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This dialogue is from the book Standard Course 标准教程 HSK4 上, page 8 (JD.com):

image from book containing snippet below

I'm interested in this part:

... 年轻人说:浪漫是她想要月亮时,你不会给她星星 ...

I (literally) translate this to:

Young people [年轻人] say [说]: romance [浪漫] is [是] when [...时] she [她] wants [想要] the moon [月亮], you [你] cannot [不会] give [给] her [她] a star [星星].

My feeling is that this sentence implies that young romance is about selfish women: she's unwilling to accept a star (in place of the moon), and may even get angry should her partner give her something other than the moon (despite it being as amazing as a star). Her partner must strive to follow her wishes, even if they are unreasonable. Thus, my impression is that this sentence is belittling of young love, and particularly of young women.

Basically my question is: is this the intended interpretation?

Question: Is the non-literal interpretation of this sentence that young romance is selfish, particularly of women?

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I found the original section:

很多女孩子羡慕浪漫的爱情。那什么是浪漫呢?年轻人说:浪漫是她想要月亮时,你不会给她星星;中年人说:浪漫是即使晚上加班到零点,到家时,自己家里也还亮着灯;老年人说:浪漫其实就像歌中唱的那样,“我能想到最浪漫的事,就是和你一起慢慢变老。”其实,让我们感动的,就是生活中简单的爱情。有时候,简单就是最大的幸福。

We may find the author's main idea from context. After reading the whole paragraph, I think the author just want to show the different definitions from people with different life experience. We may learn that the definition of romance is becoming simpler and more realized when people get more experiences. The things 年轻人 believed is just with higher demands which may be idealized and irreplaceable. But their ideas may change when they become 中年人 and 老年人。 So, nothing to do with men or women here. The author is not complaining anyone but just let you know the definition of romance and love may change to simpler one. The last sentence actually makes the conclusion that "Simplicity is the best happiness."

EDIT:

Another skill to judge the author's idea is to feel his mood and emotion in the context. There are full of pauses and commas in this paragraph, which make it peaceful and soothing without any blame and implication. But this is technically. After all, there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people's eyes...

  • I think you have the right interpretation of what the writer intends to mean. On the other hand, "浪漫是她想要月亮时,你不会给她星星" might not be a suitable exemplification to denote simplicity in my opinion. – dan Jul 11 '18 at 13:21
  • The author uses "浪漫是她想要月亮时,你不会给她星星" to give an example of higher demand which is complicated task, too hard to achieve, too idealized and irreplaceable in order to compare with the other two realized and simpler ideas. "年轻人说" meant to give an example, it's kind of metaphor, but might not mean the real words that some young people said. However, the author didn't mean to blame young people, he intended to show young people (and readers) philosophy of life. – Bruce Huang Jul 11 '18 at 13:39
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First of all, we would not know the 年轻人 is male or female, as it will totally affect the outcome of the phrase.

if it came from a male, it might just means that the perfect definition of romance is if the woman requires something(moon), you won't give her compatible item(star).

Same goes to if is came from a female, the definition is same, but it does not interpret that young woman will only receive moon as present and not willing to receive others.

Perhaps for the young woman star is good enough, and moon might be a luxury item for her. Everyone do hopes to strive for perfect(moon) or high expectation but it does not state that they would not willing to accept low expectation.

So in TLDR; It does not, it just merely state the perfect condition of romance is to get what the woman wants, but it did not imply that the young woman would not accept other option/present.

PS: im quite curious about how 中年人 and 老年人 define romance, as it tend to be either 文绉绉(poetic) or 白话文

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    Here is the original section: 很多女孩子羡慕浪漫的爱情。那什么是浪漫呢?年轻人说:浪漫是她想要月亮时,你不会给她星星;中年人说:浪漫是即使晚上加班到零点,到家时,自己家里也还亮着灯;老年人说:浪漫其实就像歌中唱的那样,“我能想到最浪漫的事,就是和你一起慢慢变老。”其实,让我们感动的,就是生活中简单的爱情。有时候,简单就是最大的幸福。 – Bruce Huang Jul 11 '18 at 12:26
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Not exactly, 不会 is interpreted as 'won't', this paragraph is about man,not woman, what he want to say is, when a woman want a moon, you(the man) won't give her other things but the moon exactly, young man think that know couple's need is romance.

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I think its not about sb's demand, but about giving. 你不会给她星星. I would say its like "love is when you can't give your sweetheart less than he/she needs", but not literally CAN NOT, its actually more about DONT WANT to give her less

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