19 October 2012
Love Must Not Be Forgotten
“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another”– Mao Zedong. In the short story “Love Must Not Be Forgotten” author Zhang Jie reflects on her Chinese identity and the history of the establishment of the Chinese Republic. This is done by using the protagonist who illustrates traditional marriage convention, a typical mother and daughter relationship, and the role of women in the Chinese society.
The author reveals the cultural perspective on marriage in Chinese society during the Cultural Revolution by illustrating Shan Shan’s relationship with her boyfriend Qiao Lin, Zhong Yu’s relationship with her ex-husband and the man she loves, and lastly the way society looks upon marriage. Shan Shan contemplates whether she should marry Qiao Lin even though she does not feel he loves her and it might result in a loveless marriage. While Shan Shan is contemplating, she is judged by others around her because of her hesitation to decide. Shan Shan believes that “once you put the chains of a loveless marriage around you neck, you will suffer for it for the rest of your life” (63). She has witnessed her parent’s marriage lead to a divorce. Zhong Yu reveals she did not marry for love but it was because she was “young [and] don’t always know what you’re looking for, what you need, and people…talk you into getting married” (53) but as she grows older and gains more experience, she discovers her true needs. Zhong Yu finds her true love but he is a part of a loveless marriage that is “out of a sense of duty”. The man Zhong Yu loves married his wife to express a sense of responsibility and gratitude for the old worker who saved him by giving his life...