The Tailor's Role in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

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English 1AA3

The Tailor’s New Clothes

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a novel that is set in China during the

Chinese Revolution. The novel focuses greatly on the re-education of the narrator as well

as his friend Luo. It also introduces many major characters like the Little Chinese

Seamstress, who have a large impacts on the two boys. Similarly, the novel also has

many minor characters that influence how the major characters’ roles develop throughout

the novel, like the Tailor. The Tailor is a well-respected man in the village and he is also

considered higher class. This allows him to freely express himself in the midst of the

Cultural Revolution through the clothing he makes throughout the novel. The Tailor also

helped the narrator unlock his potential through his curiosity in the stories that were being

told. This essay will focus on the important role of the Tailor and how he impacted the

other characters in the novel.

The tailor is seen as an individual with a higher status within the village, because

of the great demand for the clothing he makes. He is extremely popular and successful

among the people because of his craft and he was often used as a symbol of wealth for

the people who used his services. “The home of his client, filled with the whirr of his

sewing machine, would be the hub of village life, giving the host family the opportunity

to display their wealth.” (Dai, 22) During the midst of the Cultural Revolution, many

villagers are not able to express themselves freely. The role of the Tailor is important

because he is able to express himself in any way possible through the types of clothes that

Mariampillai, 2

he decides to make. “Inevitably, some of the details he picked up from the French story

started to have a discreet influence on the clothes he was making for the villagers.”...
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