Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

The Narrator Character Analysis

The narrator is a 17-year-old boy who has been sent from his hometown to a mountain in rural China to be re-educated in the ways of peasant life. His re-education has been decreed by the communist government as part of the Cultural Revolution, an effort to eliminate intellectuals and elevate the working class and peasants. The narrator, though he has only completed middle school and has never read anything besides communist texts, is considered to be an intellectual because his educated parents have been labeled enemies of the state. Because of who his parents are, the narrator's chances of returning from re-education are three in a thousand. The narrator is extremely loyal to his best friend, Luo, who was sent with him to the mountain. Upon learning that their friend Four-Eyes brought a suitcase of banned novels to the mountain, the narrator and Luo become obsessed with western literature and go to great lengths to gain possession of the suitcase. The narrator is particularly inspired by the novel Jean-Christophe, which helps him to develop his own personal philosophy that champions individuals who stand up to take individual action against the world. Despite this inspiration, the narrator situates himself as a passive observer to the relationship between Luo and the Little Seamstress (a beautiful village girl with whom the narrator is also in love). Out of loyalty to Luo, he never tries to win the Little Seamstress for himself, and he risks his safety to arrange a dangerous illegal abortion for her. However, when the Little Seamstress betrays him by not telling him she's leaving the mountain, the narrator realizes that friendship needs loyalty that flows in both directions.

The Narrator Quotes in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

The Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress quotes below are all either spoken by The Narrator or refer to The Narrator. 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:

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.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
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:

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.

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:

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 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:

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 2 Quotes

In spite of my complete ignorance of that distant land called France (I had heard Napoleon mentioned by my father a few times, that was all), Ursule's story rang as true as if it had been about my neighbors.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 57
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

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 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:

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 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:

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, sun

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:

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 co

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 laboru

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.

But Jean-Christophe, with his fierce individualism utterly untainted by malice, was a salutary revelation. Without him I would never have understood the splendor of taking free and independent action as an individual.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 110
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 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:

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 7 Quotes

I couldn't resist taking slight liberties, adding bits here and there by way of a personal touch to make the story more interesting to her. When I felt good old Balzac was running out of steam I would contribute little inventions of my own, or even insert whole scenes from another novel.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Little Seamstress
Page Number: 150
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.

It was not long before I took it upon myself, out of a sense of courtesy and respect for womanhood that I had learned from Balzac, to relieve the Little Seamstress of her laundering duties...

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Little Seamstress
Page Number: 151
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

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 illiterate, my tormenters, or rather the Little Seamstress's swarm of disappointed suitors, were flabbergasted by the sight of this recondite object: a book.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Little Seamstress
Page Number: 154
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 repreh

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 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:

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 offic

It was insane, but the bourgeois intellectuals upon which the Communists had inflicted so much hardship were no less morally strict than their persecutors.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Little Seamstress, The Gynecologist
Page Number: 164
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 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:

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 l

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.

Get the entire Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress LitChart as a printable PDF.
Balzac and the little chinese seamstress.pdf.medium

The Narrator Character Timeline in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

The timeline below shows where the character The Narrator 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
The village headman sits in the center of the house on stilts, inspecting the narrator's violin. The entire village looks on as the headman declares the violin a toy. 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... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator addresses the reader and explains that in 1968, Chairman Mao began a campaign to close... (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 state." The narrator's... (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... (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... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...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 the two of... (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... (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. One night, Luo... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator says that because he plays the violin, he might someday be able to perform communist... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator says that the "princess of Phoenix mountain," the Little Seamstress, wears canvas shoes, has a... (full context)
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 mountain path. The... (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... (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... (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
...have second toes longer than all the other toes. On the way back home, the narrator asks Luo if he's fallen in love with the Little Seamstress. He replies that she's... (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... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Luo and the narrator work in constant fear that they won't make it out of the mine alive. There... (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. He feels cold... (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... (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,... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Little Seamstress's house, Luo is dizzy with fever. The Little Seamstress cancels Luo and the narrator's performance and tucks Luo into her own bed, which boasts a mosquito net. She calls... (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 "things you can't explain naturally." He replies that he doesn't always... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...a while, the sorceresses start to yawn and fall asleep. The Little Seamstress asks the narrator to tell the witches a story to keep them awake. He begins to tell the... (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... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator tells the reader that Four-Eyes, a friend from the city, has a suitcase that he... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...sorceress's vigil at his bedside, Luo feels well enough to go home. He and the narrator pass the village where Four-Eyes is staying, and they see him tilling a flooded paddy... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator explains that Four-Eyes leaves his house unlocked to demonstrate to the peasants that he trusts... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
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.... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...wrist to reveal a large blister that heals when his fevers stop. Luo and the narrator celebrate at Four-Eyes' house and spend the night. The narrator checks under the bed for... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Luo and the narrator often discuss which books might be in the suitcase. The narrator says the book titles... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator and Luo decide that since Four-Eyes' parents are writers, they probably want Four-Eyes to be... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
...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 explains that Four-Eyes... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...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, a dazed look... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...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 Four-Eyes and gather... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator tells the reader that when Balzac's name is translated to Chinese, it's composed of four... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
When the narrator finishes the novel, Luo, who had left that morning, still hasn't returned. The narrator says... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator decides to copy his favorite passages from Ursule Mirouët. He looks for paper but decides... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
At 3am, Luo wakes the narrator. Luo says he has something to show and pulls out a white handkerchief. He unfolds... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Luo and the narrator return Ursule Mirouët to Four-Eyes with the hope that he'll lend them more books, but... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator says that one day Luo borrowed the narrator's sheepskin coat with the passage written on... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
One Sunday in early summer, Luo and the narrator go to visit Four-Eyes and find him heating a cauldron of water in the yard.... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator says that a friend of Four-Eyes' mother had promised to find a position for Four-Eyes... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Four-Eyes tells the narrator and Luo that the old man is a drunk and he eats pebbles dipped in... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator wears a copy of Chairman Mao's jacket, made by the Little Seamstress, and a green... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Luo tells the miller that the narrator has traveled from Beijing to collect folk songs from the region. The miller looks suspicious... (full context)
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator helps the peasants with their heavy loads and the miller tells the peasants proudly about... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
When the peasants leave, the miller leads Luo and the narrator upstairs. He offers them liquor and motions for them to sit on the bed. The... (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
...of the 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... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
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 are just "smutty... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator muses that Four-Eyes' glimpse of hope for the future has made him exceptionally arrogant. Four-Eyes... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Angry, the narrator lunges at Four-Eyes and accidentally punches him in the jaw. The narrator is blind with... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
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 narrator explains that Yong Jing consists of little more than a main street with a hospital,... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Little Seamstress, Luo, and the narrator stay in Yong Jing's cheap hotel that night. The night watchman tells them that there's... (full context)
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Little Seamstress and Luo visit the cemetery at the bottom of the mountain while the narrator sits by the path to cook sweet potatoes and wait. After a while he looks... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator addresses the woman in the local dialect. She barely acknowledges the narrator until he switches... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The poetess asks the narrator his name, and the narrator tells her he's Luo. At this, the poetess seems interested... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The poetess tells the narrator that Four-Eyes is very fond of Luo and doesn't like the narrator much. The narrator... (full context)
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator makes his way to the graveyard to tell Luo and the Little Seamstress about meeting... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...planning a 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... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Several days before the theft, the narrator dreams that he's put in charge of stealing the books. In his dream, he approaches... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The day before the celebration, the narrator and Luo hear a buffalo bellowing in a ravine: as it's illegal to kill an... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Luo and the narrator watch as villagers add ingredients to the huge stew pot in the center of Four-Eyes'... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator and Luo walk through the deserted village to Four-Eyes' house. Luo picks the lock, they... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...him of a film scene in which characters find a suitcase full of money. The narrator asks if Luo is "weeping tears of joy," but Luo says he only feels loathing.... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Luo declares that they need to go. The narrator reminds him that if Four-Eyes says anything, they'll all be at the mercy of the... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...a nail. As they head back into the main room, Luo hears someone outside. The narrator kills the torch, and they hear the sounds of the poetess and Four-Eyes coming back... (full context)
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...They uneasily 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... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
...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 after an hour... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...his stolen 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... (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 devours every novel by Balzac, while the narrator is very taken with Romain Rolland's novel Jean-Christophe. The novel shows the narrator the value... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...off to read to the Little Seamstress. Upon his return that night, he tells the narrator that the storm caused a landslide, and part of the path is now very narrow... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The next day, the narrator decides to go with Luo to see the Little Seamstress. When the boys reach the... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator turns around and crawls to Luo, then points to the red-beaked raven and asks if... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The next night, the narrator wakes from a nightmare in which he watched Luo and a nondescript girl walk along... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Yong Jing 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... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...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 will become his... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator and Luo's house is transformed into a tailor's workshop, and the boys get to see... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Luo, the tailor, and the narrator eat dinner and the narrator offers to play his violin before they go to bed.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The narrator asks the tailor and Luo to wash their feet and get in bed before beginning.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator talks for hours and begins to enjoy the process of storytelling. When the narrator gets... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
It takes the narrator nine nights to tell the entire story. The story begins to influence the clothes the... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
On the third night, the village headman interrupts the narrator's storytelling. Though the tailor offers pleasantries to the headman, the headman ignores them and instructs... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Luo offers to go with the narrator and the headman, but the narrator refuses. The narrator trembles as he approaches the headman,... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 3
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator describes the headman's terrible dental situation. The bad tooth is all the way at the... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...the headman will need to allow them to strap him down to the bed. The narrator is dumbfounded, but the headman agrees. The tailor is tasked with keeping the headman's head... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The miller tells the narrator that it's lucky for Luo that it was he who saw Luo and the Little... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 5
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...the keys to his family's home in Chengdu, the master key that he and the narrator used to get into Four-Eyes' house, and several others. One afternoon, Luo read the Little... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...He saw her rising from the bottom, his keys in her mouth. He tells the narrator that she was the only person who believed he'd be released from re-education and would... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Luo tells the narrator that today, he and the Little Seamstress lost the key ring in the pool. It... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
The Little Seamstress tells the narrator that the books Luo read to her always made her want to dive. It was... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
At the narrator's prodding, the Little Seamstress relates what happened on the last day she and Luo went... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
...she reached for it the snake bit her hand. She shows the mark to the narrator, and says the scar will be there the rest of her life. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator says he would've had a grand time during Luo's month-long absence if Luo hadn't asked... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator envisions himself as the leader of an army that's escorting a young wife across a... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator says that the Little Seamstress isn't aware she's being watched; she just thinks of the... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The tailor becomes used to the narrator's presence and also seems to enjoy the storytelling. Between chapters, the narrator offers to do... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
One afternoon, the narrator applies crushed balsam flowers to the Little Seamstress's fingernails. She asks him where he learned... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
When the narrator leaves the Little Seamstress's house that night, 15 young men jealously follow him along the... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...ask the cripple if the portrait is of Karl Marx, Stalin, or Lenin, and the narrator suddenly shouts, "Don't touch," lunges for the book, and runs off with it. The youths... (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
In the house that night, the narrator can't escape the sense and smell of the damp or the pain in his ear.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator imagines that the Little Seamstress unties him and allows him to lick her fingers, the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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 next morning, the narrator and the Little Seamstress are in her kitchen cooking. She tells the narrator that she... (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 narrator explains to the reader that he forgot to ask the Little Seamstress if she wanted... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Little Seamstress and the narrator discuss how to procure an abortion that saves her and Luo from political punishment, particularly... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator describes the hospital, which consists of two buildings. He sneaks into the building that houses... (full context)
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
One of the patients rudely asks the narrator why he's there, and he feigns deafness. Another woman points to the narrator's still swollen... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator leaves the hospital and walks up and down the main street of Yong Jing. He... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator finds a meal at a restaurant, hoping to get the opportunity to speak to someone... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
On the third day, the narrator decides to try to speak to the old preacher, who isn't allowed to practice his... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator races to the hospital, where he's shocked to find the patients busy cooking their own... (full context)
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator catches sight of the gynecologist outside the door and gets up to chase after him.... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The gynecologist asks the narrator who he is. The narrator tells the gynecologist who his father is and says that... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator removes his sheepskin coat and offers it to the gynecologist. The gynecologist lights cigarettes for... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The next Thursday, the narrator and the Little Seamstress return to Yong Jing, the Little Seamstress disguised as a 30-year-old... (full context)
Education, Re-Education, and the Cultural Revolution Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...tangerines to place on the preacher's grave to thank him for being the reason the narrator went back to the hospital and ended up meeting the gynecologist. The Little Seamstress and... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 9
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Addressing the reader, the narrator says that that's the story. Three months after the Little Seamstress's abortion and Luo's return,... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator says that the Little Seamstress had left suddenly and dramatically earlier that day. He explains... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The narrator continues that the other two signs were the Mao-style jacket that the Little Seamstress had... (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
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... (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 narrator says that the true result of the Little Seamstress's transformation hadn't occurred to Luo and... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
...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 not come back. (full context)
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
Luo begins a headlong sprint down the mountainside after the Little Seamstress, and the narrator follows. As he runs he thinks about his nightmares where the Little Seamstress falls down... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
After two hours, the narrator sees the Little Seamstress sitting by the graveyard where the narrator had met the poetess... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Storytelling, Censorship, and Power Theme Icon
Friendship and Loyalty Theme Icon
The narrator hears Luo and the Little Seamstress speaking softly. They sound agitated and the narrator hears... (full context)