East Asian Civilization Essay

656 Words Apr 6th, 2002 3 Pages
The Civil Service Examination System of Imperial China served as a qualification system for scholars who wanted to become officials in the Chinese government. Many young men spent their entire lives studying the Four Books, the Five Classics, and memorizing Chinese characters in order to attempt to pass these examinations. The book, China's Examination Hell, written by Ichisada Miyazaki and translated by Conrad Schirokauer, describes the lengthy, and often rigorous process of taking Civil Service Examinations. The book begins by giving an account of how a young boy prepares for the examinations, learning his first Chinese characters at the age of three. Girls could not take the Civil Service Examinations, and from birth were treated …show more content…
It was believed that if a candidate was virtuous and performed good deeds, he would be rewarded by passing the Civil Service Examinations. Conversely, if a candidate did not have a good moral character, he would fail the examinations, regardless of the quality of his work. This book is extremely well organized, although somewhat monotonous. The author's meticulous attention to the order in which the examinations were taken, the kinds of questions asked during each examination, and which public official was responsible for administering each examination was informative and interesting. It was also extremely repetitive. This book is meant to be an accurate description of the historical significance and the exact process of Chinese Civil Service Examinations. The author attained that goal, however the book would have been more interesting had he presented the material in a less meticulous fashion. The author's accounts of supernatural intervention in the Civil Service Examinations provided interesting insight into an otherwise rather tiresome book. The stories of hardship and perseverance suffered by both candidates and examiners gave the book the feel of something more than just historical documentation of the facts. On the whole, the book was a very interesting description of life, for men

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