Summary Of Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress

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In 2000, Dai Sijie wrote a semi-autobiographical novel named Balzac & The Little Chinese Seamstress. This novel discusses the political and social reforms of the Chinese Government during the re-education era. The re-education program sought to regulate the country of the distinct classes that it previously had. Educated individuals (especially youths) would get sent to villages where they would be instructed by peasants on how to do manual labor. Any type of advanced knowledge, such as literature and scientific notions, were banned to be shared or even spoken in these towns. The Narrator, a seventeen year old boy in the re-education program, knew from the beginning of the novel that he didn’t belong in the program. On pages 142 through 144, the Headman has come to the Narrator and his friend, Luo, in urgent need of someone to fix his toothache. Luo was initially against the procedure, but the Headman threatened him to do it; Luo and the Narrator had given in. Throughout this passage, the Narrator experiences a drastic change of emotion toward the authorities in his community. He quickly shifts from feeling shocked and hesitant about the situation to viewing those who surround him with a sadistic perspective. This dramatic change of emotion reveals the Narrator’s hidden desires to rebel against the re-education program.

In the first portion of the passage, the Narrator feels shocked when he sees Luo chaining the Headman to the bed. It is not often that the Narrator will
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