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Obsession with the past: Love Cannot be Forgotten

The essay Love Cannot Be Forgotten has been written by Zhang Jie and explores the author’s present as a reflection of her past (Jie). In the essay Love Cannot Be Forgotten, Zhang Jie begins by narrating to the reader perhaps one of her most deepest insecurities when she tells the reader that she has come to an age where women are expected to establish matrimonial binds with any man she can manage to get and should not be choosy in this regard.

However, Zhang Jie seems to be in a state of mind where her perceptions are not only founded in the fundamentals that she learned from her mother as a child but it appears that her regard towards her past is deep rooted to an extent such that even the process of the evolution of her perceptions is heavily influenced by the thoughts, memories and recollections of her past. The author begins by stepping into the first of many fragments of her past when she relates her newfound suitor to the Greek sculptor The Discus Thrower by Myron.

As she continues, one cannot help but see a pattern in her life and her narration in which she appears to be rationalizing and justifying her actions in light of the lessons she had learned from her past. The reader can see that even when she chooses to take a decision that is independent of her past, she almost always ends up in a paradox through which she has to struggle in order to gain ground for her decision. A little farther into the essay, Zhang Jie shows an incredible degree of reliance on her mother and her mother’s character.

This can be taken to be one of the elements that has influenced her recent past and continues to influence her ever more so in her present. For instance, her decision to not marry her suitor, Qiao Lin, seems to be dicated to quite an extent from her mother’s words to her in her younger days: “If you don’t know exactly what you want, I think you are much better off staying single than getting married with no idea why. ” (Jie 94)

Not only are Zhang Jie’s decisions appear to be influenced by the perceptions she observed her mother to harbor during her childhood days but there also seems to be a considerable degree of awe towards elements of her mother’s perceptions that she did not manage to comprehend until later in life. For instance, the reader can see how the evolution of Zhang Jie’s thought process evolved into one that was quite reminiscent of her mother’s after her mother passed away when she states that: “Some of her instructions – the ones that had to do with that set of books entitled Love Cannot Be Forgotten, I haven’t.

I cannot make myself get rid of it. ” (Jie 97) It is at this point, when the author states the line quoted above, that the reader realizes exactly how heavily the author is influenced by her past. Even more so astonishing is the fact that as a result of her high degree of attribution to the past, by the end of the essay author’s frame of mind seems to have evolved into the same contortion that her mother possessed. Works Cited Jie, Zhang. “Love Cannot Be Forgotten. ” Siu, Helen F. and Zelda Stern. Mao’s Harvest: Voices from China’s New Generation. Oxford University Press, 1985. 92-106.

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