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jocelyn

Jocelyn (The Reading World)

I love to read and can get very attached to my opinions, but recently I've been learning not to completely lose my head when people disagree with me, so feel safe to argue with me whenever you wish ;) 

 

Page 1000: The war scenes in this book can be epic and exciting. Or they can be just mildly amusing.

Three Kingdoms (Chinese Classics, 4 Volumes) - Luo Guanzhong, Moss Roberts

So, this is probably the most original battle cry I've ever come across.

"If I catch you alive, I'll chew your flesh!"

 

Man, did they really threaten cannibalism in those days? Or it could be some sort of Chinese metaphor/proverb translation gone funny, which is a common occurrence in Chinese-to-English. Not that Moss Roberts is a sloppy translator, far from it, but some things are just unavoidable when translating. If I ever get my hands on a Chinese copy, it's going to be extremely fun to see how the two compare.

 

Cao Cao also cuts off his beard in the heat of battle. Apparently it's also worth commemorating through poetry.

For Cao Cao, dire defeat and frantic flight:

He shed his gorgeous surcoat for disguise

And hacked his beard, driven by his fright, 

While Ma Chao's fame was mounting to the skies.

 

The focus on little details like this is another culture-shock part of reading this novel; I don't really tend to see this in Western literature. Oftentimes it's used as a character reveal. In this bit, my reaction as a reader is"well, that's totally something Cao Cao would do, the unmanly guy he is." (Guan Yu, on the other hand, is way too attached to his magnificent beard to ever do such a thing, life and death situation or no.) Nor is it confined to battle scenes, although they take up the majority. For example, earlier in the story there's this SUPER OMG dramatized moment when Liu Bei drops his chopsticks, and thunderclouds literally flash across the sky. Since he uses the moment to mask his real political intentions from Cao Cao, it illustrates his ability to think under pressure.