A Thousand Years of Good Prayers - Immortality Summary & Analysis

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Summary

“Immortality” begins with a collective narrator explaining how their village used to provide China’s emperors with eunuchs, or “Great Papas,” as servants (44). The wages earned by these few sons would allow their families to marry off other sons to continue the family name; as such, the Great Papas were venerated. After the fall of Imperial China and the rise of communism, the village finds itself struggling to make itself consequential. During this time, a woman conceives and studies pictures of Mao’s face every day during the pregnancy, resulting in the baby having Mao’s features; unfortunately, her husband is soon executed for making a drunken joke about Mao’s policies. The villagers shun the mother and son, fearing accusations of sympathizing with “counterrevolutionaries,” but simultaneously fear that they might be punished for not praising the boy’s Mao-like features (52). As the boy...

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This section contains 1,287 words
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