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Night in Shanghai
The forgotten story of black musicians in the Chinese jazz age, and a...
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Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

Created: 01/11/15

Replies: 12

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

"He lost himself in his dreams of Song, but in his rational moments, he was aware of life slipping away" (211). Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for her? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song? Explain.


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

Join Date: 01/12/15

Posts: 4

RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

Obviously, Song makes the greatest sacrifice. The sad thing is that by sacrificing her love to a "higher ideal"--in this case, her belief in communism--she condemns herself to a life in prison (literally).


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

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 83

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RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

Song knew the risks she chose to take; however Thomas kept waiting for her to join him. Thomas had the greater sacrifice...the unknown.


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

Join Date: 04/17/14

Posts: 90

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RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

No, Thomas may have waited for Song but he really had very little choice. His savings were not safe and evaporated and he lacked the financial means to leave China. By staying, his life altered but he was able to positively impact the lives of the Jewish musicians he became acquainted with and helped save lives. Song made the ultimate sacrifice to the cause she came to doubt but still fervently believed in.


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

Join Date: 07/04/11

Posts: 16

RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

Well, they both sacrificed a lot in waiting. I think in the end Song sacrifices more than Thomas. We know she did. We know what happened to her. She didn't think she was sacrificing that much, but she saw soon enough, yet Song stayed. Whatever Thomas sacrifices in Shanghai by going back to America, he has the diamonds. He can go to other places, to play jazz. By staying he saved many Jewish lives thereby saving a part of himself.


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

Join Date: 09/16/11

Posts: 165

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RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

Waiting is one of the hardest tasks we ever perform. Both Thomas and Song lost time but they also gained during their times apart. Thomas grew as a musician. He learned how to handle respect. He helped other musicians. Song grew as an intelligent woman. Her decision to stay behind was based on an ideal. She did the best she could with the information she had.


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

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 58

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RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

I do not think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song. Shanghai was the first place and time where he was treated with respect and dignity. What was he going to go back to in the US for - to be a second class citizen. In Shanghai he felt he had a purpose and was accepted for who he was and in Shanghai.

Song also had to find her place in her world. While Song did have an "idealized" view of the role she would play in the Communist structure - every time it looked like she would see "reality" something happened that revitalized her faith in the Communist regime. Song was smart enough to know that she had to pave her own way and how she held onto the diamonds until the absolute last minute.


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

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 285

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RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

No, it doesn't really seem like he sacrificed much at all by waiting for her. He didn't seem like he was inclined to leave regardless of how bad things got in Shanghai. I certainly think Song made the greater sacrifice. She willingly abandoned the man she loved to enter a war zone - and surely she'd heard stories about how Japanese soldiers treated the Chinese, so even her ability to rejoin the Communists would have been in doubt.


Posted Jan. 15, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
francinee

Join Date: 07/25/14

Posts: 14

RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

I don't think Thomas sacrificed as much as Song did. He seemed to have a better life in China. He was not subjected to the segregation and mores of the Deep South. He was well paid for his orchestration and he continued to grow as a musician. Song's influence enabled him to grow even more musically. He was starting to improvise! In the end, Song made the greater sacrifice. She enabled Thomas and his musician friends to return home by her generous gift of the diamonds and she gave her life for her ideals.


Posted Jan. 15, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeanettel

Join Date: 01/05/12

Posts: 53

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RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

In waiting for Song Thomas experiences some of the tragedies of war. The beginning of the takeover of Shanghai by the Japanese, the arrival of the Jews running from Hitler and their poverty as they had to leave everything behind, he also had to face his own reality that he would starve if he did not find a job. In reality Thomas did not have the funds necessary to return to the State anyway.
Song on the other hand can finally make her own decisions realizing her worth as a foreign educated Chinese woman who can also speak English and is a perfect translator. Her decision is the hardest because even though she loves Thomas with all her heart she also loves China, she is an idealist she feels she cannot leave the cause yet whereas she knows that Thomas would be killed if he stays, so her last act of love for him is to get him out of Shanghai.


Posted Jan. 16, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 86

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RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

Thomas did not have the money to leave, but I don't think he knew how long he would be waiting, or that Song might not leave. There was no place for him in her China so I am not sure what he was waiting for. Song knew she was torn between her love for Thomas and her commitment to the ideals of the Party. I think f she had truly loved him she should have given him a diamond at the first and let him get to safety. She then could have followed or not at her choice.

Whatever experiences Thomas had were wonderful for the novel, but making him wait in poverty, almost starvation and probable danger did not strike me as terribly loving.


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

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

Thomas chose the way he felt at that moment. His love for Song was worth his sacrifice, he realized life wasn't going to be easy and his future with Song questionable. I feel deep down inside he new what a risk he was taking and how it wasn't going to end in his is favor despite his hopes and dreams. He waited and waited and his ending was written. During his turbulent times, he never thought of leaving, rather surviving and waiting for Song, the man was in love with a woman remaining elusive. BOTH sacrificed equally. One free. One imprisoned.


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

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 31

RE: Do you think Thomas sacrifices too much in waiting for Song? In the end, who makes the greatest sacrifice, Thomas or Song?

I think they made their own choices. They stayed true to themselves and what they believed in. I really didn't see them as making sacrifices. Thomas went through some tough times but I didn't see it as just him waiting for Song. He had no money so he couldn't leave and by staying he was able to help his friends. He wouldn't leave until he knew everyone who could leave, would leave. Also when Song decided to stay, that came as no surprise to me. She was committed to the Communist party and the more time that went by, I knew she would never leave. I think she knew, even after being imprisoned, that she had more freedom than she would have had any other way. In her mind, she was always free (p.271)


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