Several of you have commented about the fact that the author never NAMES the narrator, and this REALLY annoyed some of you! In some cases an author does not name a character so that the readers will be able to identify more with the character. After all, a name might carry certain associations with it, so that a reader sees the character in some specific way. For example, several of you have transposed the other main character's name from LUO to LOU, possibly in a connection to the first novel we read, Wish You Well, whose protagonist was named Lou!
A few of you picked up on the the Little Seamstress and her diving abilities and her inability to retrieve Luo's keys the last time the two were at the mountain pool; it is likely that the Little Seamstress had been bitten by the snake she had seen earlier in the pool. We discussed the symbolism of the snake, often seen as a sign of fertility/new birth/transformation in some cultures, and how this might play into the subsequent events in the novel--the abortion and the Little Seamstress leaving the mountains for the city at the end of the novel.
The Cultural Revolution/Great Leap forward in China sent many city-dwelling "intellectuals" to the countryside, and the loss of the keys might symbolize Luo's loss of access to the city--it is unlikely that either he or the narrator will ever become "re-educated" enough to return to the city to live. However, here we encounter an incredible irony: a young lady who was considered, in the beginning of the novel, "not civilized enough" by Lou and the narrator, expands her horizons as the novel progresses through Luo's reading classic novels to her.
Ultimately the Little Seamstress is "re-educated" enough to move into the city and leave Luo and the narrator behind. The two young men continue to be exiled in the country where their "book-learned" education has no real value in a community of manual laborers! No wonder Luo burns the books in the end!
This week, I would like you to post a THOUGHTFUL response to the novel [once you FINISH reading it!]. You may discuss the characters, the setting, and any literary devices [symbolism, irony, etc.] that you found particularly interesting or confusing. Ask questions of the rest of us; make us think! Go beyond the usual, "I really liked this book." Make your original post [250-300 words] by midnight on Saturday, April 25th. Then respond to a classmate's post by midnight on MONDAY, April 27th.
Remember, proofread for spelling, grammar, and punctuation before posting--this IS an English class, and you lose points from your grade for this activity when you post with errors [one point lost per error!].
Teacher Barb :)