Write a short essay (400-500 words) on the following passage from Huang Chunming’s “Listen to Me, All You Deities.” Discuss the passage’s role in the story as a whole, including its plot placement and, more importantly, how it illuminates the story’s main theme or themes. To do so, you must first identify what you believe the story’s themes are and then discuss how this passage contributes to those themes. Feel free to debate both the passage’s content and its writing style.

Your essay should include the following points:

Declare and defend one or more points.
Make it clear what point or points you want to make. This is often most effective in a sentence at or near the beginning of your essay, or at or near the beginning of a specific paragraph.
Refer to the text you’re talking about to back up your point. If you quote directly from the text, use quotation marks around the quoted material.
Make it clear to your reader how you moved from one point or idea to the next.
Here’s the text:

Chunmu strolled down the path to the main road intersection. His sons wouldn’t arrive for a while yet, and he was at a loss for what to do with the time. If you asked him if he’d come to the intersection to wait for them, he wouldn’t know and wouldn’t confirm. A tour bus had stopped near one end of a nearby bridge to change a tire. He’d heard it was an island tour for residents of a southern nursing home. The elderly had exited the bus; some were walking around, while about a dozen sat silently and motionless on the cement railings. Chunmu was taken aback by one of them, a familiar face that resembled a beardless Kaizhang Shengwang, General Chen, who had brought peace to Zhangzhou, many Taiwanese’s ancestral city. He turned to face the others. What a strange coincidence: they all resembled the deities in his temple! The Earth God, Ji Gong the Crazy Monk, Lü Dongbing, one of the fabled eight immortals, Niupuza the Heavenly King, and others were among them. He wanted to go up to talk to them, but instead he stood still and stared at the railing. The old men sitting there had been looking at various things, but their interest was piqued when they noticed someone staring at them with surprise written all over his face. Chunmu noticed more familiar faces, Patriarch Qingshui and the King of Five Grains, who tasted a hundred herbs, as they all turned to face him. Chunmu turned to leave, seized by an unfamiliar panic, but when he looked down, he saw the driver’s sweaty baby face. When the driver looked up at him, he exclaimed, ai! Wasn’t that the Rebel Third Prince, Nezha?

Chunmu followed the path, his heart racing, feigning calm strides despite the fact that he was walking strangely. What a strange coincidence. But is it true? It might be if only one or two of them resembled deities, but what about all of them? That can’t be a coincidence, Chunmu thought to himself as he continued walking. All of you gods. You’ve misunderstood me. My mouth said a lot of nonsense, but it didn’t mean anything bad. To be honest, I have no bad intentions. I swear to you. If I, Xie Chunmu, have any malice in my heart, let lightning strike me down and take away all my children and grandchildren.