The King Of Trees

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Throughout Ah Cheng’s The King of Trees, symbolism and imagery are utilized in order to suggest how the Cultural Revolution under Maoist rule was fruitless and hindered progress. Cheng delineates distinctive criticisms of the Revolution in each of the three novellas by employing variations of symbolism and imagery through visualization and detail that insinuate his opinion regarding Maoism; this serves to refute the logic behind the governmental policies implemented by Mao at the time and to instead emphasize the importance of adhering to traditional Chinese values. The symbolism and imagery are dispersed throughout the novellas and recur in order to reinforce common ideas regarding the feebleness of the revolution, which will be demonstrated…show more content…
In The King of Trees, the theme of the destruction of nature is paralleled by the decaying of the older customs and traditions in China under Mao. The initial attitude of the Educated Youth sent into the countryside alone to “cut down useless trees and replace them with useful ones” (11) reflects the futility of the Revolution as a whole, as they intend to “be educated by the poor and lower-middle peasants” but instead disregard the advice of Knotty and the peasants to establish their own governmental work policy (11). The workers, insisting that “the growth cycle of plants means that the new supersedes the old” (14), maintain their refusal to heed Knotty’s warning regarding the spirit of nature and instead refute that “trees growing wild get in the way, they need to be cut down—that’s revolution” (46). Yet they noticed that there…show more content…
He walked into the white sunshine” (176-177). Wang Fu’s father derived his strength from a white sun in place of a red sun, which was Mao’s symbol during the revolution. This use of symbolism suggests that Maoist rule failed to bring strength to the people subjected to it; rather, they would only have been able to attain strength by being encouraged to follow traditional cultural values. Beanpole himself describes, upon leaving his job, as he “carried [his] bag through the heavy mist along the mountain path…As before, the sun was a white disc” (178). He recognizes the mist, which is representative of the lack of clarity in following Maoist educational values; furthermore, the recurrent pattern of the white sun as the force behind the mist allows readers to understand how Beanpole finally sees through the mist and acknowledges the truth about the Cultural

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