Maos Last Dancer

812 Words4 Pages
The 2003 autobiography "Mao 's Last Dancer", by Li Cunxin, is a book that is open to interpretation. Overall, it is an interesting book that presents many different ideas and themes, including traditional Chinese culture and the comparison between East and West ideology. "Mao 's Last Dancer" tells the tale of Li Cunxin, a Chinese dancer in the Houston Ballet, and his adventures. The book also includes various members of Li 's family, his dance teachers at his ballet academy and the friends he makes as he travels to the U.S.A. At the age of 11, Li was taken from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao 's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange trip to Texas, he fell in love with an…show more content…
The first part of the book is based around Li 's childhood, being set in his small village in rural China. The second part of the book is about Li 's travelling to Beijing and how he starts and continues to train at a ballet academy. The final part of the book is set in Houston, and follows Li 's professional ballet career. This part also outlines the relationships Li falls into and explains his struggle in defecting to the United States. This book touches upon many themes and ideas, and is particularly good at presenting these themes from the perspective of a person that cannot change them. For instance, Communism as an idea is explored thorough the novel with some detail, and the story helps us to see how helpless the sufferers of the ideology cannot change their struggle. The writing style and the story itself really puts us into an over the shoulder perspective when reading the text. It makes you feel like you are in a dream watching Li perform his tasks and live out his life. The way it is written does not tell us what Li is like, it lets us make our own judgment of him, letting us decide on our own if he is deserving of the extraordinary feats he accomplished. The links between the different ages of Li are seamless and are barely noticed. Its transitions between the days passed and even the years rolling over seem to go without a hitch. The story and tale itself has a really smooth, flowing timeline. The first part of the book
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