Monday, July 25, 2011
Summary: Whatever you think the title of this short story means, you will be wrong. “Chastity” refers to the heroic effort of young widows to persevere as widows and not to marry again. Outside the village is a series of arches dedicated to local heroes like scholars and heroic young widows who had persisted as widows.
Mrs. Wen was told that she was going to be given an arch of chastity dedicated to her as a persevering young widow for many years. But widowhood had been difficult. She had had a daughter who was now mature and ready for marriage. When her daughter Meihua married the captain, she was now even more lonely than ever.
She had a faithful gardener, “Old” Chang who toiled steadily at his duties. In spite of his nickname, “Old” Chang was young. Mrs. Wen proceeded to seduce him into marrying her and adopting Mrs. Wen’s name to carry on the name of Wen. Although the rest of the clan was disappointed that she would not receive the arch of chastity, her daughter and the captain were very happy that Mrs. Wen and “Old” Change would be married. They were happy that she would at last fulfill herself as the young woman she was.
Comment: Lady Chatterley’s Lover. DH Lawrence. RayS.
Famous Chinese Short Stories. Re-told by Lin Yutang. New York: The Pocket Library. 1954.