Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Luo is the narrator's best friend. They've been friends their whole lives, as they grew up next door to each other in the city of Chengdu. Luo is sent to the mountain to undergo re-education with the narrator, but life on the mountain makes him very depressed; he battles insomnia and moments of deep desperation. His chances of getting off the mountain are even slimmer than the narrator's because his father, the dentist, is serving time in prison. The narrator claims that Luo possesses no useful skills, but Luo is a skilled storyteller. He performs "oral cinema shows" for the village headman, in which he sees a film and then recites the film's story for the village, making his story last the length of the actual film. This earns Luo and the narrator a reprieve from their manual labor, as the process of seeing a film entails a four-day round trip journey to the city of Yong Jing and the headman agrees to pay the boys for their time. Luo is often selfish (when the boys obtain their first novel, there's no question that Luo will read it first) and convinced of his superiority. Luo is quite taken with Balzac's novels, and he sees that Balzac's work has a transformative effect on his girlfriend, the Little Seamstress. Though Luo loves the Little Seamstress, he's patronizing towards her, believing that she's uncultured and less intelligent than he is. By reading Balzac to her, Luo intends to make the Little Seamstress cultured enough to be worthy of his affections, but his education has an unintended effect: she gains the confidence and vision to leave the mountain for good by herself. Distraught, Luo burns the beloved novels in an emotional and drunken frenzy.

Luo Quotes in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

The Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress quotes below are all either spoken by Luo or refer to Luo. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress published in 2002.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

The peasants' faces, so grim a moment before, softened under the influence of Mozart's limpid music like parched earth under a shower, and then, in the dancing light of the oil lamp, they blurred into one.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Village Headman
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

The sheer audacity of our trick did a lot to temper our resentment against the former opium growers who, now that they had been converted into "poor peasants" by the communist regime, were in charge of our re-education.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Village Headman
Related Symbols: Luo's Alarm Clock
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The only thing Luo was really good at was telling stories. A pleasing talent to be sure, but a marginal one, with little future in it. Modern man has moved beyond the age of the Thousand-and-One-Nights, and modern societies everywhere, whether socialist or capitalist, have done away with the old storytellers—more's the pity.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Village Headman
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

She's not civilized, at least not enough for me!

Related Characters: Luo (speaker), The Narrator, The Little Seamstress
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

All this talk of literature was getting me down. We had been so unlucky. By the time we had finally learnt to read properly, there had been nothing left for us to read. For years the "Western literature" sections of the bookshops were devoted to the complete works of the Albanian Communist leader Enver Hoxha...

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, Four-Eyes
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Just as your parents and mine always dreamed that we'd be doctors like them, Four-Eyes's parents probably wanted their son to be a writer. They must have thought it would be good for him to read books, even if he had to do so in secret.

Related Characters: Luo (speaker), The Narrator, Four-Eyes, The Poetess
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

"This fellow Balzac is a wizard," he went on. "He touched the head of the mountain girl with an invisible finger, and she was transformed ... She ended up putting your wretched coat on (which looked very good on her, I must say). She said having Balzac's words next to her skin made her feel good, and also more intelligent."

Related Characters: Luo (speaker), The Narrator
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

What this gentleman is looking for is precisely that: the authentic, robustly primitive words of ancient ditties.

Related Characters: Luo (speaker), The Narrator, Four-Eyes, The Miller
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

The change he had undergone since receiving his mother's letter was truly remarkable. A few days before it would have been unthinkable for him to snap at us like this. I hadn't suspected that a tiny glimmer of hope for the future could transform someone so utterly.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Little Seamstress, Four-Eyes, The Miller
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

But I shouldn't let it worry you too much. Right now, ignorance is in fashion, but one day the need for good doctors will be recognized once more. Besides, Chairman Mao is bound to need your father's services again.

Related Characters: The Poetess (speaker), The Narrator, Luo, Four-Eyes, The Dentist
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

"So are you weeping tears of joy?" I said.
"No. All I feel is loathing."
"Me too. Loathing for everyone who kept these books from us."

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo (speaker), Four-Eyes
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

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He shut the suitcase again and, resting one hand on the lid like a Christian taking a solemn oath, he declared: "With these books I shall transform the Little Seamstress. She'll never be a simple mountain girl again."

Related Characters: Luo (speaker), The Narrator, The Little Seamstress, Four-Eyes
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 3, Chapter 1 Quotes

In the ensuing political vacuum our village lapsed into quiet anarchy, and Luo and I stopped going to work in the fields without the villagers—themselves unwilling converts from opium farmers to guardians of our souls—raising the slightest objection.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Village Headman
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 3, Chapter 2 Quotes

It would evidently take more than a political regime, more than dire poverty to stop a woman from wanting to be well dressed: it was a desire as old as the world, as old as the desire for children.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Tailor
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id

Part 3, Chapter 6 Quotes

Before, I had no idea that you could take on the role of a completely different person, actually become that person—a rich lady, for example—and still be your own self.

Related Characters: The Little Seamstress (speaker), The Narrator, Luo
Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 8 Quotes

I felt as if it were my child that she was carrying, as if it had been me and not Luo making love to her under the majestic gingko tree and in the limpid water of the secret pool. I was deeply moved; she was my soul mate and I was ready to spend the rest of my life taking care of her, content even to die a bachelor if that would help.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Little Seamstress
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

There was nowhere for them to go, for there was no conceivable place where a Romeo and his pregnant Juliet might elude the long arm of the law, nor indeed where they might live the life of Robinson Crusoe attended by a secret agent turned Man Friday.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Little Seamstress
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui offic

Part 3, Chapter 9 Quotes

I wondered what was making me chase Luo across this treacherous mountain slope? Was it friendship? Was it affection for his girlfriend? Or was I merely an onlooker anxious not to miss the ending of a drama?

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Little Seamstress
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Although I was fully aware of my role as spectator, I felt just as betrayed as Luo, not by her decision to leave the mountain, but by the fact that she had not thought to tell me about it. I felt as if all the complicity we had shared in procuring the abortion had been wiped from her consciousness, as if I had never meant more to her than a friend of a friend, which was what I would remain forever.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Luo, The Little Seamstress
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Luo Character Timeline in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

The timeline below shows where the character Luo appears in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...to the villagers and deems it a "bourgeois toy," chilling the narrator and his friend, Luo. The room erupts with shouts to burn the violin, but Luo casually interjects that the... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The headman passes the violin back to the narrator as Luo explains that the narrator is going to play a Mozart sonata. The narrator is terrified—all... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...by the peasants. He continues that Mao's motives were unclear, but that the narrator and Luo decided that Mao simply hated intellectuals. However, the fact that the narrator and Luo are... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Luo and the narrator were deemed intellectuals because their parents had been labeled "enemies of the... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator says that he and Luo grew up in apartments next to each other and were best friends. Luo only hit... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The narrator explains that there wasn't much to differentiate himself and Luo from the other teenagers sent to the mountain Phoenix of the Sky, which was named... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...each of which took in five or six intellectuals from the city. The village where Luo and the narrator are sent, however, is so poor that it can only take in... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator explains that the work that he and Luo do consists primarily of hauling human and animal feces to the fields in "back buckets."... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The mountain is exceptionally rainy, and Luo and the narrator find this extremely depressing. Luo, in particular, begins to suffer from insomnia.... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...he might someday be able to perform communist music in the nearby city Yong Jing. Luo is only skilled at storytelling, which the narrator says is charming but underappreciated by everyone... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The headman sits and times the "oral cinema show" with Luo's clock. Luo brilliantly recounts the film, asking the villagers questions to keep them interested. His... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Luo and the narrator run into the tailor's procession one day as they scramble along a... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Several weeks later, the narrator and Luo travel to the tailor's village to visit the Little Seamstress and ask her to lengthen... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator explains that the Little Seamstress's beauty made him and Luo want to stay and watch her work. Noticing a catalog on the table, the narrator... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Luo tells the Little Seamstress that the two of them have something in common, and he... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The narrator describes what it's like to work in "the little coal mine." He and Luo work together, naked and covered in coal dust, to haul baskets of coal from deep... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Luo and the narrator work in constant fear that they won't make it out of the... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
When Luo and the narrator have been working in the mine for six weeks, Luo contracts malaria.... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator attempts to light a cigarette for Luo, but Luo says the cigarette is too heavy and drops it. When the narrator leans... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator and Luo have seen three films in Yong Jing, and for the Little Seamstress's village, they decide... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
When they reach the Little Seamstress's house, Luo is dizzy with fever. The Little Seamstress cancels Luo and the narrator's performance and tucks... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Luo falls asleep in the evening. The Little Seamstress asks the narrator if he believes in... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...flower seller, but he struggles to captivate his audience. Suddenly, midway through the narrator's recitation, Luo deliriously interjects, out of sequence, with the final line of the film. The sorceresses are... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The oil lamps flicker and die, but the narrator sees the Little Seamstress kiss Luo before they go out completely. The narrator finishes the story of the flower seller and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
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...also three in a thousand, as his parents were writers. On the mountain, the narrator, Luo, and Four-Eyes often cook and drink together, and the narrator says their close friendship during... (full context)
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The morning after the sorceress's vigil at his bedside, Luo feels well enough to go home. He and the narrator pass the village where Four-Eyes... (full context)
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...his house unlocked to demonstrate to the peasants that he trusts them. The narrator and Luo sit on the porch. When the air begins to get cold, the narrator finds a... (full context)
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When Four-Eyes returns that evening, he evades the narrator's questions about the suitcase. Luo finally says that he thinks the suitcase contains forbidden books. Four-Eyes looks panicked for a... (full context)
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Several weeks later, Luo's malaria improves. He unwraps the bandage on his wrist to reveal a large blister that... (full context)
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Luo and the narrator often discuss which books might be in the suitcase. The narrator says... (full context)
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The narrator and Luo decide that since Four-Eyes' parents are writers, they probably want Four-Eyes to be a writer... (full context)
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...mountain gets several inches of snow and the village headman gives everyone the day off. Luo and the narrator head off to see Four-Eyes, whose glasses have finally broken. The narrator... (full context)
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...the day off. The village is busy ferrying rice to the district storage station. When Luo and the narrator find Four-Eyes, he's filling his hod (a type of basket) with rice,... (full context)
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...that he doesn't have books, picks up the hod, and starts up the slippery path. Luo and the narrator watch as he totters, falls, and spills the rice. They walk to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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...four syllables and the name sounds exotically beautiful. The book is titled Ursule Mirouët, and Luo begins reading it that night. He finishes it at daybreak and passes it to the... (full context)
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When the narrator finishes the novel, Luo, who had left that morning, still hasn't returned. The narrator says that Luo has certainly... (full context)
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At 3am, Luo wakes the narrator. Luo says he has something to show and pulls out a white... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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Luo and the narrator return Ursule Mirouët to Four-Eyes with the hope that he'll lend them... (full context)
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The narrator says that one day Luo borrowed the narrator's sheepskin coat with the passage written on the inside and read it... (full context)
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One Sunday in early summer, Luo and the narrator go to visit Four-Eyes and find him heating a cauldron of water... (full context)
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Four-Eyes tells the narrator and Luo that the old man is a drunk and he eats pebbles dipped in saltwater. Four-Eyes... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
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...copy of Chairman Mao's jacket, made by the Little Seamstress, and a green army cap. Luo borrows an army uniform and poses as a translator and they head for the Thousand-Meter... (full context)
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Luo tells the miller that the narrator has traveled from Beijing to collect folk songs from... (full context)
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...heavy loads and the miller tells the peasants proudly about how revolutionary the narrator is. Luo translates the narrator's Mandarin responses and the peasants shake hands with the narrator. (full context)
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When the peasants leave, the miller leads Luo and the narrator upstairs. He offers them liquor and motions for them to sit on... (full context)
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...mill. He fetches an instrument with three strings and begins to sing. The narrator and Luo are captivated by the miller's contorting and rolling stomach as he sings a song about... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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At Four-Eyes' house, Four-Eyes happily pores over the folk songs that Luo and the narrator collected. He begins to frown and he finally yells that the songs... (full context)
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...that Four-Eyes' glimpse of hope for the future has made him exceptionally arrogant. Four-Eyes tells Luo and the narrator to take the pages and burn them. Luo asks for the promised... (full context)
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...rage as they scuffle for the papers. He comes to his senses again outside, and Luo remarks that they won't have anymore Balzac for now. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
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...other public buildings. The narrator says that he believes the village headman sent him and Luo to Yong Jing to watch films because when they were gone, the headman got to... (full context)
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The Little Seamstress, Luo, and the narrator stay in Yong Jing's cheap hotel that night. The night watchman tells... (full context)
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The next day, the Little Seamstress and Luo visit the cemetery at the bottom of the mountain while the narrator sits by the... (full context)
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The poetess asks the narrator his name, and the narrator tells her he's Luo. At this, the poetess seems interested again and asks about Luo's father. When the narrator... (full context)
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The poetess tells the narrator that Four-Eyes is very fond of Luo and doesn't like the narrator much. The narrator is thrilled he decided to pretend to... (full context)
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The narrator makes his way to the graveyard to tell Luo and the Little Seamstress about meeting the poetess. They laugh when the narrator tells them... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
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...grand event to mark his departure—they even plan to slaughter a buffalo. The narrator and Luo aren't invited, which they find convenient, since it provides a perfect opportunity to steal the... (full context)
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The day before the celebration, the narrator and Luo hear a buffalo bellowing in a ravine: as it's illegal to kill an animal used... (full context)
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Luo and the narrator watch as villagers add ingredients to the huge stew pot in the... (full context)
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The narrator and Luo walk through the deserted village to Four-Eyes' house. Luo picks the lock, they enter the... (full context)
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Luo says the situation reminds him of a film scene in which characters find a suitcase... (full context)
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Luo declares that they need to go. The narrator reminds him that if Four-Eyes says anything,... (full context)
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Luo carries the suitcase and they move into the other room, where they find the window... (full context)
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...discuss whether someone could've broken in, and the poetess tells Four-Eyes that the narrator and Luo are sly. Four-Eyes tells his mother that he stayed friends with them so that Luo's... (full context)
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...the poetess runs after him with toilet paper. Once Four-Eyes and the poetess are gone, Luo and the narrator grab the suitcase and run from the house. They stop to rest... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
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...books, and the village headman leaves for a month-long Communist Party conference. The narrator and Luo spend the month reading, and the village falls into "quiet anarchy." As the villagers were... (full context)
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Luo devours every novel by Balzac, while the narrator is very taken with Romain Rolland's novel... (full context)
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Several weeks later, the mountain experiences a terrible storm. The morning after the storm, Luo loads a hod with vegetables and a Balzac novel and sets off to read to... (full context)
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The next day, the narrator decides to go with Luo to see the Little Seamstress. When the boys reach the dangerous part of the path,... (full context)
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The narrator turns around and crawls to Luo, then points to the red-beaked raven and asks if it's there every day when Luo... (full context)
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The next night, the narrator wakes from a nightmare in which he watched Luo and a nondescript girl walk along a ridge that dropped off sharply on either side.... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
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...and the dentist pulled a good tooth and left a bad tooth. The narrator and Luo return to work so they don't incur the headman's wrath. One night, the headman appears... (full context)
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...in the village. Though everyone offers to house the tailor, he insists on staying with Luo and the narrator. The boys are perplexed, but they figure the tailor believes that Luo... (full context)
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The narrator and Luo's house is transformed into a tailor's workshop, and the boys get to see up close... (full context)
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Luo, the tailor, and the narrator eat dinner and the narrator offers to play his violin... (full context)
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The narrator asks the tailor and Luo to wash their feet and get in bed before beginning. Rather than tell the story... (full context)
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...to enjoy the process of storytelling. When the narrator gets tired and has to stop, Luo whispers that the narrator should've been a writer. The narrator falls asleep but is quickly... (full context)
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...Office. The narrator is terrified, especially when the headman accuses him of spreading "reactionary trash." Luo tries to explain that The Count of Monte Cristo isn't Chinese and is actually about... (full context)
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Luo offers to go with the narrator and the headman, but the narrator refuses. The narrator... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 3
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...situation. The bad tooth is all the way at the back of the headman's mouth. Luo inserts a makeshift drill made from the tailor's sewing machine into the headman's mouth as... (full context)
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Luo asks the headman to rinse his mouth and then suggests that in order for the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
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...disturbed. The miller went to see what disturbed the birds and came upon the "interpreter" (Luo) and the Little Seamstress having sex in the deep part of the natural pool. He... (full context)
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Luo and the Little Seamstress swam out of the water, and the Seamstress fashioned a loincloth... (full context)
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The miller tells the narrator that it's lucky for Luo that it was he who saw Luo and the Little Seamstress, as the miller has... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 5
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Luo says that he taught the Little Seamstress how to swim properly, not like a peasant.... (full context)
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Luo describes his key ring, which holds the keys to his family's home in Chengdu, the... (full context)
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The Little Seamstress dove into the pool and was gone for a long time. Luo became agitated and finally swam down after her. He saw her rising from the bottom,... (full context)
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Luo tells the narrator that today, he and the Little Seamstress lost the key ring in... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
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The Little Seamstress tells the narrator that the books Luo read to her always made her want to dive. It was a gut reaction. She... (full context)
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The Little Seamstress explains that she enjoyed diving to get Luo's keys because she likes pleasing Luo. She says she's not a silly dog playing fetch,... (full context)
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...the narrator's prodding, the Little Seamstress relates what happened on the last day she and Luo went to the pool. They swam a little and picnicked on the rocks while Luo... (full context)
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Then, it was time for the key ring game. Luo threw in his keys and the Little Seamstress dove after them and felt around the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
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The narrator says he would've had a grand time during Luo's month-long absence if Luo hadn't asked the narrator to guard the Little Seamstress. Luo explains... (full context)
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...if he can kiss her nails the next day, but he remembers his promise to Luo. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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...that she has a problem. The narrator asks if it's with the gang or with Luo, and she finally says that she's been throwing up and has missed two periods. The... (full context)
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...her: it's illegal to help an unmarried woman in labor. Further, she can't just marry Luo, as individuals must be 25 to get married. The narrator says that there's no way... (full context)
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...Little Seamstress and the narrator discuss how to procure an abortion that saves her and Luo from political punishment, particularly since the law prohibits abortion. The narrator dissuades the Little Seamstress... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 9
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...the narrator says that that's the story. Three months after the Little Seamstress's abortion and Luo's return, Luo and the narrator sit outside their house with the books spread in front... (full context)
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...Little Seamstress had left suddenly and dramatically earlier that day. He explains that he and Luo had spent a lot of time looking back for signs that she was going to... (full context)
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On the western new year, which was a national holiday, the narrator and Luo had gone to see the Little Seamstress. When they entered her house, they were shocked... (full context)
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The narrator says that the true result of the Little Seamstress's transformation hadn't occurred to Luo and himself at that point. He questions if they overestimated the power of love, or... (full context)
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...that she intended to change her life and move to the city. She hadn't told Luo or the narrator, and the tailor tells the boys that he told his daughter to... (full context)
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Luo begins a headlong sprint down the mountainside after the Little Seamstress, and the narrator follows.... (full context)
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...where the narrator had met the poetess months earlier. He stops his descent and watches Luo fall to the ground in front of the Little Seamstress. The narrator watches the two... (full context)
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The narrator hears Luo and the Little Seamstress speaking softly. They sound agitated and the narrator hears Balzac's name,... (full context)