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What is a critical appreciation of Jeffrey Archer's short story "The Chinese Statue"?

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"The Chinese Statue," by Jeffrey Archer , is about the British perception of China (and the East in general) as an exotic place—a place of exotic tastes and exotic art. It is also about the British love for this exoticism and the love and importance of tradition. To convey this...

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"The Chinese Statue," by Jeffrey Archer, is about the British perception of China (and the East in general) as an exotic place—a place of exotic tastes and exotic art. It is also about the British love for this exoticism and the love and importance of tradition. To convey this love, Archer not only highlights the adoration of the people for the Chinese statue but also conveys the beauty of the statue as a work of art. The story has two settings: a modern auction house in England and a village in China in 1871.

When a British man, Sir Heathcote, brings the statue to London, he ensures that the statue will be passed down to the first-born male children born to future generations in his family. This appears to be linked to the significance of tradition in China and the importance of male inheritance. The tradition continues for years, and everyone who inherits the statue values its beauty. They also value the tradition itself, and they feel honored to be a part of it. This continues in the family for years, until a man named Alex inherits the statue. Alex is selfish and lazy and has accrued a significant amount of gambling debt. Alex decides to sell the statue to pay off his gambling debts, thereby breaking the tradition and invalidating the statue's true worth as a work of art. The tradition of passing on the statue means nothing to him—he sees it only as a means to get himself out of trouble and improve his financial situation. Art and beauty mean nothing to him, either. In contrasting the values of Alex with those of the others, Archer also contrasts beauty and purpose with selfishness and greed.

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