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The storyline of the tale New Poems by Zhou Daxin focuses on three characters that are traveling together at their common business aim. Director of the Bureau Chang, his chauffeur, and secretary Xiao Liang are going throughout the country with inspection trip. Local officials provide the Director with the sumptuous dinners that are compensated by the public funds. He makes weak attempts to meet his check but gets rejection every time. One day his business trip comes to an end, and the company of three main figures starts their trip home. Having passed a half way, Director proposes to stop and have dinner in the roadside restaurant. Traditionally, after eating it is time to pay the bill, and Chang expresses his wish and possibility to do this. His fellow travelers deprecate Director’s will. Then Chang proposes the competition to determine the person who will pay for the dinner. Each traveler should invent a poem that must contain such words as “round, round, round”, ”sharp, sharp, sharp” and “hundreds and thousands”. The person whose work will be the worst will pay. All of the poems were good, and thus the dinner was paid again by the taxpayers.

The author uses rather a simple style of writing, and that is why the story New Poems is easy to read. Despite this fact, one can notice the presence of strong irony in the text of the tale. Three travelers represent different strata of society depending on their income level and profession, but they are related to the government activity. They have no doubts and hesitations about spending the public funds on their personal feeding. The poems presented by the author in the tale’s text are the brightest manifestation of the irony. The lines about their style of life sound like a boasting and at the same time as a mockery of themselves and the society. The poems by the Secretary who has never written an honest sentence and the verse by the Director who has never paid a penny for hundreds and thousands of banquets especially emphasize the acuteness of the raised question.

Besides the reflection of the existing society order, the author makes an accent on the personal responsibility for the common wealthy. It is no accident that Zhou Daxin uses such a strange competition as a leading instrument to show the imprudence of the situation. Nobody of the characters proposes to share the total sum in the bill among all the travelers or to pay by turns. It is easier to use the public funds than make a correct decision. The element of play is rather eloquent and hints on the officials playing with the people’s taxes paid to the budget which must be spend on the common wealth. This irony provokes the feeling of internal protest of the reader, and it means that the primary goal of the author is reached. Moreover, Zhou Daxin’s presentation of different kind of profession also has deep meaning in the context of individual responsibility. One can easily find the author’s message about the necessity of actions to change the situation highlighted in the story New Poems. Each person should do something despite his or her social status, profession, the level of income, etc. Any inertness means connivance with the illegal behavior of the officials and promotes further aggravation of the problem.

 

Lovers and Drugs

Lovers and drugs is Chinese story by Ling Dingnian. As one can see from its title, the question of love and relations between lovers is in the center of the tale. The owner of the restaurant, Cuihua, meets the young man Alan Daron. She falls in love with him but for a long time he does not reciprocate her feelings. Cuihua’s desire to attract his attention is so strong that she is looking for different opportunities for rapprochement. Soon such a case occurs. The girl hears about Alan’s visit to the Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center. Obviously, Cuihua could not lose this chance and decides to go with him. The girl’s efforts are awarded, and Alan finally falls in with Cuihua too. However, it is early to celebrate the triumph, because getting mutuality is often easier than preserving sincere feelings notwithstanding all the problems. The lovers face drug dependence of Alan. Trying to save and return him to the normal life, Cuihua makes a decision to set him an example of how she will quit her addiction. Thus, she has her first smoke and is entrapped in the dependence, too.

The story seems to be an ordinary story about one life case, but the acute issues lay in its basis. The question of drug dependence is a burning issue today. People daily make every effort to save their relatives, partners, and friends and understand that this task is beyond their strength. The despair drives people to the extreme measures that are often precipitate. The author may consider Cuihua’s actions as one of those. Confirmation of this claim may be noticed in Alan’s treatment to the girl. At the beginning of the story, he is surrounded by a plenty of ladies and does not appreciate Cuihua’s feelings. Later he loses interest in everything, including his sweetheart, being deeply engaged in his addiction. Spending her money, Alan does not ask himself about Cuihua’s internal worries while she sacrifices her live in the favor of his saving. The author asks the readers between the lines, whether this price is worth of it and whether it is needed. In the same way, Ling Dingnian leads the readers to the negative answer, as Cuihua miserably regrets about all this upon recognizing the terrible aftermaths of the situation. One can suspect that the author calls to reject the closest people involved in addiction, but the story ends with the philosophic question to avoid possible misunderstanding. The narrator asks Cuihua is there are some things she regrets of, and he does not get any answer but crying.

Rhetorical question at the end of the story serves as an excellent instrument to make the readers ponder over the issue that was raised in it. The question of drug dependence has a lot of aspects and is connected with the individual peculiarities of a person and his or her dearest people. These interrelations have numerous facets, and thus there is no single key to solving of this problem. In the presented situation, different people also may see diverse ways of acting because of Cuihua’s regretting. Somebody may deplore falling in love with the person addicted to drugs, another will regret about the fact that the help came too late and all the efforts were in vain. However, regardless of the conclusion the reader will make, it will be his or her individual choice made specifically for their life circumstances. The single message presented by the author resembles a warning. Dingnian prevents the readers from turning on the wrong track even for the sake of the closest people.

Going to town

In the story Going to town, Chinese writer Zhang Ke depicts the case in the bus that goes along mountain roads. It stops from time to time picking up the passengers. Almost all the seats are occupied when young girl enters the bus except for the one next to an old man. Cotton wrapped parcel lays on this place. Lady asks the man to take it away and allow her to sit down, but he refuses to follow her request. The other passengers who witness this conversation try to intervene and help the girl. They begin to ask the man to free the seat, but he only proposes the girl to occupy his place instead of the seat with the parcel. Obviously, the girl is left to stand. Restless passengers continue to discuss the behavior of the old man, putting forward different versions. Somebody guesses that he may have valuables in the parcel, the others condemn him, and someone else suggests that he is an idiot. Listening to this uproar, the old man is sitting in silence with bowed head. When people calm down and plunge into sleep, he begins to talk to his parcel with the special tenderness, as if with the dearest person sitting next to him. Getting off the bus the men opens his parcel and passengers see smiling granny on the picture in the black frame. The man carries his dead wife to show the tall town’s buildings she dreamt to see when being alive.

This small story about the ordinary travelers who are in a single bus and witness this strange situation is obviously associated with human nature. Almost every person is in a hurry to evaluate the actions of the people who are next to her or him, knowing nothing about their life, troubles, or pain. The author successfully uses a literary instrument of “certain moment” to show how people may be cruel and unfair to each other. Moreover, often the behavior that is condemned deserves deep respect, especially when it is about the actions that have been done for the sake of love. The author emphasizes this moment in the end of the story, when he writes that the old man guards his love. Only a few persons in the whole society are not afraid of being called funny or an idiot because of their sincere feelings. Therefore, it is a deed for the majority of people. Silence with which the passengers accompany the old man when he gets off the bus is a bright confirmation to this. They grasp the meaning of the situation but do not dare to support the man.

Thus, one can see at least two hidden messages in the story Going to Town. The author calls people to be more compassionate, impartial, and indulgent. Nobody knows everything and thus nobody can be objective in any question concerning other people’s lives. People have no choice but try to consider deeply and pay attention to the persons’ soul and internal world. They should not hurry to make a conclusion or even to say a word of condemnation. The second message is concerned with the people’s internal freedom of feelings and courage in their manifestation. Love is the most mysterious emotion that connects two souls into a single one, and nothing can divide it, even the death. Similar to the old man, depicted at the story Going to Town, everybody should save his or her love. Persons who love are happy in living for each other, but often it is hard for them to express this feeling even to their partners no say nothing of the public demonstration. However, it is the only thing that people should hurry to do because nobody knows when the death will knock on the door. The primary goal of the old man’s trip shows the readers how important it is to catch all the happy moments and realize all the dreams of one’s lover till he or she is alive.

I Don’t Know Who I Am

The plot of the story I Don’t Know Who I Am by Xu Xijun is concentrated on the interesting dialog between the partners that occurs one morning at the dining table. The wife who used to be calm person unexpectedly becomes serious and asks his husband about what he considers himself. She repeats the question for a few times and does not ask anything else. Being surprised and baffled, the man does not know the answer. He starts to look for the possible reasons for such sudden changes in his wife’s behavior. Different ideas come to his head. Thus, he guesses that the wife has heard the gossips about his affairs or has got to know about his additional earnings he has sent to his father. The wife insists on the immediate answer about his considering himself and herself, but he is confused and does not know what to say. It is interesting that their child finds the both questions rather easy and clear and answers that the man is his father, and the wife is his mother. He does not understand why his father could not give an answer. The wife who is a teacher of psychology has been conducting the test to prove the thesis of her paper as it turns out at the end of the story.

It may seem to be a strange story because at first sight it is rather difficult to understand its sense. The author does not tell the readers what kind of test the wife has been doing, what results she received, and whether this results justified her assumptions. The writer uses actual instrument of giving readers the perspective for personal pondering and conclusions. Thus, I guess the author wants to emphasize the adult people’s susceptibility to complications all of the things that surround them. Even such a simple question as who they are confounds them. They are so busy and burdened with the daily problems that they lose an ability to see and understand obvious things and phenomena. Moreover, insincerity is prevailing in the interrelation between people in the world. Thus, they try to seek the implication in simple questions, words, and situations. In contrast to the adults, the child can think in an easier way and open to the perception of the words, actions, and phenomena as they are without any speculations.

After reading the story I Don’t Know Who I Am one can involuntarily put oneself the question about the reason for the majority of human quarrels and misunderstandings between people. The answer comes to mind instantly. All people make everything in their life too complicated. The biggest part of their problems is created by themselves because of the complicated perceiving of the life. It is no accident that only a child can find the answer. They have not lost their freedom of thinking and are able to see the beauty of the world and do not understand how a phenomenon can be multifaceted.

To say that people should be as open to the world and to each other as the children is the primary goal of the author. It is a single way to the happiness and internal harmony because there are a lot of things in the world people should enjoy. However, they spend their time in vain, thinking about numerous issues, solving the rows of problems that are created by their individual vision of the reality. Moreover, all these complicated aspects change people’s knowledge of their personality and they often do not know who they actually are. 

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