A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is a narrative about individuality, civilization, misinterpretations and how we perceive the universe around us entirely through the agencies of linguistic communication and vocabulary. Zhuang, who is the author of this fresh depicts her journey as a immature adult females from rural Chine into the Western universe, where she tries to larn the linguistic communication and grok love and grief in its English version. The defining of character ‘s individuality begins at the really get downing with the incoherent Englishmans who can non articulate her name, so she calls herself Z. in short. The novel is besides approximately cultural and gender differences between Chinese and English and what it means to be one of these civilizations. More than anything the heroine relies on her little Concise Chinese-English Dictionary to ab initio understand people. This finally turns into a humourous and dry state of affairss, where words ‘ significance express the universe around us.
The plot line traces how Z. progresses with her grammar, vocabulary and understanding and how this is invigorated by an intense love affair with a adult male who she met at the film. Looking up the words on the dictionary merely provide a general thought of what they stand for, frequently Z. could non explicate what they really mean. The devouring love affair she got involved with seems assuring at the beginning. Her fellow is 44-year-old, hippy, bisexual vegetarian and lives in Hackney, as a typical western adult male he does non wish to discourse his feelings. Cultural and gender misinterpretation can destroy the relationship even between the tenderest lovers. This is what Z. tries to pass on to the readers. Z. is truly baffled by the Western civilisation. She explains “ Chinese, we non holding grammar. We stating things simple manner. No verb-change use, no tense differences, no gender alterations. We foremans of our linguistic communication ” ( 24 ) . This is the first clip that we are introduced to the fact that in Chinese linguistic communication they do non distinguish between the genders.
Z. besides notes another lingual difference. “ English is a sexist linguistic communication aˆ¦ ever speaking about adult males, no adult females ” ( 26 ) . We may state that this observation places Z. and her individuality within the context of Chinese civilization. Z ‘s position for a relationship or what constitutes the spouse ‘s behavior is instead conservative when compared to the western positions. The Chinese individuality does non let Z. to be a free adult female. This is culturally embedded and she can non opportunity her attitude. She is invariably cognizant of the fact that there is ever some distance between her and the adult male she is in relationship with. “ You a adult male of free universe. I am non free, like you ” ( 113 ) .
The readers are shown that gender autonomies are non allowed in China and that adult females are restricted. Z. is good cognizant of her societal and economic standing excessively. She is coming from a developing state where traditions rule the rural countries every bit good as the societal and cultural life in China. “ In the West, in this state, I am barbaric, illiterate provincial miss, a face of 3rd universe, and irresponsible alien ” ( 153 ) . What needs to be mentioned here is that there is a difference between how the English see the Chinese and frailty versa. The Chinese miss is seen as hapless, barbarian and uneducated. The English on the other manus are perceived as grandiloquent and reserved.
Z. compares and concludes that those persons who control their lives and people with self-respect. “ You are boss of yourself, so you have dignity ” ( 184 ) . Man holding the freedom to make as he wishes, is the maestro of his life, hence possesses the aristocracy that others do non hold. Sadly, as it might be this is the world that Z. experiences. To an extent she is a victim of her ain cultural biass and judgmental observations. Throughout the novel we can witness that Z. progresses non merely in her vocabulary, but besides in constructing up her personality, as an grownup and as a Chinese adult female. At the terminal she admits that England is the state where she became big and among her major finds are her sex experiences. Z. ‘s fellow loves her, with joy and energy, but it becomes obvious that they have unsurmountable differences – chiefly in their cultural, rational, and societal background.
To Z. as a adult female with Chinese individuality love is a common act. This is a committedness that eradicates privateness and for case gives her the right to read her fellow ‘s journals and permits her to be honest about it and tells him so. In a general sense it is in adult female ‘s nature to want love in the sense of making a place, kids, household. These are per se related to the strong household ties in Chinese civilization and they are passed as cultural heritage from coevals to coevals. It besides establishes the conservative stance that Z. is retracing during her stay in England. Love to Z. is non merely committedness but it is security, because it is accomplished as a community action.
The adult male Z. has fallen in love with is more insouciant. He is twice her age, he is a hippy and a Bohemian kind of adult male. He believes to be an creative person who is floating through life and thinks that “ the hereafter merely comes when it comes ” . Therefore, he is a adult male who is non believing about household and place, he lives twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours, nil stopping points everlastingly. As a adult male he values his independency and love for him every bit indispensable every bit long as it encompasses the cherished minute that today gives, non the passing promises of the hereafter and tomorrow. Lust, shortly becomes an issue for Z. since this perceptual experience was non developed in her Chinese cultural individuality. Z. begins to larn the potency for the sexual yearning and the demand to keep it.
The two lovers literary occupy diametrically opposite life styles, point of views and perceptual experiences, because they belong to different civilizations, linguistic communications and esthesiss. This defines the relationship between Z. and her fellow and helps Z. theodolite into maturity, every bit good as to locate herself on the societal, gender and individuality continuum. The unidentified Englishman, who is unable to perpetrate to a place, household to steadily take his sexual orientation and who does non be after to perpetrate at all in his relationship with Z. seems to be the stereotype of Western males seen through Z. ‘s position. Her inability to grok her fellow mirrors the failure to hold on what English civilization is all approximately. Her lover ‘s weaknesss – chiefly his ultimate self-absorption, mindless intervention to Z, merely demonstrates Z. ‘s observations that Western civilization is preoccupied with the single ego, lacks community feeling or belonging and interconnectedness between people.
Throughout the book it seems that Z. change her sentiment about what is means to be adult female, because she discovers the difference that English and Chinese civilizations, beliefs and values store for their gender function, society and individualities. The significance in those alterations matter insofar that she begins to build different thoughts about Western gender functions and Chinese. Her gender and individuality modify throughout the book. The alterations begin at the really get downing when she introduces herself as Z. It seems that she is following the stating “ When in Rome, do as Romans. ” However, it is hard to life a singled our life as a Chinese miss in a Western society. You are expected to go one of them. Something which Z. is non willing to make. This besides shows that she is cognizant of her individuality differences and she appreciated them. Merely when she moved off from China to analyze English linguistic communication, did she admit that she keeps her ain sense of individuality as a adult female and Chinese and as an person. Cultural and lingual differences are of primary importance for the finding of gender functions. “ Chinese we get downing sentence from construct of clip or topographic point ” ( 51 ) whereas in the English linguistic communication the individual ever comes foremost.
The writer bases her book on several constructs – adult females ‘s individuality in the West and Asia, cultural differences and linguistic communication barriers. In understanding Z. ‘s point of position we have to see her cultural background, the gender function that adult females play in China and how she journeys through her gender in a Western sort of mode. Most significantly the functions that gender and gender played in Z. ‘s life determined her attitude, behaviour, norms, values and individuality.