Alright, damn you people, I’ve gone back to BCI from CCC, but I reserve the right to re-revert at any time!
Why Billi might be hard to identify with:
- She’s glum, and it’s never fun to watch glum. She’s ultimately fairly passive. She’s not having any success as a writer and we get no indication that she deserves any, which makes it hard to root for a character. In real life, Wang was already a fairly-successful filmmaker when this story happened. When fictionalizing the story, why reset herself to a less successful time? I think it could have worked if Billi was successful, and I think it might have been better, but Wang decided to push the underdog element to the edge of “sadsack” without quite pushing it over.
- The things her grandma are saying to her in the opening scene are things we can all identify with. We can see how it’s both exasperating but endearing to hear these things.
- She doesn’t get the fellowship she needs, her beloved grandma is dying, her family doesn’t trust her to do the right thing.
- She vows to stand up for the truth. If she went along with the lie from the beginning, we wouldn’t root for her, though we eventually decide it’s best for her to abandon her quest.
- Eat: She eats with her family in both NYC and China.
- Exercise: No.
- Economic Activity: She’s trying to make rent, but only by trying to get a fellowship. We never get a sense of how she was trying to earn it. The fact that she can’t afford this trip and is living off credit cards keeps coming up.
- Enjoy: No. We see her at a birthday party in NYC and later at a spa in China, but not enjoying herself
- Emulate: She tries to act like the white hip New Yorkers at the birthday party. She tries to act like her family members in China.
- No, she remains mired in economic concerns.
- She signs the petition because she used to have that job herself.