Abuse is a common problem today. It has always been around, but it used to be a secret. And the law wouldn't help the woman because "a man's home is his castle" was the rule. What he did inside his home was nobody else's business. Things have changed now. People are aware of abuse. In some states the police must answer calls for help immediately and by law, they must arrest the man. I know a woman whose husband came home drunk in the middle of the night when she and her four daughters were sleeping. He set the house on fire. Then he woke her up. He said, "Lady, you better wake up. Your f-ing house is on fire!" She got up in time to put the fire out.
She says that is when she realized that their lives were in real danger. Eventually, she got away from him. She didn't have to kill him to escape.
4. Mo Yan's Shifu, "You'll Do Anything for a Laugh" is a story about a man who has worked hard all his life. Just before he is to retire, he gets laid off. The factory closes. He has no job. He's too old to do physical work, but he has to survive. He has a wife to support. He gets the idea to convert an old bus into a "love nest." He rents it by the hour to lovers looking for a place to have sex. Old Ding makes a lot of money. But his conscience bothers him. What he is doing is not exactly wrong, but it's borderline. Everyday we are confronted with temptations that are borderline. We can get away with it, but is it right? His assistant gives him all the reasons why it is okay to do. At the end of the story it is winter. He rents the place one last time to a couple. They never come out of the love-nest. He pounds and hollers at the door.
He fears they have killed themselves. Finally, he goes to the police (his assistant's cousin). They have no trouble opening the door. The find the place empty. Old Ding says the couple must have been spirits. I think the couple represents his conscience at war with him. When we do things that go against our principles, perhaps in a spiritual way, we are "killing ourselves" because we silence our conscience, which is the voice of God speaking to us. If we won't listen to God, who is the Life-giver, we opt for anti-Life or death. Ding's first customer said the love-nest looked like an iron coffin. In the story it's a symbol of death -- the death of Ding's illusions, ideals. He went by the rules. He worked hard all his life thinking he would be rewarded. With the loss of his job, he lost his belief in the government, the system, and justice.
5. In Chapter 8 of the Shadow of the Wind by Garlos Ruiz Zafon, Miguel gives his life for his old friend Julian. It seems a noble thing too do. But not too noble because Miguel is dying from his disease and has only a month or two to live anyway. Although that is the action, the chapter really seems to be about the human desire for getting a second chance at life, this time to do things right. Julian's father, for example, believes that if he can help his son find Penelope Aldaya, some of his own pain and regrets about the past will go away. He hadn't appreciated his wife until she was gone. Now he is sorry. We often don't appreciate what we have until we lose it: "...it seemed to Julian that the hatter had put off falling in love with his wife until after he had lost her" (p. 407).
The hatter (Julian's father) has his son back and is anxious to see that nobody will take him away again. He has a second chance with him: "...better late than never, [he] has found a purpose in life and [will] try to make up for lost time" (p. 407). The hatter fails to find Penelope for Julian, so Julian has to search himself, which exposes him to…