Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

How can this novel be read as a coming-of-age novel? Do the events in the story change the narrator and Luo? Have they lost their innocence by the end of the book?


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Throughout their time in the countryside, the narrator and Luo mature both intellectually and emotionally. Four-Eyes's books awaken them to the beauty of Western literature, while the ideas of the novels inform their budding personal philosophies. Through reading, the narrator comes to know himself, and arguably develops the courage he later shows in helping the Seamstress procure an abortion. Their relationships with the Seamstress also inspire emotional maturity. Luo has his first romantic relationship with her, and experiences emotional trauma when she leaves at the end of the book. The narrator, on the other hand, learns about how to treat others by watching Luo's mistakes. Arguably, Dai means to tell a story foremost about maturity, evidenced by the fact that the novel ends immediately after their days of innocence with the Seamstress come to an end.