The author begins by stepping into the first of many fragments of her past when she relates her newfound suitor to the Greek sculptor The Discus Thrower by Myron. As she continues, one cannot help but see a pattern in her life and her narration in which she appears to be rationalizing and justifying her actions in light of the lessons she had learned from her past. The reader can see that even when she chooses to take a decision that is independent of her past, she almost always ends up in a paradox through which she has to struggle in order to gain ground for her decision.
A little farther into the essay, Zhang Jie shows an incredible degree of reliance on her mother and her mother’s character. This can be taken to be one of the elements that has influenced her recent past and continues to influence her ever more so in her present. For instance, her decision to not marry her suitor, Qiao Lin, seems to be dicated to quite an extent from her mother’s words to her in her younger days:
“If you don’t know exactly what you want, I think you are much better off staying single than getting married with no idea why.” (Jie 94)