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“We dont care if he will be somebody.” the mother said. “Both his father and I are only ordinary people. How is it that we should have a son who is involved in such a shameful business? Raising poisponous snakes, that’s frightening.””

In China, the “concept of face” has been a part of their culture for generations, and even today, this concept shapes how people in China interact with each other. Concept of face is the idea that your reputation not only affects you but your entire family and the people you associate with. In “The Child Who Raised Poisonous Snakes” by Can Xue,  the main character Sha-yuan is obsessed with snakes at a young age to the point that he finds poisonous snakes and hides them in a box to collect them. Then, as he gets older and his parents keep killing all the snakes he captures, he decides to start eating snakes in order to catch them and keep them safe. While Sha-yuan was going through all this, his parents did little to help him so he could get better for himself. As we see in the above quote, the only reason they decided to take him to the doctor and take him on trips as the doctor instructed was not for the safety and the well-being of Sha-yuan, but so that he would seem more normal and not take part in shameful activities.

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