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Life Along the Silk Road by Susan Whitfield Essay Sample

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Life Along the Silk Road by Susan Whitfield Essay Sample

     Susan Whitfield’s novel Life Along the Silk Road expresses the relationship between Asian trade and the colliding cultures on either end of the ‘road’.  From China to Somalia, India to Italy, the series of interconnected routes east to west not only brought spices, silks and other goods from one end of the Eurasian continent to another but it fostered an exchanged of ideas and cultures that were very different from one another.  The spirituality inherent in the characters of her book, coupled with the battles fought in the name of tradition and honor, show just how fiercely the members of polar societies would protect their way of life.

     Despite this initial drive to keep the cultural aspects of different societies along the Silk Road separate from each other, Whitfield shows in her characters the inevitability of an exchange of ideas along with the physical trade items.  Because of the people and items that traveled the Silk Road, China would forever be connected to the European continent and all the many countries involved en route would be changed, perhaps at first imperceptibly but certainly unalterably.  In a sense, the inanimate objects traded along the Silk Road acted as a symbol for the real process of globalization and cultural exchange.

Works Cited

Whitfield, Susan. Life Along the Silk Road. California: University of California Press, 2000.

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