The Shadow Hero, (1-70)

<Clearly, you are your father’s son, Hank! You take your alcohol like a woman!>

<Shut your mouth! I could’ve outdrank any one of you back in China!>

<Ah, horse farts!>

<It’s true! You’re lucky we weren’t friends back then! I was quite something!>

<All right. Prove it then.>

* tortoise shadow appears behind Ba’s body as he is offered alcohol *

<No. Not Today.>

(Pg.9)

The scene takes place in the store with Hank, his father Ba, and his “uncles” as they are making fun of Ba saying that he drinks like a woman. When he is offered alcohol to prove himself, he decides to say no. This is connected to the very beginning of the story when the different shadow animals are talking about making the world good again and that government and westernized thoughts are not what is going to make positive changes. The tortoise shadow takes over Ba’s shadow and this scene is the first time that we see that the shadow is acting as kind of a self-conscience. So when he is offered alcohol, which is seen as a bad thing, his tortoise shadow kicks in and tells him to choose otherwise. Both this scene and the scene when Hank’s mother designs him a super hero costume to be just like The Anchor of Justice, can be seen as foreshadowing to the title, and to the main changing point of the story. When Hank’s father gets shot and dies, the shadow convinces Hank that if he can now live in his shadow, he will in return promise that Hank, as a super hero, will never get shot. That happens at the very end of the section and I believe that in the rest of the story, just as the tortoise shadow had lead Hank’s father to make the right decisions about alcohol, he will lead Hank to do what the shadows see as the right thing (based on their older beliefs) and help him be a better hero, hense the name of the book, “The Shadow Hero”.

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One thought on “The Shadow Hero, (1-70)

  1. I thought that this scene was interesting because it is one of the first scenes that you really begin to understand what the shadow tortoise’s relationship is with Hank’s father. At first, when I was reading, I didn’t even realize that Hank’s father was the same drunkard from the beginning of the story. I understood that they must be the same person, since he talks about his mother marrying a “good but modest shopkeeper” but I had a difficult time accepting the two men as being the same person. I kept waiting to find out that Hank’s mother remarried or something along those lines. But as the tortoise’s relationship with Hank’s father comes more to the forefront of the story, you gain a better understanding of how his influence can change an individual’s life.

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