Loving relationships and structure in Young Shen Nong Essay

Loving relationships and structure in Young Shen Nong In Mr. DungKai-Cheung’s story “The Young Shen Nong”, not only do the two characters Shen Nong and Lei portray us a fantastic story with a whole series of adventures, but also a romantic and exotic love story that may confuse the readers whether what real love is.

In this essay, I attempt to discuss the loving relationships and how they are portrayed in the story by the structure of the text.First, the loving relationship in “Young Shen Nong” seems to be doubtful and unsure. In Part I of the story, Shen Nong mentioned that Lei carried him after he tried some herbs and fell on the grass, “Without another word, she tossed aside her straw hat and hoisted me onto her back.” The whole action portrayed Lei as a kind-hearted girl and may even have admired Shen Nong enough to carry such a stranger for miles on her back. However, in Part II of the story, what Lei narrated was that it was herself who “leapt clumsily and twisted her ankle.” Then, it was Shen Nong who carried Lei, “He had some medicine to relieve the bruising and could piggy-back me over.” The whole reversal of the action makes readers wonder how trust-worthy is Shen Nong.

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Therefore, when the loving relationship is told by one person only, it may be biased and untrue. Mr. Dung may want to show us that loving relationship is subjective when being narrated because that person may try to embellish the story and make it a perfect relationship in his own perspective. Using a double narrative, readers can get a clearer picture by combining both sides’ descriptionsSecond, the loving relationship in “Young Shen Nong” seems to be unstable. In the whole Part I, Shen Nong seemed to say that the relationship between Lei and him is perfect and long-lasting.

Lei once asked Shen Nong, “If I were to drown here, would you cry?” Shen Nong responded and said, “I would dive into the deepest pool with you.” This made Lei really touched and told Shen Nong not to make such promises. In Part I, both Shen Nong and Lei seemed to love each other so much that they are willing to search for the ultimate poison to die together. The commitment between Shen Nong and Lei is strong.

However, with double narrative again, the equilibrium of their lifelong loving relationship is completely destroyed. In Part II, Lei tested Shen Nong but asking him “If I said I was HIV positive, would you regret sleeping with me?” and Shen Nong responded “No.” certainly. This made Lei guilty and touched at the same time.

However, the test by Lei is actually a sign of insecurity and unstableness.If Lei already felt safe and could depend on Shen Nong, the test is totally unnecessary. It seemed that Shen Nong was the more devoted one and loved unrequitedly compared to Lei. However, the test by Lei is actually a sign of insecurity and unstableness. Therefore, the equilibrium in Part I is to be broken in Part II to show the disequilibrium of their relationship. Even Shen Nong sounded so confident and devoted to that relationship, it may not be what he expected. Again, Mr.

Dung may try to show that in love relationships there will be different tests and difficulties that may break the original harmonies into fragments.Besides from the contrasts in Part I and Part II, there are in fact many similarities in two parts of the story. Towards the ends of both parts of the story, the narrator lost his/ her loved one. In Part I, “Early next morning I buried Lei at the foot of Mount Guiji. I sat before her grave weeping, stupefied, unable to understand why I hadn’t died as well.

” In Part II, Shen Nong suffered from food poisoning, Lei’s eyes “grew moist, the words clouded over—then finally faded to nothing.” Both of them sobbed for their lovers’ death/danger and echo each part’s ending. What’s more is that there is a shift in mindset.

In Part I of the story, after Lei died, Shen Nong was so depressed that he said “My world no longer existed; I no longer existed. All that existed was Shen Nong of the ancient books.” Shen Nong seemed to question his own identity when Lei died; it seemed that Lei was already part of his life and the evidence to show his existence that when she died, he would lose identity as well.

For Lei in Part II, when Shen Nong was sent to hospital, she told the paramedic that “But he’s Shen Nong! He can’t die like this!” It contrasted before when she was fed up because Shen Nong really treated himself as the legend Shen Nong when he was seen as a screwball in others’ eyes.The change in these two people’s attitude may show that the disequilibrium in love relationships can really turn their world upside down and even agree some concepts that they never accepted before. The paradigmatic structure of the two parts link the story back together and this resemblance can convince the readers how these two lovers treasure each other in the end. In “The Young Shen Nong”, the theme of loving relationships between Shen Nong and Lei is portrayed through their actions and the structure of the story. The double narrative structure can let the readers rethink the trust-worthiness of some love relationships being described by a single person, while the equilibrium and disequilibrium shows the unstable relationship between the lovers. Finally, the paradigmatic structure shows the similarities and closeness of the lovers. By using such sophisticated structure, Mr.

Dung successfully portray the theme of love relationships to readers.


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