Mao’s Last Dancer depicts Li’s mental struggle to overcome diversity. Discuss.
It has been widely noted that the novel, Mao’s Last Dancer depicts Li Cunxin’s mental strength as a way of overcoming diversity. While this is certainly true, there are also other factors to consider, such as the strong family ties and values which helped him so greatly to succeed.
Firstly, it is true that if one has the mental qualities of great motivation, perseverance, inner strength and confidence, then one can surely succeed in life. For example, Li shows remarkable perseverance when he tries to master split jumps. (p.187) He practises them again and again, never giving up, even though he is in agony from his ham string muscles. His confidence grows because of this achievement, and he compares all of his growing improvements and achievements as winning battles in a war. However, Li is still not satisfied. He complains to Teacher Xiao that there is nothing special about himself that will make him a good dancer. Teacher Xiao then encourages Li by reminding him about the archer fable that he had told to the class, telling him that, “…nothing is impossible for a determined human being”. (p.190) From that day onwards, the archer in the fable becomes a source of inspiration for Li. Another great source of inspiration comes from watching a video of the Russian dancer Baryshnikov. Baryshnikov becomes Li’s role model, and inspires him to set new standards for himself, daring him to believe that if Baryshnikov could dance like that, then so could he. (p.210)
On the other hand, it could be argued that Li had inherited inner strength from his family. One example is when Teacher Xiao tells Li that he has been watching his work. Teacher Xiao, who has met Li’s parents, and seen their hardship, tells Li never to doubt his ability because he has inherited the inner strength of his parents. (p.189) In addition to inner strength,...