Literary Analysis Essay on The King of Trees by Ah Cheng

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Wesleyan University
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We resemble Li Li because we do not take time to ponder about consequences of some of our actions as we pursue a cause we deem to be noble. Most of us when pursuing a course that we believe is noble fail to use common sense in addressing issues that we think may impede us in attaining our goals. Even though Li Li belongs to a crop of educated youth who want to transform China through a revolution by eradicating old values, the youth should have known best that destroying an ecosystem has more negative effects than the alleged benefits of the emancipation of people from old mindsets. Li strongly believes that educated youth are the hope for China’s transformation to being a prosperous country. Li affirms that old things should be destroyed to pave the way for new things. The party secretary states without destruction, there is no construction (Cheng 48). However, the truth of the matter is that not all old things are bad, there are old things that are of great value. People learn from old things, it’s unintelligent to dismiss all old things as being of no importance. Trees are important to an ecosystem. Trees attract rain and makeup forests that are a habitat for many wild animals. Trees purify the air by getting rid of carbon-dioxide gas and enriching the atmosphere with oxygen gas, oxygen gas is used by animals for respiration and gaseous exchange. Despite the fact that China needed a revolution to transform the lives of its people, destroying an ecosystem as a path towards the attainment of a certain goal was a miscalculation, and it was uncalled for. It is strange that young, educated people see no value in the conservation of an ecosystem. The educated youths’ decision to overlook the importance of the ecosystem is akin to a stance held by many people when they are focused to achieve a certain goal. When many people are focused on achieving a goal that they deem is superior, they tend to trivialize everything else as less important. Despite the revolution of China being important, the conservation of ecosystems was equally important.

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Dissenting Opinions and Ideas in The King of Trees

When many people pursue a cause they believe is noble, they do not take time to listen to dissenting views. Despite forging ahead in pursuing an ideal one’s beliefs are of great value, he or she should learn to listen to dissenting opinions and ideas. One is likely to learn more by listening to dissenting views and opinions. Listening to dissenting opinions is also of great value because it enables one to refine his ideas and action process in attaining his goals. Li gives a deaf year to Knotty explanation about the importance of the oldest and largest tree in the area. Li adamantly states that the oldest and largest tree in the area is of no financial value.

What’s it good for? Firewood? Tables and chairs? Building houses? There is hardly any economic value in it (Cheng 45).

Character Analysis of Li Li

Most human beings resemble Li Li. They miss opportunities to adapt values that they deem are important to specific circumstances. The mountainous forest that Li Li and his group of youth had gone to clear was a source of livelihood for people who lived in Knotty village. Cutting trees in a forest that is a source of livelihood for a given village would surely interfere with day to activities of residents of that village. The forest was a source of firewood, wild game, and food crops for people who lived in Knotty village. The oldest and largest tree that Li Li fell had for a long time been revered in Knotty village. The tree was a symbol of unity and solidarity. As a matter of fact, team leaders were hesitant in part of the group that brings down the old tree. The reverence that was accorded to the tree was revealed by a solemn attitude that spread over the village on the day that the old tree was to be brought down. In his opposition that the old tree should not be cut, Knotty did state that it would have been noble if other trees were cut but the old tree left so that it could remain a witness to the work of the Supreme God in Heaven (Cheng 46). However, Li Lis retort dismissing Knottys statement with contempt by stating that gods did not bring lands under cultivation or help man in forging iron is disrespectful to the villagers and is unlikely to win his cause new followers. Li Li should have shown respect to the villagers by not dismissing their beliefs, he would have won over new followers had he done so. The villagers would have seen more sense in Li Lis cause had he respected their beliefs and did not demean their thinking and way of life.

Narrators Role in The King of Trees

Most people are akin to the narrator. Most people are sympathetic and full of reason, but they prefer being passive rather than being bold, firm, and courageous to speak up against what they view as wrong. The narrator’s beliefs are those of ensuring people live in harmony and free of conflict. Despite the fact that the narrator is intelligent, rational, friendly, and close to both Li Li and Knotty, he fails to initiate a consensus that would have prevented destruction. The narrator should have used his closeness to Li Li, the party secretary, and educated youth to prevent them from destroying the ecosystem. Despite the fact that the narrator had come to discover that the ecosystem was very important to the villagers, he did nothing in trying to influence his colleagues to see the importance of the forest to the villagers. There are many people who are of reason, but they prefer to be quiet in the face of important issues. The narrator’s behavior is out of cowardice and timidity. Timidity and cowardice are traits that prevent people with reason from making positive contributions to society. The narrator should have started a revolution among his group of educated youth to ensure that the group used logic and reason in carrying out their activities. The narrator’s cowardice is aptly revealed when he remains silent during Knottys altercation with Li Li (Cheng 45). Had the narrator been courageous, he would have at least said something as the altercation between Knotty and Li Li ensued. As a matter of fact, he would have come to Knotty defense. The narrator had developed a close bond with Knotty and Knotty son, Six Claws. The narrator’s affection for Six Claws had been demonstrated by the great lengths he had gone in keeping his promise of giving Six Claws candies. The narrator had destroyed his chances of endearing himself to girls in his youth group by requesting candy at the top of the voice. He had later clarified that the candies were meant for Six Claws. The narrator had gone to the extent of buying Six Claws a jar full of candies. The narrator had also engaged in several conversations with Knotty, and apparently, the two had a penchant for each other. How can one keep quiet when his friend is under attack? Cowardice, timidity, and being a people-pleaser can best explain the narrator’s behavior. Strange as it sounds, most people’s behaviors are akin to that of the narrator.

Works Cited

Cheng, Ah. The King of Trees. New York: New Directions Books, 2010. Print.

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