Re-education Rewinds Thought
In Dai Sijie’s novel Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, re-education remains a prominent theme throughout the course of the story. Children from the city are sent to nearby villages to live life like the common people reverting back to the ways of early civilizations. Very rarely are these kids ever able to return home; if they are lucky and not enemies of the state, only then do they have a slight chance. This whole concept represents the sense of communism present in China at the time. Children are forced into performing civil labor away from their homes and families. The narrator, Luo and Four Eyes are all placed into this situation without personally having done anything wrong – this represents their innocence in the whole situation. Despite the three kids being without fault, the re-education still manages to change them from their previous ways of thought as was intended by Mao Zedong. In this rural part of China, the norm is comparatively backward and absurd compared to the modern community; this re-education process causes its citizens, new and old, to think in the same rural way as is apparent with Ma, Luo and Four-Eyes. The narrator, Ma, comes to this village from the city of Chengdu, having been sent as the pulmonary specialist’s son, along with his friend Luo. At the time, although he is not even a high school graduate, it is assumed by the government that he is well-educated. Even the slightest bit of education labeled you as well-educated. He plays the violin well which is a source of great entertainment in the village of Phoenix of the Sky; it also gives him his importance. His interest in music is essentially what remains constant throughout the course of the novel yet the part of his underconfident personality changed significantly. When Luo gets sick and catches a cold, the narrator joins in with the rest of villagers and beats up Luo to get warmth in his body. This approach to heating up a...
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