He is an 18 year old city youth who has been sent to a village to be re-educated. His father was a famous dentist who claimed to have fixed Mao's teeth. For this, his father was labelled a reactionary and humiliated in front of a crowd.
They have known each other since they were really young, and have a very strong friendship, in which their has only been one major fight, which involved Luo punching Ma because he didn't want Ma to feel sorry for him. This also can indicate that he doesn't value the friendship as much as Ma does, implying a superior attitude that is highlighted later on. This friendship with Ma also seems to be extremely one-sided, with Ma mentioning their friendship much more than Luo, who seems more engaged with the LCS. Ma&#x2019;s devotion can also be clearly seen in the way he listens to everything Luo said. However, this might be because of the narrator being Ma instead of Luo, so we will be privy to his thoughts not Luo&#x2019;s. Also, when Luo asks Ma to guard the LCS, he seems to be putting a lot of trust on Ma, a fact that doesn&#x2019;t go unnoticed, as you can see.
His relationship with LCS has its ups and downs. The idea of their relationship begins when Ma questions Luo about her, to which Luo gives an arrogant reply. But their relationship soon progresses, and the LCS&#x2019;s preference for Luo over Ma is shown when she writes a letter to him, and only mentions Ma at the end, as the fiddler. Luo&#x2019;s love for the LCS is shown when he still goes to her village even though he is extremely sick just to see her. A high point of their relationship is when they have sex under a gingko tree. Luo takes the superior role in the relationship, changing and molding the LCS into what he believes is a good city girl. Ironically it is his own molding, which he praises, that eventually pushes her away from him when she leaves. However, he is also shown to care for the LCS when he climbs over a thin, narrow ridge which is above a high ridge every day to meet her, even though he is scared of heights. This shows his dedication to the relationship he has with her. They also share a close physical relationship, which is shown when they are seen by the miller in the water having sex.
In the beginning of the novel, Luo is portrayed as being audacious, such as when he saves Ma&#x2019;s Violin from getting destroyed by lying to the village headman. Dai even uses the words audacity to highlight this trait. Later on in the novel, Luo changes the time on the rooster clock when it is plain sight of the headman just so he can sleep in a few hours, showing his audacious and daring behavior.He is also audacious when, having just met LCS, he immediately asks her to take off her shoe and socks, something that is not done in the mountain, without even feeling a bit shy. He also shows his audaciousness when he has sex with the LCS. Luo also shows his audacious streak by pretending to be an official translator for the chinese government. This marks the beginning of his illicit activities like robbery. This is the first time he has done something like this, which can be seen in the quote above, which shows that he has become more of a risk taker and has become more audacious in his approach to life. His audaciousness is also highlighted when he gets over his fear of heights to reach the LCS.
Luo is also portrayed as being the superior and more mature character. When he is asked by Ma about his feelings for the LCS, he merely replies that she isn&#x2019;t good enough for him, implying that he is superior to her. His superiority is also shown when he punches Ma, just because he cried for his father. This way, he sought to keep up his superior image of not caring about anything. He also adopts a conqueror&#x2019;s air, adding to his image as a superior character. Ironically, in the end of the book, it is this mature, superior character that gets drunk. He is also seen as susceptible to disease, and he falls severly sick with malaria.
Luo&#x2019;s character can also be seen when he throws the keys into the pool. This symbolizes his defeatist thinking, and that he is prone to give up when the odds are against him, showing that his superior attitude has been changed to one of a defeated individual. The keys also represent his only hope to freedom, and by throwing it away, he is adopting the mountain as his home, whereas the LCS wants to go the city and so brings back the keys, foreshadowing the ending where she leaves. It is also ironic that Luo has to go back home the day after they lose his keys. This defeatist thinking is also seen when he burns the books, as instead of doing anything, he burns them because he has given up- this represents the fact that he has now completely detached himself from the Western Culture.
Luo : A Characterization
Abishek Puri 11N1
• Pg 4 “ two [Ma and Luo]... city youths”
• Pg 6 “ Luo was eighteen years old”
• Pg 6 “ Our first taste of re-education”
• Pg 8 “ Luo’s father, a famous dentist”
• Pg 8 "mentioned to his students that he..fixed Mao's teeth"
• Pg 9 " written on the slab were his name and his crime : REACTIONARY"
• Pg 10 " the whole crowd screamed in unison"
Relationship with Ma
Pg 9 “ We grew up together...shared all sorts of experiences”
Pg 9 “ Luo was the best friend I ever had”
Pg 10 “ without saying a word, Luo punched me.”
Pg 16 “ I did as he said”
Pg 137 “ would you guard the little seamstress for me?”
Pg 138 “ How blindly Luo trusted me!”
Pg 138 “ my sole preoccupation was to honor the faith he had in me”
Relationship with LCS
Pg 25 “ She’s not civilized, at least not enough for me!”
Pg 32 “ Say hello to your friend the fiddler”
Pg 33 “ Although Luo was suffering.. he claimed he was already well enough to go to .... where the Little Seamstress lived”
Pg 55 “ We made love there, against the trunk”
Pg 58 “ read the passage from Balzac to her word for word”
Pg 105 “ the risk Luo had been taking everyday “
Pg 168 “All the time we spent reading to her has certainly paid off”
Pg 172 “ she had learnt one thing from Balzac”
Pg 127 “ They were coupling underwater”
Pg 5 “Mozart is thinking of Chairman Mao, Luo broke in”
Pg 5 “ The audacity!”
Pg 15 “ Luo had a brainwave: ...slid the hands of the clock back”
Pg 15 “ sheer audacity of our trick”
Pg 25 “ Now take off your left shoe and sock.”
Pg 55 “ We made love there, against the trunk.”
Pg 64 “ Luo went on in his suave con-man voice”
Pg 65 “ Con-man Luo stood next to us”
Pg 65 “ All the serious air of an official interpreter”
Pg 68 “ Its for an important official journal, Luo said in a confidential tone”
Pg 85 “ to carry out our plan to steal the secret suitcase”
Pg 86 “ his assertions that first-time burglars had luck on their side”
Pg 107 “ I watched Luo until .... the end of the ridge, which I was beginning to think of as purgatory”
Pg 6 “ Luo ... smoked quietly, like a man.”
Pg 10 “ Luo punched me”
Pg 25 “ She’s not civilized, at least not enough for me!”
Pg 33 “ confident air of a conqueror”
Pg 165 “ Luo was drunk”
Susceptible to disease :
Pg 29 “ Luo fell ill. It was malaria”
Pg 33 “ Luo was suffering from recurrent bouts of fever”
Stylistic Features: Symbolism &
Pg 131 “ I flung my key ring into the pool”
Pg 132 “ I shall be returning to my parent’s home without my
Pg 165 “ bonfire the books....Luo, the arsonist”