Welcome to the World Wide Web Home page of Road to East Asia
Written by students of FC1750.06
at Founders College, York University
Vol.2, no. 1 November, 1996
The narrator works as a make-up artist in a funeral home and seldom finds a friend who appreciates her profession. She blames whatever goes wrong on fate -- a mighty force solely responsible for all her misfortune. Yet she contradicts herself when she describes her brother's relationship with his lover and how they are separated for ignoble reasons. She censures them for failing to redirect the course of events when it takes a turn for the worse although they have acted just as she does herself, surrendering to random occurrences without a fight. She is being hypocritical, and wavers between two contradictory opinions of fate as a power beyond man's control.
The make-up artist repeatedly says that she doesn't deserve to be loved. "It really isn't right for a girl like me to have any love affairs" (p. 107), she reiterates several times throughout the story. While she seems to have given up any chances of having a lasting relationship with Xia despite her strong attachment to him, she denounces anyone who does not fight for love when she tells the tale of a young couple who committed suicide for love. "[A] man who lacked the courage to fight against Fate was not even worth a second glance" (p. 110), she says.
If she is honest with Xia, he may understand her situation and may even appreciate her artistic talents. Because of her passivity, she has banished herself to a funeral home, forever embellishing dead people. None of her friends accept her when they know about her job. She wants, as any young woman does, to have a man in her life, but having abandoned herself to fate, she will continue to live in Aunt Yifen's shadow and play a game of solitarie in total silence. She stagnates in a world without love.
Xi Xi. "A Girl Like Me." Trans.Rachel May and Zhu Zhiyu.
Trees on the Mountain.