Analyzing Duke Hwan and the Wheelwright

Essay by luigico889College, UndergraduateC+, February 2008

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The short story that I read about a rich and powerful Duke, namely Duke Hwan of Khi and an old wheelwright named Phien is a story full of learning and philosophies. Although the story may look like an easy one, but there is a deeper meaning of it once you have started reading and analyzing it. Truly, you can not judge a book by its cover. I divided the story to three different important parts. First part is when the wheelwright ask Duke Hwan what he is reading, the second part is Phien said that the Duke is just reading the dirt left by other people behind them and the last scene is when Phien, the wheelwright explains what he truly means of what he just said.

The first important scene is between Duke Hwan and Phien. Phien is out in the yard making a wheel. Due to Phien’s curiosity, he asked the Duke what he is reading.

This proves that Human are in natured curious about different things. People often ask questions to extend their knowledge and this is the start of different philosophy. As the Duke answered the question that, he is reading a book about Philosophy.(The experts. The authorities) The book was authorized by some famous philosopher long time ago who were now resting in peace in their graves. With the Duke answered, it only proves that Phythagoras was correct- “Only God is the wise”. Even the very first duke of Khi still needs to read books to gain his knowledge and wisdom proving that he is not wise enough. The scene ended when Duke Hwan asked Phien to explain what he had just said about reading the dirt of other people or else he will be executed.

The second scene is the explanation of Phien why he said such a thing. Saying those words proves that people have different perception in life. Philosophy is not constant in every person for change is the only constant thing in the world. Every non-objective question has different answers when asked to different persons. One may think of one way and the other in another way. There will be no concrete one answer for each of our brains is unique from one another.

The last scene is when Phien told the Duke that experience is the best teacher. One could learn anything if he, himself, have tried it personally. He related it to himself, saying that learning how to make wheels wasn’t from reading any books made by dead people; it is from sheer hard work, determination to learn and of course experience. Experience teaches us different wisdoms in life and helps us become wiser as time passed by. One more thing that he shared with the Duke is that you can not pass to other people what he had read, He will just take it together with him in his burial when the right time comes. Nobody could teach the other people blow by blow, inch by inch on what they should do to perfect such things. People have different ways of learning and different ways of adapting to situations where they could learn new things and become wiser than other people. In the Allegory of the Cave by Plato. The prisoners portrait humans who could only see shadows. It is only through their effort that made them look towards the light and so they started to learn new things. People learn new things as time passed by and these knowledge will stack up in their head and bring it with them in their everyday life until they die. This maybe the reason why it is said, what is true or correct to other people may not always be the same to the others. People are naturally wise in their own little way, there is no definite measurement of being wiser than the other. We could learn different things from different people. A mere garbage boy could teach the president some things that the president could use in his/her life. There is no definite social status in learning. We all learn until our very last breath.