Mao’s Last Dancer
1. Identify your text and author
Non-fiction text, autobiography: Mao’s Last Dancer written by Li Cunxin
2. What is this text about? Summarise the story or the premise of the text. The text is about a young, peasant boy called Li Cunxin who lives in a poor village in north-east China. The text is set around the rule of the communist party led by Chairman Mao. One day, Li is visited by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates at his school. They are searching for young children to be guards for Chairman Mao and Li becomes one of them. The text conveys a physical and inner journey as Li leaves his small village and dances for some of the most exceptional ballet companies in the world.
3. Identify three aspects of the journey that the text explores and explain each of these. The text explores:
Journeys offer opportunities for travellers to extend themselves- Li Cunxin has the opportunity to broaden his view of the world in contrast to his small village in China. Journeys may have difficulties and challenges- Li faces many challenges as he embarks on his journey to find a new solution to his previous destitute life. Journeys offer hope for a better tomorrow- Li ventures out from his village life, seeking a solution to improve his situation and to find meaning for himself.
4. How does this text explore the concept of the journey? What techniques of the text type help you understand the message of the journey? For example, you will need to analyse the film techniques of a film or the poetic techniques of a poem. Journeys offer opportunities for travellers to extend themselves- Li travels to America and is amazed at all the opportunities America has to offer, “Instead I saw high-rise buildings, wide-clean streets, a green and orderly environment... Someone had lied to us about America being the poorest nation in the world and China being the richest nation. It seemed to be the opposite.” The use of imagery emphasises Li’s astonishment of the...
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