One of the first things that I noticed when reading this book is that the roles of the parents are very different from what we have seen in the past. Traditionally, we have seen either an absence of a father figure or a very uninvolved father figure. Additionally, Minli’s mother is very critical and not as comforting or level headed as her father is; for example, “she never quite approved of Ba’s stories, as she felt they made Minli impractical and caused her to daydream” (9). When Minli returns with the goldfish, she is admonished by her mother so much so that she decides to free the fish. While Ma seems more controlling than Ba, they both come together to search for Minli when she goes missing. We learn a valuable lesson from her parents after they meet the goldfish man. First, he tells them to believe that Minli will return safely. He helps instill a feeling of trust in Minli that is expressed both in the story of the the goldfish man and the story of the paper of happiness. While several of the stories in the novel do not seem to be as educational as the others, these two directly influence the key to Minli’s parents’ faith in her ability to make it home safely. While didacticism can sometimes be blatant and somewhat annoying in novels of this nature (ie. with fantastic stories), I think that it is dynamic to also have the parents growing and learning along the way. At times it seems that Minli is more mature and level headed than her mother who seems to over react frequently at the beginning of the novel. This structural technique of going back and forth between Minli’s journey and that of her parents adds a differing perspective on the didactic technique of storytelling. 

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