The works of literature, starting right from the days long gone to the present have always acted as a true mirror to the society. In other words, most of the stories written, narrations made and play s which have been choreographed within this fraternity have emerged as a true reflection of what is going on in our society today. It is therefore an issue that is inevitable to note the importance with which literature prevails in our society today. Through most of these works, individuals have ended up being exposed in numerous ways. In other words, these works have helped people to have a deeper understanding of the nature and cultures of different societies. Going by the products of written works and the elements made dominant in a particular piece of work, it is possible to note the ways of the people represented in the story. It is possible to note what their culture allows and what it does not. At the same time, these literary works equally go a long way in revealing the beliefs along which the lives of a particular people is trimmed.
Due to their immense importance in our society today, it is therefore important to acknowledge the works of these people. Through this, we get to appreciate their portion in the society in a special way. The appreciation might not necessarily mean offering material things but then giving a special attention to these works and analyzing them in order to deduce their vitality in the human surrounding. In line with the brief overview above, this paper shall involve an analysis of two works by two prominent writers both of who, have gone down in history as some of the most celebrated writers in the Chinese society.
Just as it had been hinted in the statements above, the society today has proceeded to be dynamic. This implies that the cultures of people vary as one moves from one place to the other (Thomas 78). The truth and concreteness of the old adage which goes; ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison,’ can therefore be revealed and emphasized in the dynamic nature of this society. Different people therefore give different approaches to different aspects in the society. It is no wander that we find an issue totally embraced in one society yet it is an abomination in another.
The two works of literature which will be discussed in this paper each explore the aspect of love in the Chinese society. The main task in this case shall involve an exploration of the link or rather the interconnection that prevails between these stories. However, it will equally be important to incline the discussion towards the key aspect of the dynamic culture with a special touch on the Chinese society.
To begin with, the short story Love must not be Forgotten is an intriguing work by Zhang Jie, a famous Chinese novelist and short story writer who has been considered as one of China’s initial contributors to feminist fiction. The story is based on the life of a middle aged lady who gets saddened after she sees the diary of her dead mother. Through the diary, she discovers the torture that the mother’s heart had to endure as a result of a love relationship in a society where this issue faced great opposition. From the contents of this diary, the lady realizes that the mother had been blocked from relating with a man she loved and who loved her back. Because of these hardships, the man was unable to express his true feelings to her, this was even made harder to achieve because the man died in the Cultural Revolution.
The protagonist in this story is a single lady who is loved and is seemingly in love with an attractive man called Qiao Lin. However, as a result of the nature of the cultural practices of the society in which she prevails, she is unable to give this love a ground to grow. She is full of fear especially of the consequences of giving in. As a result, she is full of doubt about the workability of this relationship especially in line with the compatibility between them. She is not sure whether the relationship might end up working for them and this is one aspect which results in it withering. The story ends with the protagonist having made a decision to stay single citing that it is not a fearful experience after all.
On the other hand, Love in a Small Town is captivating story by Wang Anyi who established herself as one of the most imaginative as well as subtle young writers during the 1980s. The story which is both probing and affecting is about two characters which both work for a dance troupe. They developed feelings towards each other but are barely able to show it because of the fear of how the society will take this. The two people in this story are dancers who experience the turmoil of sexual attraction during their dance practices. They try to avoid each other with the aim of avoiding the feelings they have for each other but the losing battle is won by their feelings. This is perhaps what makes the bigger picture in this story, the fact that the two individuals are in love with each other but are afraid to let it grow because of the cultural stipulations within this society.
Going by the description which has been given above in line with what is entailed in these stories, one can therefore conclude that Emotional expression is a factor that that is approached in different ways by different societies depending on their cultural beliefs. The traditional Chinese culture asserts that any type of emotional expression should not be publicly shown but should be shown in private. Love forms the most commonly expressed emotion in the world, but its expression in the Chinese culture has been closely restricted. In many cases, sex has been used in the emotional expression of love, but in the Chinese traditional culture it forms a taboo subject. Love in a Small Town is a story that that provides acknowledgement of sexual love as a fundamental power in human life. Love Must Not Be Forgotten forms a story that is based on the elusiveness of romantic love due to the stipulations of Chinese culture. Though these two stories are based on the different aspects of sexual love as a fundamental power in human life and the elusiveness of love, they are interconnected by the theme of love that forms the fundamental basis of human existence and the fact that Chinese culture should allow for public expression of this theme.
Love Must Not Be Forgotten brings out the fact that the stipulations of culture can make romantic love to be elusive. This can be evidenced through the author and her mother. The author is about to get married to her boyfriend but she is afraid of cultural interruption of their love. Essentially, after reading her mother’s diary she finds out that the Chinese cultural stipulations of love interfered with her parents love as her mother is forced to express her love for the authors father in a diary while the father is forced to express his love through giving the mother a collection of Chekov stories. Love in a Small Town brings out the consequences of the exploration of raw sexual desire by two people in a culture that abhors the topic of sex.
Due to the stipulations of the Chinese culture the characters in both stories cannot easily express their love publicly. The sexual expression of love between the two dancers in Love in a Small Town is full of shame. In the story it is asserted that they are ashamed to go back to the river bend because of the sneers they were given by the people. Essentially the mother and father of the writer in Love Must Not Be Forgotten cannot express their love easily because the Chinese culture asserts that marriage is for procreation and not building love. Though the two stories are different in many ways, the theme of love connects them susceptibly. Love is expressed through the diary and the Chekov stories in Love Must Not Be Forgotten while it is expressed susceptibly through sexual desire in Love in a Small Town. In both stories the non-tolerance to love expression by the Chinese culture is brought out. The father of the author in Love Must Not Be Forgotten is forced to sacrifice his love for the author’s mother due to the Cultural Revolution. The two dancers sacrifice what they feel for each other because they feel that the society cannot support their love for each other.
From the above discussions, one can be able to back up the assertion that the two stories have got a unique interconnection with one another going by the common theme of love. In both cases, the main conflict arises between individuals and the society (Zhang 67). There is a clear depiction of the war going on between individuals, enlightenment and the society. The society with all the cultures embraced within it has created a boundary that is kind of inevitable for all the individuals in the two settings. This explains why most of their efforts are hindered. For instance, as a result of the position of the society on the issue of love, the protagonist in Love must not be forgotten is afraid to give herself fully to the relationship with a man who has expressed a lot of love to her (Allen 105). As a matter of facts, the story halts with the lady having shown her inclination towards the demands of the society by opting for a single life. She says “ To live single is not much a fearful disaster, I believe it may be a sign of a step forward in culture, education and the quality of life.”
At the same time, in Love in a Small Town, the two individuals are greatly hindered or rather limited by the society and its culture. Because of what their surrounding seems to have taken as a stand on the issue of love, they are unable to express it to each other freely. This explains why they even attempt to avoid each other in bid to escape this reality.
In both cases, we therefore manage to see how the two writers, though different in their approaches have managed to clearly depict how the cultural stipulations can end up manipulating the lives of individuals in a given surrounding. This indicates that the people in the societies which have been represented above are entirely not in a position to become independent in their decisions. In other words, these decisions are greatly influenced by what the culture allows and what it does not.
The interconnection that exists in the two stories can also be emphasizing in the way the two writers have explored the responsibilities of the different characters while depicting the main elements in the story (Richard 67). Despite the fact that the settings, plot and the characters in the two stories both differ in one way or the other, there are a number of commonalities which can be deduced. This can be achieved with a special consideration of the behaviors of the characters in both cases. The stories both have got characters who have been used to depict an extended exploration of raw sexual desires and the consequences entailed there in. in a nut shell, the aspect of sex and the mysteries surrounding it have been employed as the main objects by the writers in both cases.
For instance, in Love must not be Forgotten, the reader easily gets to interact with the consequences of the desires that the protagonist’s mother towards the author’s father. “…her heart is tortured” because of the fact that she was denied a chance to relate with a man she loved. Although this may not be so obvious, it is possible to deduce that her attractions to this man were equally based on an inner desire for a sexual exploration with the same individual. At the same time in Love in a Small Town, the fact that the two individuals are attracted to each other but are not able to proceed with anything end up making their lives miserable. They have to sacrifice a lot in a bid to be happy yet they are unable to even step in some places due to fear of how the people in the society may end up treating them (Thomas 48). This makes their society a very small one hence the reader manages to point out the consequences of choosing to proceed with an issue against the will of the society and the stipulations of its culture.
In conclusion, the discussion above has majorly been targeted at exploring the connection between the stories. Going by the discussions and the analyses made in each case, the main issue which has emerged evident is that the two stories are uniquely interconnected. The aspects which have cemented the relationship between the two stories include of love, its connection to the issue of sex and how these are approached in the Chinese culture (Allen 99). The two stories in a unique manner, therefore manage to express how the Chinese have an attitude which is both antiquated and unhealthy. This attitude is both towards sexual relations in the real lives of individuals as well as the depiction of sexual activities even in the works of fiction.