ESSAY QUESTION: “Compare and contrast life for Jim in Shanghai and the camps and how these settings hurt or helped Jim’s survival.”
Living and growing up as a foreigner in Shanghai, life for Jim was very easy and luxurious until he was captivated and taken hostage in a war camp. There, his lifestyle turned 180 degrees, which taught Jim many lessons, both good and bad.
We can tell a lot about Jim's former life in Shanghai from his surroundings and his relationship with them. The reason why Jim was keeping residence in Shanghai in the first place can say a lot about his background. It is not an unreasonable assumption to make that his parents were probably there for business purposes, perhaps setting up a company or on a contract. “Jim was delighted when his mother told him that they would leave the house in Amherst Avenue for a few days and instead would stay in the company's suite at Palace Hotel.” [P20] This suggests that they were quite wealthy people, especially in comparison to the poor living standards of the average Chinese. This would also mean that there was frequent contact with other people of importance, either of high Chinese social status or other diplomats. For example, Mr. Maxted, the father of his best friend and the entrepreneur who had designed various nightclubs in Shanghai, was a figure that Jim admired and wanted to grow up to imitate.
We can therefore also assume that many things were paid for in the Graham family, and that Jim was a very spoilt child. This was probably especially true due to the fact that he was an only child. In the very beginning of the book, we are introduced early on to one of countless fanciful festivities Jim innocently attends with his family; this one hosted by Mr. Lockwood, the vice-chairman of the British Residents Association. Here we see a perfect example of the kind of offhand immunity Jim has acquired towards the luxury of these events. Quickly bored of the soiree itself, Jim soon... [continues]
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(2008, 09). Empire of the Sun: Compare and Contrast Life for Jim in Shanghai and the Camps and How These Settings Hurt or Helped Jim’s Survival.. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 09, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Empire-Sun-Compare-Contrast-Life-Jim-161903.html
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