Iron & Silk Essay Example
Iron & Silk Essay Example

Iron & Silk Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1071 words)
  • Published: July 2, 2018
  • Type: Retelling
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Chapter 1: Challenges in reaching Changsha, China

The first chapter introduces four individuals and their struggles to reach Changsha, China. Along the way, they encounter opportunistic people at train stations and airports who exploit the foreigners' unfamiliarity with the surroundings. The narrator, being the protagonist, has an unclear reason for being in Changsha.

He mentioned that the other three individuals were present to educate in the subject of English. It can be inferred that all of them are American. Numerous individuals at the train station attempt to exploit them and prevent them from reaching their desired destinations through various regulations and clearly fabricated rules. Eventually, they do arrive in Changsha and receive a warm welcome from the officials responsible for foreign affairs at the university they are affiliated with. They emb


ark on an enlightening van ride to the university, where they are welcomed by exceptional administration staff.

For the rest of the chapter, the narrator and his friends familiarize themselves with the university and explore the city on a historical tour.

Chapter 2

This chapter focuses solely on introducing and discussing the main character. He has taken up a role as an English teacher at Hunan Medical College in Changsha for a duration of 2 years. We are provided insights into his journey to this point and his lifelong fascination with Chinese culture from childhood.

In Chapter two, the text discusses the narrator's daily life as a teacher. The narrator teaches various age groups but primarily older individuals. Throughout this section, the narrator forms a strong bond with fellow teachers and faculty members. Furthermore, the narrator expresses dee

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satisfaction in their profession and the students they educate.

Chapter 3

The book's structure changes in chapter three, with several small segments within each chapter. These sections recount different stories and experiences the author had in China. Through these stories, the author gained insights into Chinese culture and other aspects. For example, one story explores a community's investigation of a woman's suicide. The community questioned whether the responsibility solely belonged to the individual or if their family environment played a role. Ultimately, they discovered it was a personal matter unrelated to the family. By sharing these narratives, the author intends to showcase various aspects of Chinese culture.

Chapter 4

In chapter 3, a character named Pan is introduced. Pan is a martial arts teacher who is not impressed by the narrator's martial arts skills but agrees to teach him. Through the lessons in chapter 4, it becomes clear that Pan is dedicated and serious about his work and teachings. In the area, Pan is renowned for his exceptional skills. One day, he invites the narrator over for dinner and asks him to learn English as his only request. Pan has his own unconventional method of teaching English, which the narrator manages to adapt to.

The chapter was significant as it highlighted the connection between Chinese and American individuals who were pursuing distinct objectives using the same medium. Additionally, chapter 4 featured a narrative about the short story "the lottery," in which a young girl questioned the intentions and creativity of American authors. This sparked a passionate and opinionated conversation.

Chapter 5

In chapter 5, the training exercises took a backseat due to

conflicting opinions from various agencies in China. Moreover, Pan's international recognition and frequent travels posed challenges to time dedicated for practice.

The narrator was expelled from the training facility because they were a foreigner and no longer had access to the high-quality lessons that were previously offered. During the summer, when the narrator is in the United States, they enjoy going back home to New York. It is during this time that they meet Teacher Hei, who is also a wushu teacher like Pan. Teacher Hei is willing to assist the narrator with their studies and training.

In chapter six of the book, Teacher Hei starts teaching Wushu to the narrator and eventually invites the narrator to his home.

Chapter 6

The narrator has a peculiar meeting where he encounters a man who wants to borrow books for translation. This man specifically chooses old American novels, but quickly returns them, stating that they are not appropriate for Chinese culture.

Many of the translations were inappropriate and could cause trouble for the translator. However, he did come across one particular novel called "The World according to garp". After reading it, he claimed it was the most inappropriate novel he had ever read. When asked if he enjoyed it, the man requested to keep it. Another incident occurred on a train when a man discussed reuniting with his mother after a long time. His friend admonished him for mentioning family matters in front of foreigners who were far away from home.

I believe it was an indication of the narrator's homesickness.

Chapter 7

In chapter seven, Pan faces several health issues but ignores them. Nevertheless, he continues to train both the

national team and the narrator. Pan has a conversation with the narrator and inquires about his desired areas of learning before departure. The narrator expresses his fascination with a specific style of wushu that he had witnessed Pan practicing using a long sword.

Pan agreed to assist, but cautioned him that any errors would greatly sadden Pan. In chapter 7, an emaciated individual with a strong love for calligraphy is introduced. It had been previously mentioned in the narrative that the narrator himself possessed a deep fascination with calligraphy. The frail individual penned a letter to the narrator and commenced instructing him in calligraphy. Regrettably, after a few sessions, the person fell into a coma and was hospitalized by the conclusion of the chapter.

Chapter 8

The final chapter concludes the story with the protagonist's last training session with Pan. Surprisingly, Pan appears in the protagonist's room and they begin their final sessions. As a farewell gift, Pan gives the protagonist a long sword. They train together for hours before returning to their homes. This marks the end of the narrator's time in China, while Pan returns to North China. In summary, the book recounts the narrator's experiences in China and the valuable lessons learned about Chinese culture and self-discovery.

Although he initially felt fearful and hesitant, he had always been fascinated by the culture. However, once he found the courage to start the journey, it resulted in an unforgettable experience.

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