A discussion about the symbolism in the short story “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu will provide a more in-depth understanding of the text. 

The most important symbol of the story is the paper menagerie, which consists of the origami animals that Jack’s mother made for him during his childhood. First, the origami animals are representations of Jack’s mother’s love for her son. Throughout his childhood, she makes him several toys to please him. Later on, when Jack stops talking to her, she continues to make toys to express her love:

Every once in a while, I would see her at the kitchen table studying the plain side of a sheet of wrapping paper. Later a new paper animal would appear on my nightstand and try to cuddle up to me. I caught them, squeezed them until the air went out o...

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