A Visit From The Foot Binder - Emily Prager
Written By: Nicole Tham 11X
‘A Visit From The Foot Binder’ by Emily Prager is a story that works on many levels. It works as a simple story of Ancient China, raising the issues of foot binding and the negative implications it had on women. More critically it underscores how sexism was a predominant incarnation in that era. It displays the power men held over women and the society’s cultural ignorance - to the extent that the women were willing to overlook the dreadful pain in order to ‘look attractive’ in men’s eyes. The story, told from a third person’s point of view, effectively encapsulates the meticulous and sometimes ghastly descriptions of the foot binding process of a young child.
The story revolves around the youth of a 6-year-old child, Pleasure Mouse, as she dealt with the excruciating pain while enduring the trauma of getting her foot bound. Throughout the short course of the story, Pleasure Mouse swam against a current of expectancy in hope for her pain to end; dreading every water logged second of it. The opening passage of the story establishes the narrow mindset of the women in ancient China. The women and the foot-binder, cognizant of the agonizing pain Pleasure Mouse suffered, blindly complied. The underlying belief then was that foot binding would guarantee the child a prosperous marriage, and hence a bright future. The foot binding process is deftly described with a combination of grotesque wit and morbid expressions, complimented by an occasional hint of compassion.
The name “Pleasure Mouse” already is a formidable revelation about the society’s attitude as pleasure implies “a wife satisfying her husband” and mouse often suggests or relates to a person with “small, petite feet” who obeys. The first paragraph uses imagery to evoke the readers’ sensory experience and imagination, thus allowing the readers to form mental images of what was happening then. In paragraph 1 line 8, Prager uses “…....