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Paper

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by

Kyler Lenzi

on 11 March 2015

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Transcript of Paper

Paper
Catherine Lim
Plot Summary
Paper is about a man and woman named Tay Soon and Yee Lian. The couple lives in a house they share with Tay Soon's mother, but dream of having their own mansion to themselves. They discover there is an easier and faster way to gain the money for their mansion, via the rising stock market. Everyone who invests in the market begins to more than double their money, including Tay Soon and Yee Lian. In anticipation that the stocks would further rise, they did not sell their shares, and when the market started to crash, they lost all their money. Tay Soon became very sick from losing everything, and soon lost his mind. Tay Soon died soon after and the mother insisted on handling the funeral. She ordered the mansion that Tay Soon had always wanted to have, but it was made of paper to be burned and taken to the afterlife.
Characters
Tay Soon
[Protagonist]
- is so obsessed with buying his dream house that he goes into a mental state and breaks down.

Yee Lian
[Foil]
- helps her husband to achieve his dream, but then she becomes extremely concerned for him

Tay Soon's Mother
[Antagonist]
- tries to tell Tay Soon that investing money and buying a new house isn't a good idea, but Tay Soon doesn't listen and ignores her
Setting
This story takes place in Singapore. Going by how modern the house was explained and I would predict it was set in 1980-1990's.
Narrative
The narrative style i thought was very clever. Catherine Lim chose to tell the story in third person specific. In doing this I think it exaggerates the greed of Tay Soon.
Conflict
In this story the conflict is between Tay Soon and Yee Lian's addiction to investing money in the stock market. Tay Soon has dreams to own his own house, but not only his own house he wants everything in or on it to be accustomed to his likes. the only problem is he does not have enough money for it at the time. After Yee Lian informs Tay Soon about the stocks that had been "climbing the charts", Tay Soon sees it as his chance to finally get the house he has always dreamed of. Because of this greed Tay Soon makes a lot of money and decides to keep going for more and more. Then one day the stocks crash and Tay Soon loses it all. No more house. No more money.
By: Kyler Lenzi
Foreshadowing
Tay Soon and Yee Lian had ran into problems with some stocks starting to crash in the past. "Shall we sell? Do you think we should sell" - [Tay Soon Pg.2]. At this time Tay Soon gets his first bit of doubt in his stocks. This gives us insight on what could and what ends up happening; the stocks completely crashing. Also Tay Soon's mother told him it was foolish to put all his money into those worthless shares, and mothers are always correct.
Irony
The irony in Paper by Catherine Lim would be how Tay Soon and Yee Lian were to preoccupied and greedy trying to make money they ended up loosing it all. Tay soon works hard for his dream house, but ultimately, it comes crashing down for him. It costs him everything: his money, his family, and his own life. The last image of the burning paper house is ironic in that Tay Soon's most precious thing in life, money, was something fragile and can easily be burned as paper. No matter what you can do to achieve something, there might be consequences to it.
Symbolism
Burning paper on a grave is a symbol of taking something to the after life. So Tay Soon's mother burns his dream house on his grave so he has his dream house in the afterlife. The paper was "Superior paper" which symbolizes the strength of the paper, but regardless of its strength it still turns to ash just the same as regular paper. As well is demonstrates the fragility of paper, something that is liable to disappear; like Tay Soon's savings
Catherine Lim was born in the independent city-state of Singapore. She is a graduate of the University of Malaysia, writes her stories in English, and has most of her stories take place in or around Singapore. She is also a teacher in English language and literature. Her stories focus on detail, criticsim, and irony of injustices and valves in her homeland.
Author
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