By Jonathan Swift
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Extra resources for A Tale of a Tub
The amah has to do everything—her duties extend even to emptying out the dirty water after the mistress has washed her feet. The family orders the amah around as if they are trying to get every bit of their money’s worth out of her. Yet, busy as she is from morning until night, she still has time to go out and spread gossip about her employer—and carry on a clandestine aﬀair with the neighbor’s chauﬀeur. Fathers of girls like Wang Qiyao always end up beaten into submission after years of being henpecked by their wives.
The set locations may have been dilapidated and in disrepair, but the images captured by the camera were always perfectly beautiful. On one or two occasions they actually saw some of those famous movie stars, who sat in front of the camera doing nothing, like a collection of idle props. Films scripts were revised at random, and in the blink of an eye even the dead could come back to life. The girls made their way backstage, and as they rubbed their hands against the mysterious machinery that made images come to life, their hearts seemed to undergo a kind of transformation.
They often get caught on the netlike electrical wires, sometimes breaking their wings from the impact, and end up dangling from the edges of the rooftops and electric poles, whence they stare helplessly at the ﬂocks of pigeons. Kites are created in the image of pigeons, but in the end they cannot compare even with sparrows; even so, humanity invests them with all its naïve aspirations. The hands of children set them in ﬂight, as do the hands of vagabonds, who are, after all, children who never grew up.
A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift