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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Mind Map: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Dai Sijie, and published in 2000 in French and in English in 2001. Its original French title is Balzac et la petite...


The Tailor

the father of the little seamstress


Narrator, Has no known name in English Translated book -- In the Chinese Novel his name is "Ma", 'Reactionary', has a negative veiw on other characters, pg. 61, dresses up as a high ranking communist, shows he too is desperate but for a better cause, lies to get what he wants, thinks he is better than four eyes, Only help him for their own intrests, books, balzac makes their suffering bearable., Mean more to him the the 'freedom' that four eyes is escaping to, represents a reward for his efforts, in his mind shows that he is 'better' then the others, mean more then books., Don't abide by communist values., Bestfriend of Luo

The Little Chinese Seamstress, Daughter of the tailor, In love with Luo....or is she?

Luo, In love with the seamstress


Four Eyes, Has Hidden Books


The Dentist, pg 61, Desperate, Not liked by narrator, pg 61, 'like a spy', Luo's Father

The Doctor, Knows the narrator's father

Four Eye's Mother

The Village Headman, Quite unintelligent

The Old Miller







Western Influence







Plot Summary

Part 1

Chapter 1, Mozart is thinking of Chairman Mao, Luo & narrator, two friends, sent to countryside, for reeducation, Win over locals, With a lie, Mozart is thinking of Chairman Mao, We Learn, Main characters' background, Middle class, Don't support Mao, MCs' new lives, Reeducation, A punishment?, Villagers, Lives, Characters

Chapter 2, We find out about the main characters' parents, Phoenix of the sky, The narrator describes how uncomfortable their living quarters were, The narrator describes the trail to the phoenix of the sky, Luo and the narrator enjoy films, communist regime, We find out about the characters personalities, Luo, Country side, Narrator, re-educated, Life is hard and tough, Civilisation

Chapter 3, New Characters, Four-Eyes, an old friend who had been sent to another village, The Tailer, Little Seamstress' father, funny English accent, 'overgrown child', We Learn.., Luo is a great impersonator

Chapter 4, Little Seamstress, attractive, her eyes, nice feet, not civilised, New scene, 'In The Little Coal Mine', 'The Little Coal Mine', Luo is first introduced working in 'The Little Coal Mine', The Narrator joins in the work at mining the coal, and then bringing it in a basket back to the surface., Luo mentioned that 'He had this feeling that he will die in the mine', and after that day the Narrator shared his thought of not leaving the mine alive., The Narrator sometimes has visions of when he is at the brink of death, whereupon he saw his childhood race before him at a fast speed, just like the dying are said to see their lives past by in a flash., At the end of 6th week, Luo fell ill with Malaria., The Narrator found a envelope at the foot of a bed, and it was a letter from the Little Seamstress., The Little Seamstress wanted Luo and the Narrator to come to her village, and talk to her about a film.

Chapter 5, New scene, The seamstress's village, Going to tell 'The Little Flower seller, Most popular, from communist state - North Korea, New characters, The four sorceresses, Superstition, against communist ideals., Emphasizes the illusion of communism in china

Part 2

Chapter 1, Luo and Narrater's curiosity as to what is inside four eye's suitcase, Luo and Narrater anxiously wait for Four eye's return from work to quiz him about the contents of his suitcase, Luo asks four eye's if he has forbidden books inside his suitcase, Four eye's is not eager for the narrator's help

Chapter 2, Four eyes gives Luo and the narrator the book, Balzac, Luo startes reading the book and finishes by dawn, Luo passes the book to narrator. Narrator stays in bed until nightfall, without food reading Balzac., Luo finds Chinese Seamstress and tells her the wonderful story, Narrator copies out Balzac section onto his jacket

Chapter 3, Luo and Narrator Gave Four Eyes Food, Enterained him (hoping for more book), Four Eyes Got his new glasses, Regrets returning book back, Luo told what happen the other day under the Gingko Tree, Luo and the Narrator returns book back to Four Eyes, At this point, Four Eyes has already went to the Old mIller to TRY and get Folk songs....but has not suceeded, Four Eyes is washing his Jacket -- Get Rid of lice, Luo and the Narrator quickly thought, if they can do it (get folk songs), they will get more of Balzac's books

Chapter 4, Narrator felt insects crawling all over his body, Narrator imagined 4-Eyes as a wicked witch -shows that he does not like 4-Eyes, Old Miller likes to think of himself as rich as he calls the pebbles he sucks 'jade dumplings'., Pages 62-66, Narrator and Luo attempt to get songs for 4 eyes., They have more perserverance than 4 eyes, Suffering represents suffering of people under C.C.P, Shows they are better than 4 eyes, Means they will get Balzac books, Represents their freedom during re-education, They endure the suffering for Balzac, Balzac represents the 'west', Luo and Narrator act as communist officials, Ironic, 'You would have sworn I had stepped out of an official photograph of a Communist Part Conference', They don't like Communists, so them having to act like some is ironic., 'in keeping with his secretarial status', The Old Miller is unintelligent, 'What language is he speaking?', 'Where's Beijing?', 'For a moment I almost envied him his complete ignorance of the outside world.', The Old Miller is primitive, 'Bai Ping? Certainly, it's the big city in the north!', 'They're the mark of a revolutionary cadre.'

Chapter 5, Luo asks Four eyes for the books so that they'll leave, Four eyes thinks that Luo and the narrater has only brought them rubbish therefore rebels to bringing books, Four eyes wants Luo and the narrater to put away the papers, "burn it" or "put it away in your pocket", The narrater lunges at Four Eyes and punches him at the jaw, Bloodstains were left on the narrator's "Mao-style jacket" after the fight

Chapter 6, Narrator meets four-eye's mother, Narrator uses Luo's identity, Four-eyes mother denies giving Four-eyes books, The Little Seamstress proposes the idea to steal the books from Four-eyes, The Narrator, uses Luo's identity, gets opinions of himself from Four-eyes and Four-eyes mother

Chapter 7, Narrator's dream, shows narrator's subconcious feelings, His love for the little seamstress, How insecure the narrator is, Narrator is very afraid of letting Luo down

Part 3

chapter 1, FRANCIS'S DONT TOUCH, Luo and the main character start to read the western books which they stole from four eyes, Luo and the narrator see the red beaked raven when tehy climb the mountain to see the seamstress, The Narrator has a dream that the little seamstress falls off the ridge and dies. He worries for her and ask Luo to ask her to stay away from the ridge, Four eyes has left the mountain without denouncing them and the headman is at a communist party conference, New node

Chapter 2, Boris, we learn, The Headman asks Luo to help him with a dental issue, regarding his rotten teeth, in exchange for one month off work, The tailor visits the village the boys live in. He also surprises everyone by declaring that he wants to stay at the boys' house., The author and luo begin to tell a story written by Alexandre Dumas, called; 'The Count of Monte Cristo'., On the third night of story telling, the boys were caught be the village headman, and was condemned for spreading 'reactionary trash'. However the headman then struck a deal which would leave the author alone in exchange for Luo's dental services.

Chapter 3, Luo and the Tailor were fixing the headmans bad tooth. The Tailor tried to sew the headman's teeth. The headman was very painful and fell off the bed. The first attempt failed., The headman realized that he came a long difficult way to fix his bad tooth, so he tries again. Second attempt failed and he fell off the bed. The headman spat some blood out., The headman was strapped onto the bed and was forced to sew the bad tooth by the tailor., The narrator is working the treadle while the headman is suffering. He felt great because he hated the headman for taking him into custody., SCHADENFREUDE., Descriptions of the headman's teeth, The incisors and molars, Possibly dragged out descriptions

Chapter 4, Don't you dare... This is Matthew's, The old miller found two people having sex in a deep pool of green water, which was one or two kilometers away from his mill., He had no intention to spy on them, but he had never seen such thing in his life. He was also ashamed that he would never taste this kind of watery delight. The old miller continued spying on them and he saw them swimming out of the pool. He concentrated on the girl, who was naked and unfamiliar., He then saw the girl gathering a few leaves to make a loincloth and went on a rocky ledge to fit it on her naked body. She dived into the pool and the man was lolling against the rock, resting. The old miller also mentioned that man's private part was shrunken and sleeping..., The old miller suddenly recognized the man. The man was the interpreter who accompanied us (the reader) when we visited the old miller., The old miller decided not to expose this incident. He also mentioned that if it was someone else who saw it, the man and the girl will be in big trouble.

Chapter 5, Dragged out descriptions (Emphasis), Murky Pool, Symbolizing Outcome, Little Seamstress's enlightenment, due to western influences, appears more naive and daring than before, Foreshadowing, Betrayal, someone delete this

Chapter 6, Seamstress attempts to retrieve Luo's keyring, Shows how naive she is and how western influences seems to have made her optimistic (or foolish), The Scar on her middle finger symbolizes that she will always be loyal to Luo "The scar will be with me for 50 years to come".

Chapter 7, ELAINEZZZZZ keep off, PILZ, Luo leaves on a one month absence, so the narrator is put in charge of "guarding" the Little Seamstress, The narrator helps the Little Seamstress with chores, gets beaten up for her and random mountain people see the banned literacy book, The narrator runs home and has a dream about the people who beat him up and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Chapter 8, What happened?, Seamstress finds herself in a dilemma, she is pregnant with Luo's child, a result of the pregnancy, the streamstress decides to have an abortion., preacher dies from cancer, Last words are said in Latin, Family tries to make him show his support Chairman Mao so they wouldn't be ashamed of him fior being reactionary, the feelings of the narrator towards the little seamstress is revealed., expresses his feelings when he implied that he wished to be the one who was making love to her on the gingko tree., Abortion successful, exchange book by Balzac translated by Fu Lei for abortion

LAST CHAPTER, Last Chapter, Luo & Narrator burn the books after Seamstress leaves, due to the fact that it is because of this influence that the Seamstress departed for the city. A journey definitely ill fated and ending with disaster., Seamstress can be see modernizing her image. makes herself a brasserie, buys tennis shoes too clean for country living, We learn that the seamstress is becoming more 'sophisticated', this is welcomed by the gang. Surpasses luo and narrator in civilities?, Luo & Narrator discover seamstress has left for the city, She believes her beauty is a treasure beoynd price