Finding a person who will do anything and face every danger in the name of love is very hard. ‘The Heartless Lover’ and ‘The Dedicated Lover’ stories are very insightful when it comes to this. The compassion and distinction that is carried out on this paper focuses on the notion of figurative differences, that is, between The Heartless Lover and The Dedicated Lover in the two stories. They explore the circumstances when love is tried and how fatal it sometimes turns out to be from the storyline.
In the two stories, the topic of love is exploited insightfully in a manner that puts to light the issues that men and women who are stroke with love for each other face. Circumstances that play in the relationships are also well explained therein. A number of them who lacked goodwill finally prove that their love was genuine. In that same vein, the stories explain why and how these issues expose the depth of love the couples have for each other. The stories also expose lovers who engaged in infatuation instead of love. In the occasion of a back fall, the individuals usually opt to abandon their loved ones and run away and in most cases literally.
Social aspirations also form a key factor in determining the way of love. Some parents are very choosy on who should be in love with their children. Economically well off people will not approve of relationship with poor people. This in other terms can be referred to as social stratification, which defines the level of interaction between the different social classes in any given community. In other words, the rich cannot even allow their sons and daughters interact with the poor at their homes.
It is considered an offence to offend your parents, even if the decision you want to take may be having a truth in it. Generally, children who go against the wish of the parents are considered an outcast. To a larger extent, most of them face condemnation as a result of their deviant behavior. However, with time, their decisions prove to be good and genuine. Money cannot earn you good love. It can even waste your life if not well used. People who are lured by money end up regretting and being scorned at by the society for their reckless decisions that lacked wisdom
Why do lovers run away when a challenge comes their way instead of confronting it together as people in love? This question may be answered by the fact that the said heroes are actually non-heroic. In The Dedicated Love story, Pu Fei-yen, when waylaid by her husband during one of their rendezvous escapades, her lover, Chao Hsiang literally runs away leaving the helpless Fei-yen to face the consequences of their adulterous passion. Fei-yen ends up paying for the illicit love with her life. Li, as ‘Heartless Love’ puts it, has traits exactly opposite to this. In ‘A Couple Bound in Life and Death’, Ch’en To-shou still cleans her betrothed husband’ wounds though he is suffering from leprosy. She holds to him as a wedded wife even though her mother proposes cancelling the marriage contract.
Parents prove to be cunning when they condemn their children for deciding to live with courtesans or do something they do not approve. In ‘Heartless Love’, the sacred relationship between fathers and their sons is inviolable. If you leave your father, the whole country will condemn you for being a dissolute and reckless man.Ch’en To-shou’s mother does not approve of what she is doing to her betrothed husband. She doesn’t want an ailing man to be her son in law.
Rising aspirations and social values can ruin a relationship, especially if parents come into the picture. In ‘Heartless Love’, Sun tells Li that her high ranking father cannot approve of their relationship but Li is determined to carry on. She chooses her lover over everything else. A similar situation comes up in ‘A Couple Bound in Life and Death', where Ch’en To-shou clings to her love despite her mother sending signals of doing away with their marriage contract and so their love. Li, in Heartless Love, does not appreciate the wrong heart of Shih-niang. He shows that he knows what’s right or wrong.
Money, if put first, destroys relationships and may put some people, especially women on a wrong track in marriage, as much as it facilitates the well-being of the lovers. The ‘Heartless Lover’ story points out that it was very bad for Sun, in his wickedness, to plot to obtain a beautiful girl for a thousand changes of silver. It finally creates a very bad image of him. He is regarded as wicked for his actions that were not right.
It is sad seeing women make wrong decisions concerning their family life. For instance, in Heartless Love, it was a tragedy for Shih-niang, an extraordinary woman, to waste her affection on Li Chia instead of finding a good man worth her. She was like somebody who rendered bright pearls and rare jade to a blind man.
It is very clear that circumstances can expose some of the least known characters of a person. Nevertheless, it is upon the person to decide what he/she wants. If everybody makes wise decisions in love matters, most problems could have been avoided. True and dedicated love doesn’t come overnight; it comes after so much struggle and challenge. If one indulges in actions that are not worthy, shame awaits him/her. Presents are for people who do good things.
Ma, Lau, Traditional Chinese Stories; Heartless Lover Columbia UP, 1978
Ma, Lau, and Hu, Traditional Chinese Stories; A Couple Bound in Life and Death Lienching, 1979
Ma, Lau, Traditional Chinese Stories; A Dedicated Lover Columbia UP, 1978