Questions for Ding Ling

Greetings all,

Here are some potential discussion questions for our meeting this afternoon.

1.  How do the various characters perform modernism?  In the text, is modernism the condition of urban life, or is it the product of conscious action?

2.  What is the status of open space within Shanghai?  Why does the text oppose urban space to the rural?

3.  Why does the text feature jarring shifts in the point-of-view (particularly in the first half)? Is this expressive of an aesthetic modernism, imposing an artificial unity on the text?

4.  What is desired in the text?  Do these desires reflect the individual commitments of the characters, or do they point to a shared need brought on by urban existence?

5. How modern are the relationships described in the text?  Does the performance of gender deviate from more traditional Chinese models (or in the case of The Goddess, more contemporary models)?  How does gender define the projects availbale to the characters?