The Paper Menagerie



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The Paper Menagerie
Ken Liu

This short story from the realm of magical realism problematises resentment, prejudice and peer pressure. Ken Liu’s fantasy story depicts the struggle of a woman with a migrant background between retaining her ‘old’ identity and simultaneously adopting a new one. Her son Jack re-tells several episodes of their lives, showcasing his mother’s special talent: When she folds animals out of paper, the little creatures actually come to life. However, the bond between mother and son is thoroughly tested by the barriers their differing languages create.

This story is suitable for interdisciplinary teaching, e.g. in Ethics, Social Science and Art.

· · 2011

Critical edition

Liu, Ken. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. Head of Zeus, 2016. 8 pp., ISBN 9781784975692

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In favour of this entry

  • Award-winning
  • Intercultural perspectives
  • Interdisciplinary or cross-curricular teaching
  • Silenced voices
  • Students can identify with the text
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