The paper "Thoughts of Former Times at Mian-chi" is a wonderful example of a literature book report. Su Shi was responding to his brother in ‘ ” Companion Piece to ‘ Thoughts of Former Times at Mian-chi’ ” . The writing of companion pieces tells us the social role of the literary composition of Tang and Song poets were to question everything about their society. ‘ Thoughts of Former Times at Mian-chi” was written when Su Shi and his brother was stuck in Mian-chi for ten days during a snowstorm. The two had spent the time writing poems on the walls at Mian-chi.
While many might be upset about the events, both brothers felt that what is just is. Zhuangzi is the influence in many of these poems. The social role of literary composition for Tang and Song poets were privileged. These poets spent time writing, not working in the fields. Generally many worked in royal houses. The fact that Su Shi can answer his brother in a poem about a past incident shows the favor of the social literary role of these poets. However, Su Shi went too far.
He often criticized a political group lead by Wang Anshi. Su Shi criticized Wang Anshis reforms, especially about total government control of the salt trade. The supremacy of the reformist party at court allowed the New Policy Group greater capacity to have Su Shi banished for political crimes. Su Shi's poetry was aimed at criticizing Wang, not the emperor. Still, Su Shi was forced into exile for the first, but not last time. Su Shi’ s poems were historical accounts, but also a way to express opinions about everything from Daoism to the King’ s policies.
He wrote about mundane things about his life, like when at Mian-chi to the Red Cliff battle. The social literary value of Su Shi was immense.