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English World Literature

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Darryl Soh 13.2 Statement of Intent My piece of work, which is a pastiche, is based upon the book Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, and will explore and follow onto the original ending to the book, in which the Little Seamstress informs Luo of her decision to leave the village and runs away, ignoring Ma, the narrator's, pleas for her to stay in the village and not to leave for the city. The book ends with Luo telling Ma of the Little Seamstress's last words to him before she ran away, which were that she had learnt a lot from Balzac, especially that a woman's beauty is a treasure beyond any price, leaving many ways for that line to be interpreted. In my pastiche, the scene follows up from where the book left off, with the Little Seamstress running away, leaving Ma and Luo on the path, on their way back to the village, several misfortunes befall the main characters, which in the end, affect their lives forever. I chose to base my pastiche as an additional chapter after the ending, as I thought that the ending which Dai Sijie had given the readers was inconclusive and too abrupt, especially since it wasn't a cliffhanger in which something exciting occurs. ...read more.


Even as I followed Luo back to the village, the horrible image of the Little Seamstress running away cut deeper and deeper into me. My heart wept and bled from a million cuts and I silently cursed Luo for ever having showed the Little Seamstress any of Balzac's books, and for the intimate relationship which they had shared. Walking back, the sky had turned a dark, dreary gray, looming over two of us, the majestic sunset blacked out by the gathering thunderhead above. "We need to find shelter before the clouds break." My words reverberated off the tawny wall of the cliff, which became more ominous and treacherous in the prevailing darkness, shattering the awkward silence between us. "We should rest in the Little Seamstress's house and wait for the storm to pass over before we return to the village" "I can't believe she left us here." said Luo, sounding weak and out of breath compared to his usual deep, rich voice. He stopped abruptly in the middle of the beaten path and I patiently stood behind him, silently watching a bead of sweat slowly roll down the back of his neck. ...read more.


The next morning, the storm had passed, displaying in the morning light the extent of the destruction it had caused. Passing the boulder on which the red beaked raven had been perched on the previous night, I saw that the rain had eroded the entire side of the cliff, except for a small perch, only a few inches wide which ran precariously along the side wall of the cliff. Those few inches were all that prevented a treacherous fall which would definitely prove fatal to anyone who failed to cross. Standing side by side, Luo and I traded a glance without exchanging a single word, staring at the seemingly bottomless chasm which stood before us. Ready to cross, I let out a few nervous breathes and tentatively tested the strength of the ruined path with a foot. Pebbles tumbled down the side of the cliff as parts of the path crumbled but the perilous pathway held, and step-by-step I crossed, willing myself to keep moving and not to look down. Standing on the other side, beads of sweat streaming down my face, I studied Luo as he stood there, his face a mask devoid of any emotions. Without any prior notice and without any hint of self preservation, Luo ran across, oblivious to the pathway crumbling beneath him and ...read more.

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