Perseverance In Ting Ling's A Certain Night

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Persecution for believing in something is nothing new. One place that holds this stigma is China, where it is evident that the government does not want the people to have free will. In her story, “A Certain Night,” Ting Ling writes about her husband’s tragic death. Ting Ling conveys that her husband died a martyr. In the story, her husband’s struggle conveys that he and his comrades were helping a movement. What do these themes have in common? They both deal with perseverance. In her story, Ling employs expressive imagery, abundant instances of symbolism, and foreboding words to produce a feeling of perseverance. Due to her story being in media res, Ling is able to create examples of imagery instantly. For example, when the prisoners are being led out to their doom, the weather seems to be against them. The onslaught of “cold [winter] wind” (532) made them “all shiver in their hearts, but they tramped on” (532). Readers…show more content…
For instance, in the beginning, Ling lends insight as to how the prisoners perceive their captors. The executioners are described as having “cunning faces, malicious and smug” and a face “with a revolting moustache(sic) of the sort imperialists wear” (532). Thoughtful readers understand that this symbolizes the Nationalists as being cruel and evil. On the other hand, the prisoners are described as being handsome, to show them as the heroes. Due to these differences in appearances, the cruelty of the Nationalists is revealed. In addition, near the end, Ling hits readers with a simply powerful question. She questions, “When will it be light?” (536). Readers are puzzled at this poignant question. However, if they dig deep into the meaning, they understand that Ling is questioning when the violence and suffering will end. By employing symbolism, Ling is able to instill the fact that perseverance in the face of adversity is a far superior choice than giving
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