What are the themes in Regret for the Past by Lu Xun?

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Denying Women Economic Opportunity Leads to Their Dependence on Men

Juansheng constantly describes Zijun as "childlike," and she even names their dog Ahsui, which means "follow." Because she has no opportunity to earn money (and money is so necessary to a person's livelihood, success, and independence), she can never find...

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Denying Women Economic Opportunity Leads to Their Dependence on Men

Juansheng constantly describes Zijun as "childlike," and she even names their dog Ahsui, which means "follow." Because she has no opportunity to earn money (and money is so necessary to a person's livelihood, success, and independence), she can never find her own fulfillment. She can never be truly independent, so she must follow her male partner. It is tragic that this initially strong woman is reduced to a weakling, someone who is utterly dependent on her partner because society denies her the opportunity to support herself or contribute financially to the support of her household.

Breaking Society's Rules Leads to Social Alienation

The young couple decides to move in together without getting married first, causing a number of problems that lead to financial ruin. First they are shunned by many of their former friends and family members, and then the narrator, Juansheng, even loses his job as a result of their choice to live together while unmarried. Juansheng and Zijun are turned away, not even allowed to rent certain places to live, because of their choice. Because they have broken one of society's moral codes, they are ostracized by society.

Men Have the Tools to Rebound from Economic Hardship, While Women Do Not

When Juansheng loses his job because he has moved in with a woman who is not his wife, he immediately comes up with ideas to support himself and Zijun. He even begins to experience some meager success as a translator for a local publication. Juansheng thinks of himself as a bird that was formerly caged and has now been given his wings back; he can achieve a freedom he did not have before. However, the reverse seems to happen to Zijun, who cannot support herself and must depend on Juansheng.

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