“The price of Eggs in China” by Don Lee
“The price of Eggs in China” by Don Lee
It is not until you carefully analyze the story “The Price of Eggs in China”, that you are able to see that the author creates a very interesting connection. One of the definitions of a metaphor is a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity. In the story the author creates a connection which relates to Dean by comparing the old, lavish wood he used before, to that of the simpler, less expensive wood he utilized after the fire. A metaphor is created between Dean’s change in the type of wood he used and the internal character transformation towards Caroline.
The author uses a number of very descriptive passages throughout the beginning of the story, in order to give the reader underlying details about the story. The use of the pristine, expensive and rare wood in the making of the chairs can be related to Dean’s personality. By making this connection one can say that Dean was a character who was untainted and in control of his attitude. He was a person who understood the value of his art work and with no doubt, priced them at a deserving amount. The fact that the wood was so rare can be related to the fact that Dean has an amazing and unique talent. It is this talent that propels Dean to reach the level of success that he now resides at.
In this stage of his life, Dean can be put in a level that is extremely above that of Caroline. He is a successful, rich and famous artist, while on the other hand, Caroline is a failed, poor and barely known artist. As a result of Caroline discovering Dean’s success, there is a separation between Dean and Caroline. Caroline is unable to co-exist with someone who is at a professional level higher than hers. This creates a problem that Dean realizes and subconsciously finds a way to correct.
In describing the two thousand year old wood Dean required, Japanese zelkova, the author gives the reader observations that can exploited as being descriptions that can be made about Dean. The first point that should be brought up is the fact that the name of the chair is “Kaneshiro Chair”. This can be a metaphor for the chair being a representation of Dean, and ultimately, the wood being used to make the chair his soul or inner feelings. In this quote, “From the logging to the tung oil finish, the wood never touched a power tool.” we can extract the fact that Dean was a person who did not rely in others. The lack of the use of power tools from the beginning process of tree selection to the ending process of applying the fast drying oil shows a characteristic in which Dean has an understanding that he is in a person that does not depend on others to achieve his goals.
When Dean Kaneshiro is faced with the loss of his Japanese zelkova wood supply, he is faced with the choice of either starting to stock more of the rare keyaki wood or shifting to a new type of wood. The fact that Dean decides to transfer to a new kind of wood tells the readers some very important insights. At this point, the author wants to make the switching to a new type of wood a metaphor for the change in the character attitude that Dean undergoes. By making this merge to the new type of wood, English walnut, Dean is able to get rid of his problems. He is ultimately able to lower himself to the same level in which Caroline has settled. From the quote “He delivered the chair to Marcella just before she left town,” we see that Marcella was the last person to be able to acquire a Kaneshiro chair. This implies that Dean was in a sense giving away his exotic and famous life away. There is a type of cleansing process that occurs to Dean.
When analyzing the English walnut wood, it is clear that Dean selected to continue his work with a much less interesting wood. When looking at this quote “He would dry and clean up the boards that were salvageable, and when he exhausted that supply, he would switch to English walnut, a nice wood – pretty, durable, available,” we can see that one of the words the author choose to describe the wood is “nice”. It is obvious that the author could have used more luxurious words, but he did not. He instead chose a much simpler word. This can be related to what Dean has changed into. He is no longer the exotic and famous person from before. He is now a simple person. A new life has been forced onto him and he must make the necessary adjustments to fit into it. Another word that describes the new wood is “pretty”. This is an important detail because never before has the author described the wood or Dean’s art as pretty. Pretty is a word that so much simplifies and restrains the reaches of any object. This implies that Dean’s art work will be limited from further development.
The need for analytical details in a story is crucial to the story’s success. One of the most all-encompassing metaphors of the story is the title. “The Price of Eggs in China” directly correlates to the plot and meaning of the story. The title can be divided into two parts. The first part corresponds to the significant change in the wood, therefore the change in himself, that Dean had to undergo, which is “The Price”. The second part of the title, “of Eggs in China” means being together and having a baby with Caroline. This can also be supported by noting that Caroline was of Chinese decent.