11-09-11 Period 3
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Essay
Prompt: Compare and Contrast two characters whose lives change in the two years covered in the novel. Focus on words, story, and literature in affecting the change. Draw conclusions about the universality of the power of story and literature. The book Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie explores how two main characters, Luo and the narrator, changes through the novel. Both Luo and the narrator, under the age of twenty, are sent to a cultural re-education camp, where they grow from being young boys to men. These two best friends have a lot of love and trust for each other throughout the novel, since they shared so many experiences growing up. Four-Eye’s is the boys’ only friend in the village, and the Little Seamstress ends up being Luo’s girlfriend. Luo and the narrator transit from boyhood to manhood from the influence of the books, their relationships, and their responsibilities. The books that Luo and the narrator stole from Four-Eyes were a part of their new lives, because of the knowledge that was hidden from the two. After reading the first book Four-eyes lent to them, the two became addicted and had the need to read more. “Picture if you will, a boy of nineteen,…falling into a story of awakening desire, passion, impulsive action, love, of all subjects that had, until then, been hidden from me” (Sijie, 57). This lack of knowledge was one of the barriers in the way of the boys’ turning point into maturity, and by obtaining the knowledge in the books they were a step closer. The book Balzac also helped the narrator convince a doctor to help give the Little Seamstress the abortion she wanted, which influenced the narrator’s opinion in life. Since Luo read Balzac to the Little Seamstress their relationship flourished, giving them both an experience that made them feel free and strengthened. The relationships...