John says ...

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2009, 12:00am

'A Change of Heart' is a short but powerful story about an adult dilemma. A dilemma is a problem that has no happy solution.

Should the woman in the story tell her husband how her feelings for him have changed, and therefore make him unhappy? Or should she pretend everything is ok? Then she would not only be dishonest, she'd probably be miserable too.

The heart is often used to symbolise, or represent, our strongest feelings and desires. In some ways it is even used to represent who we really are.

While it is a sad fact that many people fall out of love, very, very few of them do so because they have had heart transplants.

Tsz-ching could have written about a character whose feelings change for no clear reason. Instead she has made this change much more dramatic by linking it to a 'change of heart'.

But would the story be even more interesting if it went further than a description of the woman's unhappy situation?

It may seem surprising, but 'A Change of Heart' could possibly develop into a horror story. What if the changes in the woman's personality became even more shocking? What if she had a strong desire to commit murder? Maybe she found out that the heart she had been given came from a criminal who was shot by the police after he'd killed several people.

But this would take us a long way away from the sad love story Tsz-ching has created. Let's try to stay closer to the author's original intention and see if we can develop some of the ideas that are already in the piece.

It seems to me 'A Change of Heart' is like a letter to a magazine, one that's been written to ask for advice. I wonder what the replies to this letter would be like and where they could take the story.

And can we find a way to answer the woman's final question - should she tell her husband what has happened?