Thursday, July 26, 2012

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

One of the main reasons that I write this blog is because I deeply believe that written and spoken words have the power to change a person's life for better or worse, and this book, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, is a perfect example of the power of words to transform.

This book is set during China's infamous Cultural Revolution. Mao Zadong is considered to be the father of communist China, and China's cultural revolution has to do with Mao's plan to reassert his beliefs into China. "Mao wanted to make sure that he reimposed his power over the children. He believe that a privileged class had developed in China which consisted of engineers, scientists, factory managers etc. Mao believed that these people were acquiring too much power at his expense. His main selling point was a desire to create a China which had peasants, workers and educated people working together – no-one was better than anyone else and all working for the good of China – a classless society." (Sounds good in theory right?) So, Mao closed schools and colleges and the economy started to suffer. Many other things occurred and the Cultural Revolution ended around 1968. (

Mao Zadong

In Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, the main characters, Luo and the narrator who is nameless, are boys who were taken out of school and were going through the re-education process. The re-education process was when boys and girls were taken out of schools and moved to the countryside to be re-educated by the poor peasants. These boys worked hard on the countryside and had no access to books. (Oh My!)

However, they discovered that another boy, Four Eyes, had books hidden in the place where he was staying. By "hook and crook," they acquired Four Eyes' books and their journey to educate themselves and the Little Chinese Seamstress began.

The seamstress could not read, but hearing them read stories written by Balzac, the founder of realism in European Literature, awaken something in her, and she set off to "change her life and try her chances in the city." (Words can inspire!)

This book really was a great look into the Chinese Revolution through the eyes of the narrator. However, this book is also a complete conformation that words have power and can help people to change their lives. I remember being a little girl and going all over the world through books. I knew that one day, I had to leave that small town and see what the world had to offer. My mom often states that " I have been running since leaving high school." Not quite true but I get her point; I just want to experience some of the things that I read about in books.

If it has been forever since you have picked up a book, not a magazine, but I mean a book, please do so today, and I promise you that your world will expand larger than you could ever image.

I believe that there are three things that people must do everyday in order to have a rich life: connect with other people, exercise, and read.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is such an enchanting tale and it is a great place to start or to continue on your reading journey.

The author Dai Sijie


Anonymous said...

This was precisely the answers I'd been searching for. Amazing blog. Incredibly inspirational! Your posts are so helpful and detailed. The links you feature are also very useful too. Thanks a lot :)

Jacqueline said...

So happy that I could provide an answer for you. Thanks for reading, the compliments, and the comment.

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