the Heir like her own child. Because ofher status, Yehonala manipulated the Emperor to allow her to have an equalposition as Sakota. Her name was changed to Tzu Hsi. Before her life was simple,now she has to defend her life and her son’s life from the younger brothers ofthe Emperor. Prince Cheng, Prince Yi, and the Grand Councilor plotted to killTzu Hsi and the Heir while the son of Heaven was dying. Tzu Hsi very cunninglypersuaded the dying monarch to declare the child the heir and the two Empressesas Regents.

As a supreme ruler and more dominant than Sakota, Tzu Hsi orderedthe Three Traitors to die. The Grand Councilor Su Shun was sliced into onethousand pieces and his whole family was killed. Prince Yi and Prince Kung wereordered to hang themselves in order to save face, or die with dignaty. Otherthan protect herself from power greedy politicians, the Chinese distrustedfemale rulers, specially the females from Manchu race, so there were many rebelsready to overthrow the dynasty. Foreigners were trying to take over businessesand convert China to a more Western lifestyle.

All of this was her burden totake of and she was only twenty-six years old. As her son grew up, there wassome speculation about the little emperor’s paternity. Tzu Hsi had made JungLu the new Grand Councilor and there was talk about who was the real father. Once the little Emperor was in his teens, he became the Emperor of China, butTzu Hsi still had power behind the throne. The Dowager Mother did not wantforeigners taking over her country, so she forbade any sort of foreign object inher court.

She believed the people were trying to ruin China without her”sister’s,” Queen Victoria, knowledge. China was divided into two halves. One half believed in the old customs, while the other wanted to become more likethe mysterious Western world. Tzu Hsi believed in the old traditions. Sheexpected her son’s first duty was to his mother. However, when it came tochoose the Emperor’s consort, the Emperor would not listen to his mother andmarried Alute, a daughter of Duke Chung Li.

Alute had the same ambitions as TzuHsi had when she was chosen. The Empress Mother was scared of Alute replacingher. Tzu Hsi allowed a concubine, Jasmine to be near the Emperor while Alute wasgone. Jasmine was a perfect foil to Alute in body.

Because of the competitionbetween Alute and Jasmine, Tzu Hsi still had power over her son. For someunknown reason, the Emperor fell ill and died. Jasmine was sent to the palace ofForgotten Concubines and Alute, out of duty, swallowed opium. In order to savethe throne, Tzu Hsi went to the son of her sister, the wife of the PrinceCh’un. She claimed him as the new Emperor. As the new Emperor grew, he becamecurious about the “white men”.

Once the Empress left her title and retired,many attempts were made on her life. The way Tzu Hsi lived was very extravagantand money was taken out from the military. Tzu Hsi did not think of herself as aburden. As an Elder, she believed she had the right to be respected. The Emperordid not believe in the old traditions.

He did something that shocked Tzu Hsiback into the throne. He slept with his concubine, Pearl, but his wife stayed avirgin. The Emperor was still the Emperor, but he was like a puppet. His stringswere being pulled but Tzu Hsi.

The last Empress lived so long, the people beganto call her Benevolent Mother, Ancient One, and Old Buddha. The Imperial Womanshows a side of the last Empress that the western world could not believe. Inmany novels, Tzu Hsi was noted as a cruel tigress, but because of herstubbornness to the old traditions and burdens, she tried to make China for herson. Once her son died, she did not care how China was, but to fulfill a duty tofind a new Emperor and train him.

Yehonala did not care for her nephew, but itwas her duty to train him. There are many history mistakes in Imperial Woman. For example, Yehonala and Sakota were never cousins. As property of the Emperor,it would have been impossible for Yehonala to have bore a child of another man. Even the Emeperor’s concubines, who were nothing but chattels, were heavliyguarded. It would not be proper for two women to have the same lord.

However,Imperial Woman is high recommend to learn more about the last empress of China.

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Imperial Woman Essay
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In 1852, a Manchurian girl, Orchid, clan name Yehonala, was summoned to beviewed by the Emperor of China. On the twentieth day of the sixth moon, the lastEmpress of China was chosen. By right, her cousin, Sakota, was the Emperor'sconsort, but she gave birth to a girl. Yehonala gave birth to a boy and becamethe Empress, Tzu Hsi. Once the Son of Heaven dies, Tzu Hsi and the consort, TzuAn, became the Empress Mother and Regent. Since Tzu Hsi was the stronger of thetwo, it seemed as if
2021-07-13 02:46:42
Imperial Woman Essay
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