It is believed that crickets bring good fortune and friendly spirits in Chinese folklore. In 1679,
Chinese writer, P’U Sung-ling assembled a large selection of stories titled “Records of the Strange.” The
author illustrates his fascination with the supernatural and the mysterious throughout his work. In THE
CRICKET BOY, Sung-ling emphasizes this fascination through his use of characterization, foreshadowing
and conflict.

Characterization is used to develop the theme of the supernatural and mysterious in Sung-lings
work, “The Cricket Boy.” Kiti was an extremely impressionable child. In the story when Kitis’ father was
going to punish him with a stick, Kitis’ face turned so pail that his father dropped his stick. Also, the
author explained how Kiti loved the cricket. He admired a good quality in a cricket more than anything in
the world. This helps Kitis’ father a great deal when it comes to choosing a quality cricket for competition.
Later in the story when Kiti comes out of his coma, he says, “I won”, and asks his dad if he is still mad at
him for accidentally killing the first cricket. When asked by his father if he won the championship he says
that all he could think of was his father. These examples show how the author describes the theme of the
story through characterization.
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Another literary element used to develop the theme in the work, “The Cricket Boy”, is
foreshadowing. When attacked by a cock the cricket quickly moved out of the way. The cock then started
shaking his head. The cricket had latched onto the cocks neck just like Kiti had done to his teacher one
time. When Kiti was in his coma, his muscles would twitch and he even burst his gall bladder. This shows
how Kitis’ mind was definitely in a different place. One cricket had caused kitis’ illness and Kitis’ father
thought that maybe another one could cure it. When kitis’ father found out that the cricket became a
champion, his hopes were raised. After about a month of the cricket winning his fights, Kiti finally came
out of his coma. He explained how he was a cricket fighting for the championship while he was asleep.
These are examples of how the author uses foreshadowing to develop the theme of the supernatural and
mysterious in the story.


In addition to foreshadowing and characterization, Sung-ling uses conflict between the Emperor
and Kitis father to help explain how desperate Kitis father felt when he received the order from the
magistrate to catch a good cricket for fighting. Kitis mother says “Your father has to catch a good one
within the next ten days, or he will lose is job and be fined.” Kitis father was very upset because he knew
they were poor and he might go to jail if he failed in his task to obtain a good fighting cricket. Kiti only
knew that it was of “terrible importance” so he wanted to help his father. Conflict is also illustrated
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his father. No grownup understood Kitis’ love for crickets not even his own father, “A cold and
severe father” who was also his teacher. Kiti had never been allowed into the southern hills, a place with
plenty
of crickets, until now when his father needed his help but offered no explanation. Conflict is used as the
main point to develop the theme of the supernatural and mysterious in the story.

THE CRICKET BOY, was a story about a boy named Kiti and the supernatural and mysterious
events that happened during his life. These events are described through the use of the literary elements
characterization, foreshadowing and conflict. Crickets are an important element in Chinese folklore being
associated with good luck. Kitis’ family fortunes turned around, all because of one fighting cricket.