What are some quotes from Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress that show the themes of growth and determination?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The themes of growth and determination are critically important to the development of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.  They are important because they represent the opposite of what the Communist government in China wanted from its citizens.  Thus, the presence of growth and development are political acts of resistance in a setting that stressed control through repression.

The narrator speaks of his own growth in recounting his initial experiences with Balzac.  Even though the literature with which the narrator has interacted is propaganda, the interactions with Balzac show a level of growth and change.  Balzac's Ursuole Mirouet causes growth by "awakening desire, passion, impulsive action. . . . In spite of my complete ignorance of that distant land called France . . . Ursule's story rang as true as if it had been about my neighbours."  This reflects a level of growth through the impact of literature.  The quote also reflects a determination to connect one's own reality to that of the literature.  

When Luo sets out to change the seamstress through literature, he remarks that "With these books I shall transform the Little Seamstress. She'll never be a simple mountain girl again."  Literature is a tool for change through growth.  The implication is that literature will cause her to grow and become something more than "a simple mountain girl." The growth in the claim is evident, as well as a sense of determination that this change will be facilitated.  There is a defiance and sense of determination that the end goal will be reached through literature.  Interestingly enough, one sees the determination to move away from the Cultural Revolution's imposition on what should be seen as right through the following quote:  "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."  The idea that women have an identity outside of what has been imposed by the political reality shows a determination to grow that exists outside the reach of centrailzaed authority.  

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