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Love in a Fallen City Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 58 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Love in a Fallen City.
This section contains 490 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Love in a Fallen City Summary & Study Guide Description

Love in a Fallen City Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang.

The following version of the novel was used to create this study guide: Chang, Eileen. Love in a Fallen City. NYRB Classics, October 10, 2006. Kindle.

In the collection of stories, Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang, Chang writes about the intricacies of life as the Chinese customs attempt to keep time with the rapidly changing culture in China. The rich and powerful families of the land are suffering as their wealth and power diminishes. The rules of love and marriage, as well as the rules of proper behavior for women, are developing as the country modernizes. The changes are creating a rift between the generations.

In “Aloeswood Incense: The First Brazier,” Ge Weilong tries to look after her own interests by arranging to stay with her estranged aunt so she can finish her schooling. Instead, Weilong gets pulled into the trap of love and finds herself working as a willing prostitute in order to support her husband. The short story “Jasmine Tea,” presents the character of Nie Chuanqing, a young man who is the sad result of an arranged marriage in which there was no love. Chuanqing discovers he knows the daughter of the man his mother did love. He drives himself to attack this girl in anger when he allows himself to get lost in his ideas of what his life might have been like if his mother had married differently.

In the novella “Love in a Fallen City,” Bai Liusu and Fan Liuyuan learn the true nature of love after everything they have is destroyed in the bombing of Hong Kong during World War II. The next novella, “The Golden Cangue,” features Ts’ao Ch’i-ch’iao, a woman who makes herself a scourge to both her biological family and to the family she married into by complaining of mistreatment. When Ch’i-ch’iao is widowed and able to live on her own with her children she ruins even her children’s hopes for happy lives. She dies knowing that she is hated but still believing that she has been the one wronged in all situations.

In the short story “Sealed Off,” Lu Zongzhen’s attempt to avoid a distasteful relative who wants to marry Zongzhen’s daughter, results in an encounter in which Zongzhen rethinks his entire life. An intense love grows between the lonely Zongzhen and lonelier Wu Cuiyuan in which Zongzhen briefly considers taking Cuiyuan as a concubine and the modest Cuiyuan considers accepting his offer. The final novella, “Red Rose, White Rose” depicts Zhenbao, a man determined to be in charge of his own life. Despite his desire to create his own perfect world, Zhenbao finds himself in a life he is unable to control but also unable to destroy. He tries to compensate by destroying himself, a response that has the opposite impact on his life, prompting him to return to being the good man he was before.

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This section contains 490 words
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