This paper makes an attempt to analyse the Can Xue's "The Child Who Raised Poisonous Snakes". Also, this paper aims to explore the variety of themes and ideologies which are present throughout the story and the meaning of the story with the character, Sha – yuan…
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The story becomes a metaphor toward a larger theme of the story which links to the relationship between the child and the parents and the interactions which occur. While the parents are raising a child, they are aloof to the needs and differences with the child. The author is able to show a prevalent problem among families not recognizing the needs of children while remaining separate from the family. This particular story is able to portray this concept through the various literary techniques used, including repetition, symbolism, characterization and the use of not stating the reality of the situation. A specific phrase which continues to be repeated throughout the story is in relation to the child, Sha – yuan. The phrase which is stated is that “But he felt tired very easily…Whenever he felt tired, he simply lay down no matter where and fell asleep” (Xue, 644). This particular phrase is seen with Sha – yuan talking to others or any time he is in a situation where attention is brought to him. The idea of Sha – yuan being inactive and falling asleep is not only significant because of the meaning of the child being absent from life. There is also an implication of the parents being absent from the growth of the child and what is occurring because of the problems which he is facing. The author is then able to convey the theme through the child falling asleep that there is not a connection between the child and the parents as well as loss of the families which were able to care for children in a different manner. The phrase of the child falling asleep also attributes to the absence of words that the author chooses not to use with the story. Instead of the story being based on a child who plays with snakes, there is a deeper meaning which causes the story to become metaphorical. The author does not state an ending to the plot and there are several gaps when looking at the relationship between the parent and the child. Eventually, this leads to the narrator stating “What was Sha – yuan after all? I pondered hard, but in my mind there were only some miscellaneous fragments, some odd remarks. When I tried to concentrate, even the remarks faded away” (689). The unstated fact is that Sha – yuan and the parents are so disconnected that they don’t remember who is and cannot portray this to anyone else. The absence of remarks about the child is able to lead to a variety of conclusions. This is based on the question of whether the child exists as well as the perception of whether the child exists to the parents. The layers of implications are able to create deeper meaning through the absence of stating the conclusion or mystery in association with the character. There are a variety of phrases which imply the theme of the parents not caring for the child and the disconnection from the parents to the child. Words and terms like Sha – yuan disappearing or spending time with the snakes are associated with this. There are also remarks that are continuous with the parents not noticing with the loss or gain in weight while Sha – yuan also states that the snakes in his belly are something which his parents don’t need to know about (687). The continuous repetition of these ideas creates a stronger understanding of what is not said from the narration and what is occurring. The perception of the author is able to come through these statements, specifically with the odd behaviors of the child as well as what goes unnoticed by the parents. The ability for the child to continuously disappear like snakes and the changes which are unnoticed add into the aloof behavior of the parents toward Sha –
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