Sarah Canary Q6 - '“I don't mind telling you, I see things quite differently now.”'


How do the four main character – Chin, B.J., Harold, and Miss Dixon, change over the course of the novel. Is Sarah Canary the impetus for this change? What is the author saying about the nature of change?


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    As someone said in another thread, I'm not really sure they changed at the time. We hear a bit more about Chin going back to China, but it wasn't clear to me whether the changes in him were anything specifically to do with Sarah, or generally to do with his exposure to American society.
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    edited November 2019

    I definitely feel some of them changed. Harold certainly changed, and even reported as much to Chin. He wore the dress (walked a mile in another person's clothes?) afterall.

    I also feel that Chin changed - at one time he was hiding behind B.J., even to the point of telling B.J. to speak on his behalf in the hotel in San Francisco, even though the woman he was speaking to could hear him herself. Early on, he admires Burke's courage. Chin never wants to stick his neck out, and seeks to avoid notice. However, later he needs to save Adelaide, and is willing to take the spotlight in order to save her.

    B.J., perhaps, didn't change - it's hard to say. Was he somehow wiser near the end?

    Adelaide, I'm also unsure of her arc. She seems poised for change, and for a time one wonders if she and Chin will get together. But then she's drawn back to her world with her rescue of Lydia Palmer, and disappears from the tale.

    Arguably, the world doesn't change - at least not in the ways that are important to the story. The news reel at the end tells us this.

    Does the book tell us something about change, or growth? That it's tenuous? That change wants a catalyst? That sometimes we need a muse before we can change? I'm uncertain about the overall theme. Is it telling us we need to really see ourselves before we can change? Harold, Chin, Adelaide, and B.J. all saw themselves in Sarah Canary to varying degrees - the she degrees correspond to how much each character changed?

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