The Great Wall of China Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Great Wall of China

This story succeeds where Kafka's 'Metamorphosis' fails. (In the more famous Metamorphosis a man, a miserable salesman, who lives the life of a work-beetle, overnight turns into a giant beetle and then lives out the rest of his miserable existence in that form: literally a mere beetle in life's great hierarchy of being. Unfortunately, within that story Kafka provides no reason whatsoever for this entomological grotesquerie, and life, not actually being that arbitrary (except on a madman's level of understanding), remains largely uncommented on. After all, the poor man might just have easily turned into unicorn or a dragon or a elf-lord and consequently lived out a thoroughly interesting life.)
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But 'The Great Wall' is a polished gem. Even in translation its precision-cut thought and theme is evident. An educated man, not a labourer, but not a top architect or government mandarin, reflects on his life's work, overseeing the building of his small portions of the Great Wall. He knows his place in the great hierarchy of things. He knows that his contribution, objectively measured, is miniscule - yet also important. He understands more than the simple peasant work-ganger, and he understand something of echelons immediately above him, from whom he receives his orders. Some of the tactics of the great game he has fathomed. But the top echelon, its ultimate strategy? The real motives, and motives within motives - the knowing of all the checks and balances, the master plan of the emperor and his courtiers? Who can say. He has his place; he understands what he can and does what he can. He is content.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

Chapter Analysis of The Great Wall of China

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Life of a profession:    -   blue collar worker Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Chinese Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   engineer Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Chinese


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   China Prairie?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   little dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Great Wall of China

Franz Kafka Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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