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The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter


by Ezra Pound

The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Is it possible for the speaker to experience this degree of sadness for her husband at such a young age? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think changed the speaker's attitude toward her husband from age 14 to her view when she wrote the letter? 
  3. Do emotions have the power to affect your environment, as they seem to do here? If so, how? If not, why not? 
  4. Many critics feel that Pound is unfairly representing China as exotic, primitive, and less civilized than the European West. After reading this poem, what do you think of such criticism?
  5. Is Ezra pound stealing the cultural work (a poem) of a Chinese poet, or is he making the piece his own?

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