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The story was published during the Cold War, and serves as an allegory to the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.The story, set in China, begins in a small pastoral town or village, apparently in a time or place where trade and agriculture are still the norm.There is little in the way of modern technology; no electricity, automobile or advanced irrigation. The town is described as being in a desert area, and within the vicinity of another, called Kwan-Si.
The people of Kwan-Si rebuilt their wall in the shape of a mouth which would swallow the lake. ================================= (the story) "Sickness spread in the city like a pack of evil dogs. The population, working now steadily for endless months upon the changing of the walls, resembled Death;himself, clattering his white bones like musical instruments in the wind. And so, in time, the towns became the Town of the Golden Kite and the Town of the Silver Wind.
Funerals began to appear in the streets, though it wads the middle of the summer, a time when all should be tending and harvesting. They met; both mandarins were ill and had to be carried to the meeting. 'And what do the sky and the wind need to make them beautiful? 'You, Kwan-Si, will make a last rebuilding of your town to resemble nothing more nor less than the wind. The wind will beautify the kite and carry it to wondrous heights. And harvestings were harvested and business tended again, and the flesh returned, and disease ran off like a frightened jackal.
Competition is the great thing, and co-operation is OK, in its place, a small place though.
"The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind" (1953) is a short story by Ray Bradbury, one of his collection The Golden Apples of the Sun.
The problem is that the great evil is what many believe is responsible for the superiority of Western Civilization. ================================= (from the story) "'But why should a wall two miles away make my good father sad and angry all within the hour? 'They build their wall,' said the Mandarin, 'in the shape of a pig! Our own city wall is built in the shape of an orange. He calls the stonemasons together and tells them to rebuild their wall in the shape of a club "'which may beat the pig and drive it off.'" "Rejoicing, the stonemasons rebuilt the wall." But the celebration was short-lived for the people of Kwan-Si rebuilt their wall into the shape of a great fire which would burn the Mandarin's club.
Of course, they don't believe it's evil, but a good thing, and if Western Civ were ever to give this up, it would no longer be superior. The Mandarin then retaliated with a wall built in the shape of a lake that would extinguish the fire. Finally it became too much, for the people stopped doing everything except reshaping the wall.
The stonemasons and architects in the story symbolize the chemical plants that were used to manufacture nuclear weapons in the Cold War, and the walls that the workers construct represent the nuclear weapons.
The Mandarins’ constant needs and commands to improve the structures of the walls can be compared to Joseph Stalin’s and President Truman’s orders to amass the weapons.
" The two Mandarins, both starved and ailing, agree to stop their feud of superstition.
The first Mandarin's daughter shows the men several kites, lying abandoned on the ground.