Maos Last Dancer- Techniques

The technique of symbolism is used throughout the prologue of the text Mao’s Last Dancer. When Li’s mother and father get married, they take part in many old Chinese wedding traditions which represent their future life together.
“Then she put eight pairs of chopsticks into her mother’s pocket. The remaining two she keeps …These symbolise the early arrival of sons” (prologue)

The use of Chinese customs and traditions in Mao’s Last Dancer gives the viewer background knowledge into the subject of the text and adds authenticity. The use of chopsticks symbolising the early arrival of sons shows the importance of having sons in China so they could work the land which match the views and main principles of the Communist Government.

Having sons were very important in Chinese Culture. “My mother eventually came to be known as ‘that lucky woman with the seven sons’ “. The inclusion of these cultural references help break down the cultural barriers between Cunxin and his reader. By understanding the culture he has come from, the reader is able to relate to Cunxin and empathise with his story.

Since Cunxin was accepted into the ballet academy he did not have to conform and work in the fields as was expected. His perspective on life changed and opened up his view on the world.

As a child Cunxin was told a fable by his father about a frog in a well. It is about a frog that lived in a well and could only see a small patch of sky. He thought that everything he needed was inside the well, but another frog that was above the well told him that there were much better things outside. At first the frog in the well didn’t believe him, but then he started jumping and trying to get out of the well to see what was on the outside. He realised that he was wrong about his well and his perspective of what was around him changed.

After Cunxin was chosen to train as a ballet dancer in Beijing, he won a scholarship to America. It was here that Cunxin, a faithful follower of Mao...