Similarity and Difference Between Story Background of Lu Hsun and Eileen Chang

Subject: Literature
Pages: 7
Words: 1939
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: PhD

Love in a Fallen City

Love in a Fallen Society is one of the outstanding works by Ellen Chang. It is imperative to note that Chang faced a very difficult situation when she was still a teenager. Her father was quite ruthless having been a long-term addict of bhang (Chang 23). As such, she lost her freedom for almost six months when she was locked up by her own biological father. Even after escaping and being free for many years, her mindset did not change at all since the past experience as a hostage was still lingering in her thinking process. It is without a doubt that even her works and especially Love in a Fallen Society were largely influenced by some of the experiences she went through while still at a tender age (Chang 87). This fictional creation seems to lack adequate subjectivity as would be expected in stories of this nature. There is a resemblance of suffering in spite of the fact no solutions are being sought. In other words, lack of subjectivity has made this piece of work to be quite unreal.

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The title of the story as depicted in Love in a Fallen City gives an impression of sadness or failure. he story explores the life of a divorcee who travels to a distant location in Hong Kong with the sole aim of seeking a playboy. It is some kind of a hot pursuit as indicated in this piece of a fictional story. There is minimal imagination in this regard. Instead, the encounter is predominantly moony. The beginning of the story is quite captivating in the sense that the aged couple who are also mature is apparently riding on some tension. The ex-wife of the husband is the bone of contention in this case. However, this level of tension drops down gradually in the process of paying visits to relatives.

The main reason why this tension goes down is because of several praises that the couple receives over their apparently stable marital relationship. From this outset, it can be observed that conflicts are inevitable among couples. However, the level of understanding and care should always prevail in order to create and sustain long-lasting relationships (Chang 174). When this story is related to the title of the article, it can be seen that a fallen city has been used to symbolize a relationship that is doing well. In other words, a fallen city may be any form of situation or occurrence that is not pleasing to an individual. As already mentioned, the author once went through torturous times when she was ‘jailed’ by her father for a considerably long period of time. Love in a fallen City also creates an impression of hope alongside building hope for those who are hopeless. The major theme depicted in this article is that of hope or usefulness even in circumstances that are not bearable.

On the other hand, it is also vital to underscore the fact that the author in this case has made use of precise description through crafted prose. Even though such an approach may be impressive in any form of literature, there are sad scenarios that are mapped out in the article that tend to interrupt the initial flow of how good relationships are built and sustained. Needless to say, that may be the best approach for a piece of literature that is dotted with myriads of melancholy tales. As one continues to read through the literary piece, it becomes evident that lasting happiness is hardly achieved by any of the characters used to build up the plot. Quite a number of factors are separating these characters. Examples include time, class and gender. Moreover, there is a lack of uncertainty in the relationships built between men and women.

This bad experience is equally replicated at places of work and even in the entire society. Nonetheless, Chang gives a lot of attention to love affairs between men and women. In some instances, resounding breakthroughs and happiness are attained while in other cases; love and peace of mind are hardly attainable. Even as China continues to modernize itself, its authorities are not in a position to offer the much-needed guidelines in regards to these missing links in society. Chang takes the position of a strict narrator who does not want to interfere with the progress of her characters. Even though these characters experience both negative and positive transformations in their lives, the author (narrator) is not interfering with their suffering. She is just reporting the unfolding events just as any other traveler

While there were other renowned writers during her time, Chang managed to inspire several other authors who significantly borrowed bountiful ideas from her prose type of writing. It is profound to note that her personal life was a stuck contrast to the fame and popularity of her writings. Her personal life was marred with increasing reclusiveness, tragedy and myriads of disappointments. This explains why she later developed stress, depression and heart attack that culminated into her demise at seventy-four years.

Regrets of the Past

Lu Hsun was an accomplished author of the last century. Contemporary Chinese literature is believed to have been largely crafted based on the works of Hsun. In other words, he was a major contributor to modern Chinese literature. He produced both classical and vernacular Chinese literature. Moreover, he was a seasoned poet, essayist, and also editor. It is pertinent to note that the 4th may movement in China gave a significant impetus to the literary influence of Lu Hsun. However, he remained a leftist and never became part of the Communist Party in China.

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Even though Hsun’s works capture a wide array of issues affecting society, there are quite a number of similarities and differences that can be drawn between the two authors namely Hsun and Chang. However, it is vital to explore one of the literary works by Hsun in order to develop the theme of love and family life as depicted by the authors. Regret for the Past accounts for the intrigues of contemporary romance. It exposes the experience of a young man who was pursuing love from a young lady. The aspect of a love match has been brought out in the article quite well. From the story, it is evident that successful marital relationships cannot be attained only in the presence of truth and honesty. As much as truth and honesty are vital ingredients in this type of relationship, they cannot be fully relied upon. The narrator in the article is extremely passionate about his soul mate. The type of love explored in this verbatim narration is indeed a reflection of modern romance whereby feelings are openly expressed by individuals who are in love. Similar to Chang’s work Love in a Fallen Society, Hsun has expressed myriads of ideas and thought processes that dominate statements of love. In a more realistic manner, the aspect of love has been depicted as a complex issue that cannot just be understood from the underlying surface (Hsun 33). Love seems to be a source of inspiration and torment at the same time. It is lauded and cursed simultaneously by characters who find themselves in the mix of relationships and affairs.

In terms of honesty, it is apparent that marital relationship is significantly affected in a circumstance where the latter is not given top priority. If honesty is anything to go by, then it implies that most relationships are usually brought to a halt due to the absence of the same. One outstanding factor that is worth mentioning is that even though Hsun left an indelible mark in the field of literature, an opposite trend was mapped out in his personal life. He was largely unsuccessful in his personal life. It should be understood that Hsun died out of Tuberculosis and other smoking-related complications. As much as he made major strides in producing literary works that shaped modern written literature, his personal life was a real challenge to manage. This was the case with Chang. She was adversely affected by depression and heart complications that eventually led to her death.

On the other hand, one remarkable difference can be noted in the mode of presentation of both articles. Chang narrates the ordeal that other travelers are facing. She holistically plays the role of a reporter in the article. In the case of Hsun’s article, the character used in relaying the message is the real person affected by the love dilemma at hand. The persona describes the details of his ordeal the way it happened. Regret for the Past is one of the contemporary writings in Chinese that has lyric élan. It is different from Chang’s work in the sense that it has not been written in prose form. The author tried as much as possible to avoid sentimental or satirical writing in this piece of writing and that is why it stands out among his other literary works. There is a unique appeal generated by the story especially in regards to how the aspect of human foibles can lead to gross indulgence. In addition, the sad aspects of life such as love and romance have been illuminated as delicate indulgences that may often culminate in a tragic end if not approached in the most appropriate manner. It is also definite that all the ingredients of love can be hardly compromised by affected persons as can be judged from the verbatim assertions of the young man who is in love with a lady of his choice.

Analysis and comparison

Nevertheless, the tones in both pieces of writings are filled with premonitions of doom. The language used also depicts the likely tragedies that may be brought about by love. Even though the element of love has been approached from a superb point of view, it creates a chilling effect on the readers of the text. As already mentioned, the story presented in this article has been delivered from the first-person perspective. It has been written in form of a passionate monologue through a protagonist who is making a personal confession. When the theme of love is explored in both of these two articles, it can be noted that the authors were quite articulate in expressing their in-depth ideas. While Hsun’s article is a reflection of a true encounter in life, Love in a Fallen Society is a fictitious story. Nonetheless, both of these literary constructs have been modeled and presented in the best way possible that most audiences can identify with.

The subjects of love and romance are indeed instrumental in the entire course of humanity. These twin aspects have been discussed and evaluated from various perspectives. For instance, when the two articles are compared side by side, it is evident that they present the same ideas although various perspectives have been used. For example, love has been depicted as a viable source of happiness and sorrow at the same time. It is capable of producing both effects depending on the eventual outcome.


Finally, it is vital to observe that the ideologies expressed in both articles clearly represent the nature of mankind in both past and modern societies. In some instances, it is indeed quite easy to identify with the experiences of the authors even as they present various ideas in their writings. Nevertheless, the most intriguing part of both articles is that the aforementioned authors hardly lived cherished personal lives as depicted in their works. In other words, there was little regard for their individual lives in spite of the fact that they left lasting legacies upon which contemporary Chinese literature was founded.

Works Cited

Chang, Eileen. Love in a Fallen City. New York: NYRB Classics, 2006. Print.

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Hsun, Lu. Regret For The Past. Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing, 2004. Print.