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Quotes

Quote #1

It seemed incredible that this day, a day without warnings or omens, might be that of my implacable death. (3)

Yu Tsun's language often seems to betray a belief in fate or destiny. If he's going to die, he expects to get some sort of warning from the universe.

Quote #2

In spite of my dead father, in spite of having been a child in one of the symmetrical gardens of Hai Feng, was I to die now? (3)

This is one of the fleeting allusions Yu Tsun makes to his childhood, which seems to have been a privileged one. He contrasts his childhood privilege with the misfortune of his present circumstances, feeling that it's unfair. Shouldn't an auspicious past lead to an equally fortunate future?

Quote #3

I told myself that the duel had already started and that I had won the first encounter by besting my adversary in his first attack... by an accident of fate. I argued that so small a victory prefigured a total victory. (13)

Once again Yu Tsun commits the fallacy of assuming that one event prefigures a trend. One bit of good fortune, by this reasoning, would mean total victory – but the fact that Yu Tsun is narrating this story from prison tells us that he was wrong.

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