I read an (untitled) short story: the first chapter of 《听你的》 (full text is here), and I don't feel I fully understand the plot. Here's my summarization:

The main character "you" (unnamed) is generally happy with mediocrity. You work a simple job with all of your family members. At work, you develop a friendship with your workmate "glasses". As your work improves, you are sent on a business trip for three months. When you return you hear about a promotion and you think you will get it, but you don't get the promotion: "glasses" gets the promotion because of his schmoozing while you were away. You are hurt, accept your mediocrity, and slowly lose contact with "glasses".

"I" (unnamed) would be regarded as having a more interesting life, and would be safe from backstabbing like with "glasses", but it also feels full of loneliness, so I envy your life's simplicity. Indeed, most people are unhappy with their lives. After graduation, you stayed and I went to Beijing; I enjoy my life, but I would also enjoy your life. Whether something brings happiness or pain, it's part of life's journey, and we cannot control it. But we still compare our lives with others and we want to "win".

But even if everyone in the world abandons you, I love you.

I'm not sure what the message here is, perhaps it's something like: bad things happen, but it's part of life's journey. I'm not a native Chinese speaker, so I feel like my reading is too literal (A happens. Then B happens.). I hope someone can help me understand the "take home" message here.

Question: What is the underlying message of the first story of 听你的?

  • 4
    Welcome to Literature! :-) Nice to see some new chinese-literature here.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 8, 2021 at 12:59
  • From your summary, it seems more like life is tradeoffs, the world is unfair, but we should still look for the good things within our own life. 天天快樂 (tiāntiān kāixīn) is a bedrock Chinese expression and repeated ad nauseum as a theme. As such, unique point here is the expression of solidarity and agape from the narrative voice.
    – lly
    Jun 18, 2023 at 5:58


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