Shen Te was a prostitute in Setzuan. She is a very kind woman that can’t say ‘no’ to any plea of the people around her, that sometimes led her to be fooled by others. .
According to the three gods, she is apparently the last person on Earth that has the characteristics of a “good” human being despite the fact that she was a prostitute. Maybe that’s one of the things that the author wants to show us; that it’s the heart that’s what’s important and not what you have reached as an individual.
In the story, Shen Te let the three gods in her house and was rewarded with the amount of money that allowed her to buy a tobacco shop. But it seems that the blessing she has received made her feel miserable again when the news of her new possession caught the attention of abusive people. Somehow, it was her own fault because she was too trusting and that made her a little bit gullible. She had overlooked the covetousness of those who took advantage of her kindheartedness.
Although Shen Te was mostly mistreated, she has gained the people’s respect rhat she was called the “angel of the slums”. (In the story, she was giving out rice to the needy.)
The story showed how too much love may ruin people. Shen Te was blinded by the love she feels for Yang Sun. Eyes closed, she was willing to sell everything she owns for the sake of the one she loves so dearly. She was so selfless. Still there had an instance that she thought of herself too that was shown in the line “ To let no one perish, even oneself…To fill everyone with happiness, even oneself…is so good..”.
Her struggle to keep herself from becoming a bad woman--because she promised to the three gods that she’ll remain good—made her take the identity of Shui Ta; her supposedly male cousin and hardnosed businessman. Shui Ta became an alter ego of Shen Te. Because she didn’t want to hurt anybody, she hid her bad self in Shui Ta’s character. This goes to show how hard it is to be good in a very corrupt and...