Chuang Tzu and the Butterfly: An Analysis


Poems are considered to be among the most important forms of worded art. Through the years, poems have actually shaped the endearing thoughts about human capabilities of mentioning about the most definite issues that concern human living in a much artistic way. In a sense, poems are also written pieces that require much analysis due to the fact that the messages presented through these works of art are embedded within the used phrases that might or might not refer directly to the meaning that the poets ought to convey to the readers.

Most of the poets use several forms of indirect speech or figures of speech that intend to show the symbolism of the real meaning that they ought to send out to their readers. Through meaningful coordination of words and presentations that are all dedicated to one particular thought that manifests the ideas and the implicative messages of the poets, poems are able to take an artistic form that doses not only intend to entertain the reader but also insist on making each reader think of the ideas concerned in the poem.

At times, there are instances when analyzing the poems involve the word-per-word consideration that must be given attention to as each word might or might not have its own interpretation compared to that of the entire context of the poem. Through word-per-word analysis, the real meaning becomes easier to handle. Implicative backgrounds such as that of the culture of the poet and the traditions that the author has been brought up with affect the entire meaning and presentation of the poems. Likely, these options of getting the meaning of the entire selection being analyzed are important considerations that need serious attention.

In the discussion that follows, the poem selection on Chuang Tzu and the Butterfly shall be better analyzed based on the meaning that it conveys. Through utilizing the Confucianism and the external transformation belief idealisms, the message of the poem shall be better transcribed. In line with the need to portray practical impartiality in utilizing the idealisms mentioned herein, it could be observed that the poem analysis shall undergo a coercive approach in making the message of the poem to be openly brought up for further understanding.

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About the Anecdote

The anecdote of Chuang Tzu describes his dream of becoming a butterfly and enjoying his life as one, recognizing his full potentials as he flies towards the different places that he ought to reach. Basically, this anecdote intends to show the difference of a dream from the real things that happens in one individual’s life. It could be seen how the different experiences he had as a butterfly brought him into a satisfaction that he could somewhat simply imagine of and never realize as a person.

The poet’s narration practically provides a transition period for the readers to see how the entire situation changed from being a dream sequence towards wakening into reality. Through this realization, the poet brings about the essence of understanding about the real meaning of the context based on the different figures of speech and definitive paragraphs that the poet used to make essential definitions on the idealisms he would like to portray to his readers. Nonetheless, the analysis of this selection requires ample knowledge on the background as to how he manages to separate reality from fantasy and that of the importance of seeing how life transforms through the utilization of the capability of humans to basically understand their being and the changes that they need to go through as they manage through towards personal development.

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Surely, because of this particular immense conditioning of the mind, humans are expected to perceive reality through properly understanding what is suggested by their minds. Dreams may not have been used as a direct word that refers to the actual meaning of it within the poem. Instead, the word “dream” is practically utilized to mandate a more in depth understanding of the idea that the word itself ought to convey on the readers. Most likely this element in the reading makes it more authentic in referring to the different applicable considerations that involve dreaming towards the consciousness that a person may have towards the fantasies and imaginations that humans are capable of thinking of and in turn basing from to be able to establish complacency on the meaning of the matter concerned.

In the poem of Chuang Tzu, the following line is one of the most meaningful messages that convey the difference of reality from fantasies or dreams:

Chuang Tzu in dream became a butterfly,

And the butterfly became Chuang Tzu at waking.

Which was the real—the butterfly or the man?

Who can tell the end of the endless changes of things?

These opening lines of the poem introduce the entire meaning of the context that the poet of the selection aims to convey to the readers. Most of the elements used within these lines practically provide a clear vision for the readers to see what the dream is all about and how reality is considered as a separate mandate of understanding when it comes to the separation of imagery from actual situations that humans ought to face in their lives.

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Chuang Tzu, being a man well-known for his understanding of the Confucian idealisms has been observed to have taken the said understanding into serious consideration as he wrote down the experiences that have been experienced during the state of dreaming from that of the state of awakening. Surely, it could be manifested that somehow, undergoing the analysis for this poem requires an understanding of the most important facets of Confucianism and how it practically relates to the realities of modern human life.

Understanding what it means

Dreams have been repeatedly considered to be among the most important elements that pushes the human mind to want more than what he has. Likely, in dreams, it is expected that a human individual would be able to create possible changes in life that he could or could not incur in real life. Dreams allow humans to realize the truth behind the impossible and somewhat be guided by the idealism that humans are capable of seeing what they want to see through the existence of dreams.

Surely, this is what actual manifestations of imagination intend to portray in connection with the most important issues that are included within the facets of human living. From the state of dreaming, the poem intends to show a concentration on how human living is actually motivated for advancement through the existence of imagination. The mind is capable of providing humans with the right kind of understanding that they need as they try to see the possibilities of inculcating change within the systems of human living. Dreams are expected to be borderless; meaning that whatever the mind thinks could become possible especially when the involvement of imagination comes in. The limitless capability of the mind to make things come true basically makes it easier for humans to make a good sense of what they can and cannot do.

As the wakening comes into reality, humans begin to receive good contemplation on how they a supposed to make their dreams real. However, with limits preventing them from becoming aware of the things that they are capable of doing or making real, humans are subjected to becoming interested in mandating how they are supposed to manage their limitations towards a reality that could assist them in seeing through the different possibilities that they are capable of attaining. Confucius’ understanding of the separation of fantasy from reality actually makes this particular thought more provokingly effective in instantiating the considerations placed upon the willingness of humans to make their imaginations meet with their capabilities and their limitations as humans.

With the indicative force of imagination and the complex manner by which it enables humans to create the institution of changes in their lives, this poem tries to make a definite introduction as to how the mind works for the sake of developments to happen. Constituting them chances for development practically makes it easier for humans to see through their needs of advancement and how their dreams could actually help them become what they really are basing from the things that they can do.

However, as dreams are limitless, it could be sensed that the realities behind all these borderless thoughts could be seen to have an effect on how humans tend to decipher their capabilities apart from what they are not able to accomplish in real life. Believably, no matter how limitless the mind is, the limitations of the human’s physical capabilities could not be denied. Surely, with this indicative thought placed on the willingness of humans to take courage on accepting what they cannot do and completely adhere to the things that they are able to do, the poem on Chuang Tzu’s life anecdote intend to defend the most important issue on seeing how humans might be able to consider their capabilities as they complete their dreams and provide themselves a leeway on the things that they are not able to do.

Believing on the most effective passages that are designed to give humans an understanding on how they are supposed to make matters possible for contemplating on the part of realizing their limitations and their considerable strengths that enable them to make the changes that they need to put into mind so as to provide themselves the thinking that they ought to nourish for the sake of further social development. Yes, dreams, as depicted within the poem, gives each individual a chance to see through the things that they things that they are able to do and others that they are supposed to consider for the improvement of their lives.

The utilization of the butterfly in the dream depicts the want of the dreamer to see through what he wants to become and to see how he might be able to contemplate with this want. Realization of this dream would require that he makes some changes in his attitude and his motivation by which he is able to see the realities behind his dream. Doing this though is much harder than simply becoming a butterfly. In his mind, he is able to become what he wants but when it comes to his real being; he needs to consider some adjustments as to how he considers the continuous birth of his development as an individual.


Undoubtedly, dreams are seen to have a great effect on how humans are further motivated towards the implicative sense of reality. Likely, the separation of the said elements as to how they practically affect the lives of the human beings as they try to develop towards advancement has been used effectively within the poem. Chuang Tzu’s realization of his limitations as a human makes it easier for the readers to see through the message that the poet intends to share with them.

Through creating a fine line of defining the difference of dreaming from that of realizing the implications of real living, Chuang Tzu’s anecdote creates a fine presentation on how humans today might not be able to realize the separation of fantasy from reality. This lack of understanding usually brings them into the devastating thought of failing simply because of the fact that unlike imagination and fantasies, they are creations with limitations, with borders of incapability that binds them away from the dreams that they ought to understand.

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 How does this story relate to the life that humans are trying to contemplate with at present? Basically, the idea is that it provides a good picture as to how humans should actually view their limitations and their capabilities through separating real life from imagery. A realization of the truth that there are limits in real life makes it easier for humans to develop according to their capabilities and their resources. Consciousness and knowledge about these realities are believed to lead humans towards the life that they ought to live so as to simply make a definitive approach in seeing how they are able to make changes in their lives through getting inspiration from their dreams and gaining proper understanding when it comes to recognizing their limitations and their limitations as humans.



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