Modern Asian Literature Comparison Essay by Peter Pen

Modern Asian Literature
This paper compares the role of the narrator in Li Xiao's "Grass on the Rooftop" and Kim Yisosk's "The Cuckoo".
# 103258 | 1,270 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2008

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This paper explains that both Li Xiao's "Grass on the Rooftop" and Kim Yisosk's "The Cuckoo" feature societies somehow marred by convoluted problems, which a narrator addresses as the story progresses. The author points out that, in "The Cuckoo", the narrator suggests that the fault may lie with the exploitative Americans; however, in "Grass on the Rooftop", the fault seems to lie with the communist agenda itself. The paper stresses that, regardless of where exactly the fault lies, an objective assessment by the narrator reveals that the individual is not responsible for the flaws of his or her society. The author underscores that the distance between the narrator and other characters provides sufficient room for the narrator to make objective assessments of the characters. The paper suggests that, in both stories, the ultimate significance of the individual is diminished in comparison to larger group forces.

From the Paper:

"In "Grass on the Rooftop," nearly all of the major characters in the book comply with no determined protest against the communist agenda. Furthermore, they offer no resistance because it is ultimately advantageous for them to do so. For instance, though the students from Shanghai briefly argue over whether or not they can fabricate details in a report regarding his supposed rescue of a Chairman Mao portrait, the argument terminates quickly because it is expected of them to provide a usable statement to the reporter and because they may simultaneously satisfy their own feelings on the matter."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Xiao, Li. "Grass on the Rooftop." Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused. Ed. Howard Goldblatt. New York: Grove P, 1995. 131-155.
  • Yisosk, Kim. "The Cuckoo." Modern Korean Literature. Comp. Peter H. Lee. Honolulu: University of Hawaii P, 1990. 105-124.
  • Cumings, Bruce. "Korean Sun Rising: Industrialization, 1953-1996." In Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History, pp. 303. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.
  • Morton, W. Scott. "The Cultural Revolution (1966-1979)." In China: Its History and Culture, pp. 216. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1995.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Modern Asian Literature (2008, April 30) Retrieved September 27, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Modern Asian Literature" 30 April 2008. Web. 27 September. 2022. <>