Sun Erniang – Water Margin

母夜叉孙二娘 - 《水浒传》

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Sun Erniang is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese literature. Nicknamed “Female Yaksha”, she ranks 103rd among the 108 Stars of Destiny and 67th among the 72 Earthly Fiends. Wikipedia
Significant other: Zhang Qing
Notable aliases: “Female Yaksha”, 母夜叉
Parents: Zhang Qing
Simplified Chinese: 孙二娘
Traditional Chinese: 孫二娘

Sun Erniang, also known as Sun the Elder or Sun Xing, is one of the most beloved characters in the Chinese classic novel “Water Margin” (Shuihu Zhuan). As a skilled warrior and leader of a group of bandits, Sun Erniang is known for her bravery, intelligence, and fierce loyalty to her fellow outlaws. In this essay, we will explore her character and the role she plays in the novel.

Sun Erniang is introduced in Chapter 4 of “Water Margin,” where she is described as a tall, handsome woman with a commanding presence. She is the wife of the bandit chief Zhang Qing, who is known for his cunning and cruelty. However, Sun Erniang is not intimidated by her husband and is often the voice of reason in their relationship. She encourages Zhang Qing to be more compassionate and fair to the people they rob, and she is not afraid to stand up to him when he acts cruelly or recklessly.

After Zhang Qing is killed by the imperial troops, Sun Erniang takes over as the leader of the bandits. She proves herself to be a capable and charismatic leader, and her group of outlaws becomes known as one of the most feared and respected in the region. Under Sun Erniang’s leadership, the bandits develop a code of honor that emphasizes loyalty, justice, and compassion for the poor and oppressed. She also shows a great deal of strategic intelligence, using guerilla tactics to outwit the government officials who are sent to capture her.

One of the most famous episodes involving Sun Erniang occurs in Chapter 27 of the novel. She and her band of outlaws encounter a group of traveling merchants who are being harassed by a group of rogue soldiers. Sun Erniang intervenes to protect the merchants and defeats the soldiers in a fierce battle. She then invites the merchants to join her group of outlaws and becomes a mentor to the young apprentice Wu Song, who goes on to become one of the most famous heroes in the novel.

Sun Erniang is also known for her relationship with the bandit leader Wu Song. Although they have a strong emotional connection, they are never able to express their love for each other openly due to their obligations to their respective groups. Despite this, they remain loyal friends and allies throughout the novel, and their bond is one of the most touching and enduring in the story.

Overall, Sun Erniang is a complex and compelling character who embodies many of the themes and values of “Water Margin.” She is a fierce warrior and a skilled strategist, but she is also a compassionate and empathetic leader who cares deeply for the people she protects. Her relationship with Wu Song and her role as a mentor to the young outlaws in her group add depth and richness to her character, making her one of the most beloved figures in the novel.

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