Chinese Cinderella

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Margaret Shuff
Mrs. Siegfried
AP Language and Composition
12 May 2012
Chinese Cinderella- Analysis
The most persuasive and intriguing aspect of an author’s stylistic choices are within the schemes, tropes, diction and syntax. Adeline Yen Mah, author of Chinese Cinderella, paints an authentic picture of her childhood in twentieth-century China; Mah’s childhood, fraught with painful memories and bad luck, accentuates her strength and courage and ultimate triumph over despair. Mah’s stylistic choices and appeal to pathos aggrandizes the overall effectiveness of her book, Chinese Cinderella.

A worldwide bestseller that has been translated into eighteen different languages, Chinese Cinderella has a wide, varied audience. The style and effectiveness are heavily dependent on the writer’s diction; Mah carefully chooses words that convey the quiet tragicness of her situation and the cultural aspect. One of the most predominant aspect of the Chinese culture is the names- Mah could write about her grandmother, grandmother and stepmother, but instead chose instead to write about her Ye Ye, Nai Nai and Niang. Choosing to write using the Chinese words creates a compelling, permeating story: “Besides Father and Niang, we lived without Grandfather Ye Ye, Grandmother Nai Nai and Aunt Baba in a big house in the French concession of Tianjin, a port city on the northeast coast of China” (Mah 5). Removing the names disturbs the authenticity of the piece and upsets the overall meaning; so much of the story is derived from the culture and time period. Culture is a significant element in the writing, but Adeline Yen Mah’s personal experience is the most essential aspect. Mah begins as a young Chinese girl growing up in Shanghai. Mah utilizes syntax to convey the juvenile tone; simply constructed sentences create a childish perspective while maintaining an intelligent insight: “Next day, there was a grand funeral. Nai Nai’s coffin was draped with white sheets and...
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