Sample Paper on Communication

Reeling for the empire can simply be described as a story that defies all the descriptions, it is one of the most compelling stories in Karen Russell’s novel Vampires in the Lemon Grove. The story creatively manipulated fantastical images, which are presented as mundane gifts to an audience that is eager to learn about the deeper meaning of the story. Reeling for the empire chronicles different themes that are reflected in the transformation of three women, who boldly depict a harsh lifestyle that is endured by many women and girls in the world today. This literary analysis will examine the lives of the three characters in the story by analyzing the setting, lifestyle, transition, support, and the symbolic meaning of the whole story, and determine how all these factors affect their lives.

The story is set in Japan where numerous changes regarding women take place. During this time, women are sold to service by their fathers and then forced to reel. The situation of the girls in the book exhibit the pathetic situation women have to go through in the hands of their chauvinistic male counterparts, the girls in the story are brutally transformed into hybrid creatures that are half women and half silkworms, they have bells and whistles in their bodies. The jobs that they do are immensely dehumanizing and it transforms them to become institutions, as the narrator of the story reveals, there was no time for the girls to meditate on what they were becoming.

The brutality that the girls faced is partly caused by the influence of the imperial propaganda in the Japanese system. To support this argument, the narrator of the story; who is a girl, talk with pride concerning the situations that she goes through even though it is evident that she is going through a hard time. The story’s characters describe the factory where they work as the nowhere mill. It is important to note that they do not consider the geographical location to be significant. The brutality of the system is further exhibited by the harsh lifestyle in the factory, despite the fact that the girls entered the factory with names and hometowns; they are covered with fur and are converted to become sisters. The narrator of the story; a girl, is the only one who willingly signs the contract to work in this factory. All the girls in the story suffer with the issue of identity and understanding who they are. To be able to understand their situations, they try to reinvent themselves by creating new pasts to help them forget about their old ones. For example, the main character is not able to let go of her memory and the fact that she was recruited in this factory.

The reeling machine acts as a transition for the characters. Through a series of events, the girls manage to stage a revolution and cocoon the agent who signs them using their silk. They change into moths; creatures that have wings and free themselves, the conditions that they are forced to endure serves as their breaking point. From the onset of this story, it is evident that the girls represent families because the Japanese system recruits them to work on behalf of their families. The job they do is marketed as prestigious, and for this reason some girls like the main character freely sign to work in the factory so that they can earn and assist their families; girls from diverse backgrounds are recruited. The families of the characters are given a five-yen advance.

The issue of support is a common element in this story. The characters in the story support one another, for example, they help to support Kitsune’s development; Kitsune is the main character in this story. When Kitsune begins to feel overwhelmed by memories and her silk turns from green to black, one of the girls, Dai, convinces her to do something about it and make a change in her life. Dai tells the main character that she has the free will to do as she liked, and to demonstrate what she meant, Dai goes on a strike and refuses to spin threads. Despite the fact that Dai dies after some few days, she shows the girls that it is actually possible for change to take place; this kind of support is what gives way to a revolution.

This story represents the social entrapment of women, as the characters emphasize on the inescapably social dimension of the women around the world and their vulnerability to the men controlling nature. It also represents the ability of women to resist and escape from brutal entrapment. Women entrapment affects a majority of women in different ways. First, it denies them significant networks of support by using humiliation and control. In the story, a machine that controls them entraps the characters. The reeling machine in the factory seems to be the only way the girls are able to get food and to survive. At the end, the girls are able to turn themselves into moths and free from captivity. This shows that various networks in the systems can work to the advantage of women by assisting them to leave their abusers. One of the major strong points with this book is the fact that the author has emphasized so much on what led to the characters predicament; this makes it easy for the readers to connect the different pieces presented in the book.

The Reeling of the empire is symbolic of what happens in the real world, and the oppression of the girls signifies the oppression of women at the workplace. Today, many women are still oppressed under a chauvinistic system. The association of the silkworms and the transformation of the social working conditions create a deep perspective of gender roles. Many women are not free today and they require freedom from the oppressive systems. For example, in today’s world, many women are paid less than their male counterparts, women are also expected to work extra hard to raise their families. They are turned into little silkworms that are expected to follow the rules created by men for their benefit. Each of the girls in the book spends many hours spooling a beautiful cloth only for it to be collected by a man and sold. The metaphor that is used in the story is strong and emphasizes on the need for reforms for all the factory workers.

In conclusion, the book has ended with a girl power mood; this depicts the power of the author to create an excellent plot that serves two purposes; entertainment and awareness. In the story the girls are affected by the predominantly male society that design systems to oppress women, however, humor is created when they are turned to silkworms. The girls are placed in hostile conditions that deprive them of the basic right of freedom, despite the odds, the women find a way to free themselves from the oppression of the chauvinistic systems; their turning point serves as an awareness platform for women and people, to free from systems that oppress them.