Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
Night in Shanghai
The forgotten story of black musicians in the Chinese jazz age, and a...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

Created: 01/11/15

Replies: 7

Posted Jan. 11, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1303

Expert

Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

"I was reborn first through the movement, and then again, through him. After our time together I knew, no matter where the two of us were, that while he lived, I would never be alone. I knew I would return to him. But just as much, I knew I needed to go north" (180). Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions? What do you think would have happened to them, and to their feelings for each other, if they had chosen differently?


Posted Jan. 12, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 70

Expert

RE: Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

They made the choices without thinking through the consequences; however, they were willing to accept the results without complaining.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindah

Join Date: 04/17/14

Posts: 90

Expert

RE: Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

Song made the decision she believed best for her and best for her country. On the eve of World War I no one could foresee that Mao's Communist China would even be victorious in the power struggle with the Nationalists let alone that they would turn against the intellectuals. The worst oppressions of the "Cultural Revolution" were decades ahead. Song was idealistic and blindly loyal to her country. Thomas definitely made the right decision in boarding that last ship to San Francisco. He understood Song's dedication to the political changes and was pragmatic and sensible to seize the opportunity to leave Shanghai. I think if he had chosen to remain in Shanghai, he would likely have been imprisoned or killed and they would have been in greater danger together. If Song had accompanied him to America, they would have been ostracized and faced racial prejudice.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

Posts: 165

Expert

RE: Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

Thomas and Song made the best decisions they could with the available information. Song was independent for the first time and making decisions for herself. Of course she has to stay with the Communist movement. Thomas had no other choice but to get on the boat. I would love a follow-up novel on him and how he fared back in the US. The diamonds would help, but respect and full rights were decades away. Did he fight in WWII? I'd like to have the rest of the story.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beverlyj

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 49

RE: Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

As others have stated, Thomas and Song thought they were making the best decisions for themselves based on the information that they knew, current conditions, and how they thought they fit into the world. Thomas avoided the decision to leave for the US until the very last minute, and probably would have not made the decision to leave unless Song said she was going to leave also. (Plus we really did not have the money to leave).

Song wanted to make a difference in her country - and certainly could not foresee that anyone in the next couple of years how the tide would turn against educated people and those with connections to the Western way of life.


Posted Jan. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 279

Expert

RE: Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

Actually, I don't think Song made the right decision. I can't imagine any cause that is worth giving up love for. She had options - she could have come back after the war, she could have found ways to help the cause from overseas - and in the grand scheme of things, the Communists really weren't permitting her to live up to her potential anyway. True, love may have died, but personally between the two I'd be much more inclined to give love the benefit of the doubt than a cause.


Posted Jan. 18, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

Expert

RE: Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

I believe their choices suited them individually. We read of their thoughts, feelings, anguish. Deep down they knew each other well enough to know what was going to happen. No surprises. I believe they both respected the others choices and beliefs.


Posted Jan. 19, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christinep

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 31

RE: Many people struggle to find a balance between love and self-actualization. Do you think Thomas and Song made the right decisions?

I agree with mal. They knew each other well and knew deep down that they weren't going to have a future together. I think when Shanghai fell they knew their lives together were over. We know Song was at peace with her decision and from what we know of Thomas, he was too. The author gave us lots of insight into how they thought and felt and what was important to them individually.


Reply

Please login to post a response.