Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Analytical Essay

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Paul Goetze
ADV. English 6/7
Mrs. Lawlor
Literary Symbolism for a Rainy Day: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Poets and authors often use symbolism to convey deeper meanings than what lies on the surface of the text. They use seasons, analogies, allegories, common knowledge and even precipitation to pass along ideas. These symbols either enhance the surface text or lead the reader off into a new way of thinking about something. Various forms of precipitation and the ideas of baptism are prominent literary symbols that are utilized throughout the novel, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie.

It rains frequently on Ma and Luo while they spend their time being re-educated near Phoenix Mountain. Sometimes it rains hard, sometimes it drizzles, and sometimes it becomes a driving downpour. Each of these represents something different. It could mean cleansing, mystery, or even punishment or warning (Foster). For example, near the opening of the novel, the author describes the setting and mood of Phoenix Mountain, “It rained often on Phoenix Mountain. It rained almost two days out of three. Storms or torrential downpours were rare; instead there was a steady, insidious drizzle that seemed to go on forever… (16, Sijie).” A mysterious and even uncertain light is cast on the lives of the two boys. It creates the sense that maybe something strange is in store for them. Later on, it begins to rain again and this time it is a very heavy rain. “Outside, it was raining. Not the usual fine drizzle, as it happened, but a heavy downpour drumming on the tiles overhead. No doubt this exacerbated Luo’s gloom… (17, Sijie)” Again, this symbolizes Luo’s feeling of helplessness and sadness. The rain seems to come and go with the emotions of the boys. When Luo and Ma find out about Four Eyes’ “Secret Suitcase” a sense of anticipation is created. Ma starts to use words like gang of three, criminals, conspiratorially, and danger in the narrative. The next...
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