Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Analysis

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Revolution, change, and even violence do not occur on their own. They need a spark; some kind of ignition switch that lights the action ablaze. This spark is an idea. An idea can transform a person or an entire civilization alike if understood well enough by the carrier. This is seen in both of the main characters, Dai and Luo. It is also reflected by the premise; a China undergoing a cultural revolution beginning with the thought that communism was much more valuable to the people than the nationalist regime. However, in the novel, this concept is as prominent as it can possibly be in the little seamstress. Although she is not necessarily the main character, her actions and transformation reflect the power of ideas more than any other…show more content…
After she begins to dress the way a city girl would dress, and act the way a city girl would act, she makes the seemingly sudden decision to leave for the city and start her new life there. When asked why she did, why she would make such a sudden change on the very last page, Luo quoted her saying, “She said she had learnt one thing from Balzac; that a woman’s beauty is a treasure beyond price.” This sudden and drastic change was very unlikely based solely on her actions. However, like all ideas, her transformation was not entirely spontanious. She had thought about what she would do, perhaps for a very long time. Although it is not obviously stated, her thought process beginning to change was hinted at long before she chose to leave. “Suddenly swung her head around to face us. ‘About those books of his- what if we stole them.?’” (Sijie, 89) At the time, this strikes the reader as somewhat uncharacteristic. Before this, she had been very mild mannered and chose to go along with the will of others. So much so that one would assume that she would not act on her own will. Because of this, one could argue that her seemingly abrupt transformation was due to the actions of Luo wanting to change her. While this claim is understandable, it is not really true. Yes, Luo did tell her the stories and attempt to make the little seamstress more cultured. In many ways, he succeeded in doing so. However, he was only the messenger, the means of getting
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