On The Fly Analysis Essay

Analysis of Where the Gods Fly

1278 WordsFeb 14th, 20156 Pages

Stella Vallik Christianshavns Gymnasium November 2012
Analytical Essay
Jean Kwok: Where The Gods Fly

Imagine permanently moving to a country where the language, the culture... everything is foreign to you. This is the reality of most immigrant parents, who try to raise their children safely in a foreign country, where strong influences can strip a person of their cultural identity. This is the exact situation we are dragged into, in the short story 'Where The Gods Fly' written by Jean Kwok. Here we meet a Chinese mother's unwelcoming approach, towards her daughter's passion for the arts of ballet.
The story is told by a first person narrator, from a mothers perspective. Her, her husband and her daughter migrated from China when…show more content…

Occasionally she returns to narrating in present tense, when reflecting over certain events in the past, for example one of Pearl's teachers once told her that ballet could get her a college scholarship, and she questions this statement: “Now, I myself do not understand how that could be, but who am I to argue with the teacher?”(P.2, L.72-3). The reader becomes more drawn into the narrators present religious state, as the story evolves and intensifies. You begin to understand the correlation between the past and her present religious practice: it's what stimulates her thoughts, and therefore also the course of the story. We clearly see how she draws parallels between her present state and the past, when she is explaining what “Walking the winds of fate”(P.3, L.7) is, and she is reminded of something Pearls once said. The climax of the story, is stated very obviously in the text: “The evil winds had begun to foment around the time Pearl was in eighth grade, when she auditioned for that other ballet school, the legendary one”(P.4, L.123-4). She indicates a religious definition to point out this plot change. This is the first time she truly sees her daughter dancing, and she realizes that she has lost her daughter to a universe, which she can't take part in, because she doesn't belong there, she explains: “I suddenly wanted to gather her in my arms and flee the room, flee these people.”(P. 4, L.136). However, she couldn't act upon her opinions, because her husband, Pearl's

Show More


The speaker draws a comparison between himself and a fly that he has thoughtlessly brushed away. He asks if he is like the fly, or the fly is more like himself. He imagines another, greater hand, perhaps that of God, brushing him away some day and ending his private designs. He concludes with the belief that he is indeed like the fly, not in his insignificance to Fate or chance, but in the fly’s significance in the natural world. Just as the fly dances and sings, so does the speaker. Thought is what gives him life and breath, and “the want/Of thought is death.” He takes joy simply in existing, with little thought or worry over what tomorrow may hold.


This five-stanza poem takes on a playful rhyme scheme and meter, despite its serious and somewhat morbid subject. The first four stanzas are ABCB quatrains, each made up of terse lines to communicate the brevity of life, which is the subject of this poem. The final stanza, however, is an AABB rhyme scheme, a pair of rhyming couplets, which lends an even more playful quality to the poem as a whole while offering a moral or coda to the entire work.

This poem also returns to Blake's theme in Songs of Experience of the place of thought in the quality and quantity of human life. The speaker harms the fly with his "thoughtless hand," indicating that thoughtlessness leads to death. Whatever power exists higher than the speaker may also be thoughtless or completely indifferent to human life, but that cannot be changed. The speaker thus resolves to live each moment fully, but his moment of contemplation leads him to this life-affirming conclusion.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *