Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress Analysis

Decent Essays

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie is a novel about two boys, a narrator and Luo, who are undergoing re-education in the mountains amidst the cultural revolution in communist China. Sijie showcases the harsh reality of re-education, and how certain events change the way the two boys think and behave. This passage focuses on the narrator, as he takes advantage of an opportunity to inflict pain on the village headman while he is having a tooth removed. The transition from the narrator’s fear and discomfort at the beginning of the passage to outright vindictiveness by the end reveals his resentment toward re-education.
In lines 1-15, the narrator begins the operation, revealing the narrator’s anxiety and discomfort. Sijie used words like “trepidation” and “brace” to describe the narrator’s feelings as the procedure began. This anticipative diction highlights the apprehension the narrator feels, reinforcing how uncomfortable and afraid he feels of the events to follow. The tension in the scene builds through the use of alliteration. The movement of the drill is described as a “relentless rhythm,” emphasizing the narrator’s lack of control during his assignment. Additionally, to emphasize the perilous nature of the narrator’s situation, words like “juddered,” and “trembled” were used to describe the drill. The description mirrors the narrator’s apprehension from the beginning of the passage, showing that the drill is, in essence, an extension of the narrator.

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