A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Yiyun Li’s Use of Repetition to Define What Love Is 10th Grade

Many authors use different types of form in order to inform content, enhance their stories, and stress the messages that they are trying to get across. Yiyun Li effectively uses this technique in her short story collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, by using repetition as a means of informing content. The repetition of the word “promise” in Love in the Marketplace and the concept of empty promises versus kept promises in the Princess of Nebraska creates meaning in these short stories by stressing the need for shared values and a mutual understanding of commitment in order to find belonging and true love, as demonstrated by the characters in these stories.

In Love in the Marketplace, the repetition of the word “promise” throughout Sansan’s character development shows her belief of the essentiality of a mutual understanding of promise and a commitment to keeping promises in order to truly find love, and how love without these essential components cannot be successful. Sansan first falls in love with a man who makes an empty promise to her, which she discovers when he falls in love with another woman. Sansan feels betrayed, but realizes that because her values were different than his, their love would never have been able...

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