• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Impact of Education and Literature in "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress".

Extracts from this document...


The Impact of Education and Literature in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress was published in 2000 by Dai Sijie a Chinese-French author and filmmaker. The novel was based on the author?s experiences during the Cultural Revolution when he was sent to a re-education camp in rural Sichuan from 1971 to 1974. The story is about two male teenagers in their late adolescence being sent to a small farming village to be re-educated during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. At the same time, the story highlights the absurdity and irony of ?re-education? during the Cultural Revolution. Throughout the story, characters are aware of the power of education and literature and use it as means to influence others: Mao denied the population education and literature to restore his influence in China, Luo and the narrator intellectually liberated themselves through Four-eye?s literature novels, and they transformed the Little Seamstresses through exposing her to foreign literature. ...read more.


In the story, the narrator and Luo were sent to rural China to be ?re-educated? and both their parents who specialized in medicine were declared enemies of the state and publicly humiliated by the Communist state. By denying the population access to education and foreign literature and creating widespread illiteracy, Mao had re-established his political control in China. Despite being trapped in the re-education camp, the narrator and Luo found spiritual and intellectual liberation from foreign literature novels which were locked in Four-eye?s suitcase. The narrator is highly enlightened by Balzac?s novel. He discovers ?awakening desire, passion, impulsive action, love, all the subjects that had, until then, been hidden? (57). Four-eye?s locked suitcase of literature novel is a symbolic of the authorities? obligation to limit education in order to maintain their control over the population. The narrator also reveals how the ideas from literature novels influenced his philosophy. ...read more.


The Seamstress?s psychological change becomes most apparent with her eventual decision to ?change her life and try her chances in the city? (180). Yet, this transformation comes at a heavy cost for the boys. For Luo, it was the end of a romantic relationship; for the narrator, it was the loss of an intimate friendship and a great sense of betrayal. Although the boys have transformed the Little Seamstress into a more sophisticated and free thinking individual, it was ultimately their patronizing and classist attitude towards her that lead to her abandonment of them and pursue a new life in the city. To conclude, characters influenced one another in different ways through the power of education and literature. While Mao created mass illiteracy in China through the banning of education and foreign literature, Luo, the narrator and the Little Seamstress enriched each other's lives through sharing a collection of forbidden literature novels. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Analysis - "Exposure" by Wilfred Owen

    The sibilant "s" sounds in the words "frost" and "fasten" emphasise the drying and freezing and seems that the soldiers became part of the cold nature. The bodies are described as "shrivelling" and "puckering", which reminds us of old people and wrinkling skin, emphasizing dryness and old age, and even death.

  2. Women in Literature

    The reader also then based from this foundation of mersault's characteristics can indulge in this aspect of Camus' absurdism and form their own opinion on whether or not life is meaningless regardless of the inevitable end result. Mersaults sexual politics can be compared to that of Raymond - in reference to his 'girlfriend'.

  1. Discuss the isolation of the narrator in Ernest Hemingway's In Another Country

    these 2 obvious reasons above, his isolation stems from his indifferent attitude to the war. Before being transferred into hospital, he fights at the front. He is a soldier who directly participates in the war but during the time he is in Milan, he never pays attention to the situation

  2. the AWAKENING

    She has withdrawn from the care-taking of her children, defied a husband who has kindly liberated her from a vast majority of her responsibility, yet she breeds dissatisfaction within her soul to escape from their complete sphere of influence. At this moment even the minute of incidents such as her

  1. World Literature Paper I

    or the non-prisoners because they themselves don't feel the same pain as Shukhov is experiencing.

  2. Reflective Statement: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

    Wouldn?t the others think badly of the outside world? If someone were to try and lead them out, would they kill him? The story the novel tells is similar in many ways to the allegory. We can think of the prisoners as being the villagers on Phoenix Mountain and the

  1. Portrayal of Food in Literature

    ?When she used to do the shopping, the pantry was always stocked with extra bottles of olive and corn oil, depending on whether they were cooking Italian or Indian. There were endless boxes of pasta in all shapes and colors, zippered sacks of basmati rice, whole sides of lambs and

  2. A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens was inspired to the study of the French ...

    He was more superficial than the smallest and commonest tourist. He went about Europe on stilts; he never touched the ground. There is one good test and one only of whether a man has travelled to any profit in Europe.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work