What does Stacy compare the handcuffs toin the book "Chinese Handcuffs"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stacy compares Chinese handcuffs to life, and in particular, to love.

Stacy says that, in life, it is so difficult to know how to conduct one's self, because the best course to take in a given situation is not always the logical one; in fact, it is frequently just the opposite.  As in the case of Chinese handcuffs, "when you're a kid, you think you can pull hard enough to get them off", but if you proceed in that manner, you will never be released.  To get them off, "you have to do exactly the opposite of what it seems you should do...you have to let go".  Stacy gives the example of driving on ice, "how when the car start(s) to slide you (have) to turn into the slide while every nerve in your body (says) to turn the other way".  Stacy says that "life is like that a lot, way more than we know...and...love is particularly like that...we think we're supposed to fight for it when we're really supposed to let go".

Stacy believes that, because of the paradoxical, Chinese-handcuffs-like nature of life and love, very few people actually know much about them at all.  She admits that she herself doesn't, and neither does Dillon, to whom she is speaking.  She reflects that they probably shouldn't feel bad about their ignorance, because even their parents, who have been around longer and should know better, don't understand these matters either (Chapter 6).

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Chinese Handcuffs

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