Love or Betrayal?
“The Story of Ying-ying” was written during or after the Zhenyuan period which was between 785 to 804 (LUO, 2005). The story is about a young scholar named Chang, who meets the lovely Cui Yingying, who is a maiden that comes from a good family and Chang tries to save Yingying’s family from marauding soldiers (LUO, 2005). At first, Yingying shy’s away from Chang’s advances, but changes her mind and offers herself to him. When Chang leaves for the capital to take his examinations, he receives a letter from Yingying declaring her love for him. Chang then decides to end the relationship and both ended up marrying other people. Chang returns and tries to see Yingying, but she refuses, while all throughout the story, writing poems of love and betrayal throughout.
Chang had ultimately received what he wanted, the love of the Yingying. She knew she should not love someone such as him, but she did what she felt was right, which was to share her affection with him. As a reader, one might assume that Chang had reached his ultimate goal of getting the woman that he loved, but for some reason, this wasn’t enough for Yingying. A poem I found to be very important in “The Story of Ying-ying”, was on page 1407 of The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Volume B, where it says: “Cast off and abandoned, what can I say now, / Whom you loved so briefly long ago? / Any love you had then for me /Will do for the one you love now.”
Shortly after this poem, we learn that the author admits Chang had made a mistake by ending his relationship with Yingying. “After this he never heard anymore about her. His contemporaries for the most part conceded that Chang had done well to rectify his mistake,” (Chen, 2002). Earlier in the story, Chang says: “It is a general rule that those women endowed by Heaven with a great beauty invariably either destroy themselves or destroy someone else.” At the end of the story, Chang finally does admit that she did hold a power, a...
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