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Night in Shanghai
The forgotten story of black musicians in the Chinese jazz age, and a...
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Thomas and Song faced danger, took chances, made mistakes, and refashioned their original circumstances into new lives. Do you think both succeeded? And was it worth it?

Created: 01/11/15

Replies: 5

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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Thomas and Song faced danger, took chances, made mistakes, and refashioned their original circumstances into new lives. Do you think both succeeded? And was it worth it?

According to Dave Brubeck, "There's a way of playing safe, there's a way of using tricks, and there's the way I like to play, which is dangerously, where you're going to take a chance on making mistakes in order to create something you haven't created before." Thomas and Song faced danger, took chances, made mistakes, and refashioned their original circumstances into new lives. Do you think both succeeded? And was it worth it?


Posted Jan. 14, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindah

Join Date: 04/17/14

Posts: 90

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RE: Thomas and Song faced danger, took chances, made mistakes, and refashioned their original circumstances into new lives. Do you think both succeeded? And was it worth it?

Thomas clearly succeeded in maturing as a musician and a man, better equipped for a return to life in the United States where he may have gone into service in WWII, likely married and contined a rich and full life. Song's decision to set aside her love for Thomas and own desires for the "betterment of her country" ultimately didn't play out as well. She trusted her facility with languages and instinctive ability to teach would be appreciated and used to educate the youth of tomorrow but was betrayed by a distrust of western influence and independent thinking.


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

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 285

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RE: Thomas and Song faced danger, took chances, made mistakes, and refashioned their original circumstances into new lives. Do you think both succeeded? And was it worth it?

I wonder how Thomas's life turned out, since it's left to our imagination. In Shanghai, he experienced a freedom that was unknown to a black man in the US in the 1940s. I imagine it was worth it to him to have expanded his horizons however briefly, but I think coming back to the US had to have been challenging for him. I think the chance Song took to escape her situation in Shanghai was definitely worth it, but I'm not sure about her subsequent choices. I wonder if it's ever worth it to align oneself with a cause; too often that cause disappoints.


Posted Jan. 22, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

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RE: Thomas and Song faced danger, took chances, made mistakes, and refashioned their original circumstances into new lives. Do you think both succeeded? And was it worth it?

In their own way, each succeeded, though Song was betrayed by her cause (or by what she perceived to be her cause) and not recognizing that her potential contribution as a linguist and teacher wouldn't be valued. Hard to say whether it was worth it for her; my opinion is that in the long run it wasn't. For Thomas, I think it probably was worth it, and in my imagination, his broadened horizons from his time in Shanghai helped him achieve a successful life back in the US as he met and overcame new challenges.


Posted Jan. 29, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Sharlene

Join Date: 04/10/13

Posts: 78

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RE: Thomas and Song faced danger, took chances, made mistakes, and refashioned their original circumstances into new lives. Do you think both succeeded? And was it worth it?

I feel that they both succeeded but both had to sacrifice many things that were important to them.


Posted Jan. 30, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kathleenb

Join Date: 09/14/12

Posts: 72

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RE: Thomas and Song faced danger, took chances, made mistakes, and refashioned their original circumstances into new lives. Do you think both succeeded? And was it worth it?

I think they both succeeded with there goals but it was not worth it for Song in the end. Thomas was given the opportunity to blossom as a man without the restrictions of race in Shanghai. He learned so much more about jazz while there that he could take home with him. I think it would have been a jolt to his system going back to the racial injustice back home. I was disappointed that Song didn't give Thomas money for his new life at home. But Songs life in prison was a horrible ending to the story.


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