The Impact of Lu Hsun’s Short Stories to Modern Chinese Culture
This paper analyzes four of Lu Hsun’s short narratives viz. Kung I-Chi. Medicine. Soap. and Diary of a Madman. and examines lifting forms in Hsun’s plants that display the doctrines he believed in and those that he opposed. Kung I-Chi is about a adult male “who studied the classics but ne’er passed the official test ( Kung I-Chi 11 ) . ” so he could non acquire a nice occupation but to be a scribe. But as he was lazy. and imbibe a batch. he lost his occupation and was forced to steal books. Medicine tells us about a immature male child who was victimized by a quack medical specialty sold to his male parent.
Soap tells the narrative of a adult male who bought soap and what he witnessed and what happened while he was purchasing soap and after he bought it. Diary of a Madman lets the readers peek at the journal of mentally sick adult male who thinks that everyone around him. including his brother is a cannibal. The narratives were written with the influence of historical events in China that moved him to alter his positions and develop his literary accomplishments ( Fajardo 1 ) . China is one of the states with a history about every bit long as man’s being on Earth.
For centuries. China adhered to the philosophical instructions of Confucius and Lao-Tze. along with those of Mencius. and subsequently to those of Mao Zedong. Lu Hsun’s influence to Chinese modern literature and civilization can be seen in the progressive attitude of Chinese in concern. scientific discipline. and political relations. He is regarded as the laminitis of Modern Chinese Literature and the representative of Socialistic Realism ( Fajardo 2 ) . China embraced communism because of Mao’s instructions. but his instructions must hold been greatly supported by the Hagiographas of Hsun.
He was a portion of the May 4th Movement. which led to the socialist reforms and rational revolution in China. He translated traditional plants to turn to suitably the concerns of the modern-day universe ( O’Neil 216 ) . Hsun was influenced by several events in Chinese history that woke up his senses and triggered his authorship art. One such event is the hapless status of life in China during the Manchu regulation. The poorness of the people created authors like him to open their eyes about the truth sing the existent occurrences in the society.
He was besides influenced by the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion. The patriotism in him pushed him to make something about the present status so of China. So he curved his name in Chinese history and literature and became an of import figure in reconstructing the new Chinese society ( O’Neil 216 ) . Analysis of Kung I-Chi Kung I-Chi was written in the first individual point of position of a server in the Prosperity Tavern ( Kung I-Chi 2 ) . but the narrative was about a individual named Kung I-Chi. a client in the saloon. He started working at that place at the age of 12 and was assigned to different undertakings until he ended up warming vino.
He remembered Kung I-Chi. because Kung was the centre of attending and laughter whenever he went at that place because of the people would most likely ask him what happened to him and do a laughing affair out of it. Whatever the storyteller said about Kung. it was based on what he witnessed with his eyes and what rumours said about the adult male. The storyteller seemed to be so acute in observation being able to depict the apparels of Kung and his facial looks whenever he talked and answered inquiries from the people in the tap house.
The point of position is efficaciously used by the writer to demo how rumours spread about the life of a individual ( Kung I-Chi 2 ) . Kung was frequently beaten up allegedly because of stealing books. That was why one clip he had fresh cicatrixs on his face. It was common to hear people inquiring him if he had gone stealing once more. but he would support himself and talk antediluvian looks that would do the tavern people laugh. When he had the worst whipping of all time that his legs broke. no 1 cared to bring around him or assist him at all. He crawled his manner to the tap house. but he got the same comments as before about allegedly stealing.
The tavern keeper reminded him how much he owes. but did non offer any aid for the hapless individual ( Kung I-Chi 3 ) . Hsun describes Kung with the observations of the narrator-participant of the narrative. In par. 4. . he described Kung therefore: “Kung was the lone long-gowned client to imbibe his vino standing. He was a large adult male. queerly pale. with cicatrixs that frequently showed among the furrows of his face. He had a big. unkempt face fungus. streaked with white. Although he wore a long gown. it was soiled and tatterdemalion. and looked as if it had non been washed or mended for over 10 old ages ( Kung I-Chi 4 ) .
” The fact that Kung wore a long gown seems to stress his belief of his belongingness to the upper category. since he besides knows the Confucian classics. However. Hsun besides clarified the contrasts between Kung and a normal individual have oning a long gown. First. it is clear that since Kung was the lone long-gowned client that drinks while standing. most long-gowned clients drink sitting down and those non have oning long gowns drink standing up or sitting down. We can see here the difference between the upper category and the lower category noted by the apparels they wear.
Kung could be a jeer of those who pretend to be of the upper category but are really losing their societal and economic position ( Kung I-Chi 4 ) . Hsun besides made an effectual contrast in depicting the gown of Kung. that it is lacerate and foul. as if the adult male is merely a symbol of the yesteryear. the Confucian doctrine that dominate Chinese political orientation. which. during his ( Hsun ) clip should no longer be followed. He besides seems to stress this with the fact that Kung knew Confucian classics. but could non go through the official test. and is hence jobless.
This presents an sarcasm that mocks the inutility of Confucian moralss in populating a nice life. for though Kung knew the classics. he continues to be beaten up allegedly for stealing. As for the people around him. even the 1s have oning long gowns. we can detect that none of all time offered a nice occupation or place to the hapless adult male when he already had to creep on his manner in and out of the tap house. They wore long gowns and most similar are besides learned in the classics. but they do non pattern it. It seems that the lone portion of Confucian instruction that has truly had a strong clasp on the Chinese character is filial piousness.
Hsun besides developed Kung’s character by the narrator’s observations on the manner he spoke and the narrator’s disclosures of the things he heard about Kung. For case. in par. 10. the storyteller tells us what he witnessed: “Then Kung would blush. the venas on his brow standing out as he remonstrated: ‘Taking a book can’t be considered stealing. . . . Taking a book. the matter of a bookman. can’t be considered stealing! ’ Then followed citations from the classics. like ‘A gentleman keeps his unity even in poorness. ’ and a clutter of antediluvian looks till everybody was howling with laughter and the whole tap house was cheery ( Kung I-Chi 10 ) .
” The allegation is that he was beaten up because he stole a book. Kung’s behaviour shows us how difficult he is seeking to hide his defeats of being a bookman by his witty replies and usage of antediluvian words. However. we can see from the extract that the people do non take his words earnestly. They merely do his words. whether with ground or non. a mere riant affair. Even the storyteller admits that he remembers Kung because he gets to express joy without his foreman acquiring angry when Kung is about as the express joying stock ( ( Kung I-Chi 3 ) . Analysis of Medicine
Medicine is told in the 3rd individual all-knowing point of position. An omniscient storyteller tells the narrative of an old adult male who bought a medical specialty for his boy. but still lost his boy. The all wise storyteller is of import in the narrative. because it allows the readers to happen out what is in the head of the other characters and what they are stating behind the dorsum of the chief characters. It helps make a prefiguration of events for the readers to understand the things that are non explicitly mentioned in the text. but can be easy implied ( Hsun 1 ) .
For illustration. when the adult male who sold the medical specialty muttered. “Old fool… ( Hsun 2 ) ” after acquiring the money from Old Chuan. there is an immediate hint that the boy will have a quack medical specialty and hence dice subsequently if it is non found out. True plenty. the boy died. It is besides easy to state that person hesitated as Old Chuan did before the adult male took the money from him and gave him the quack medical specialty ( Hsun 2 ) . Hsun farther characterized the adult male that sold the medical specialty the eating house run by the old twosome. First. we know that he is gulling the old adult male and taking advantage of his desperation in seeking remedy for his boy.
He is non merely inhuman. he even has the backbones to see the twosome and state them that they are lucky to hold taken the medical specialty. He speaks in a loud voice and dominates the conversations in the eating house. He scares everyone to hold with what he says and even goes to the ill male child to state him how fortune he is despite his full cognition that he gave a quack medical specialty. We can see from this scene how Chinese males talk about chitchats and rumours about certain things in the community. but many are non able to make anything against those that are influential or stronger than they are.
This is apparent when the kyphosis mere nodded in understanding. but did non truly genuinely agree and when the adult male with gray face fungus feigned being enlightened despite his dissension. This shows how the society is unable to contend against subjugation particularly when China was being colonized. The immature male child died and the twosome could non make anything. The female parent merely promised her boy the he will be avenged truly by God. The paragraph goes: “She looked all about. but could see merely a crow perched on a leafless bough. ‘I know. ’ she continued. ‘They murdered you. But a twenty-four hours of thinking will come. Heaven will see to it.
Near your eyes in peace. . . . If you are truly here. and can hear me. do that crow fly on to your grave as a mark ( Hsun 6 ) . ’” This paragraph besides shows the belief of Chinese on life after decease. that a person’s spirit can perchance populate another organic structure after decease. At this. Hsun succeeds in stating the readers. non merely the civilization. but besides the supernatural beliefs of Chinese. But the existent subject of the narrative is the immorality of the society and the impotence of the people to make something about it. because they refuse to make anything. one ground of which is fright. Analysis of Diary of a Madman
Diary of a Madman is another interesting narrative written in the first individual point of position of a lunatic. The author assumes the character of a lunatic and recounts twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours histories of his observation of the people around him. that is. with intuitions about what they want to make to him and what they think of him. He thinks in rather paranoia and assumes every individual is working against him and eventually believing that his brother is behind all that the people are be aftering against him ( Hsun 1 ) . Following Hsun’s debut. the series of events in the journal are non by him but by his friend who got mentally sick.
He wrote it. nevertheless when he was already good. The day of the months were omitted and merely the different colourss of the ink used could state that the different entries are of different day of the months. Merely as Hsun says. “the entries in the diary contain confused. incoherent and wild statements beyond imaginativeness ( Hsun 2 ) . ” He originally intended it to be a resource of his medical survey. but subsequently on he published it as a portion of his narrative aggregation. altering merely the names o the people and the topographic points to protect their individualities.
However. he kept the rubric that the original writer gave it. It was published in his book entitled Call to Arms. The narrative is therefore an version of a existent journal. and merely the alteration of names makes it fiction. but the ideas placed there really went through the head of a adult male who got mentally sick. There are 13 entries in this portion of the journal. Despite the man’s unwellness. there are interesting observations that we can see from the people that the individual is speaking approximately. He normally talks about the manner people look at him and speak about him.
We can see this even when the people all looked at him when he accused his brother of be aftering to eat him every bit good. His brother sent the people off. This shows how the people of the community love to be looker-ons of a spectacle that they can speak about behind the dorsums of the people. The first entry of the journal does non yet evidently lead the readers to believe that there is something incorrect with the storyteller except for the portion that that says. “but now I must be highly careful. Otherwise why should that Canis familiaris at the Chao house have looked at me twice ( Hsun 4 ) ?
” If non for the rubric. the reader may non give much trade to it as indicant of any mental unwellness. But here. one can get down to detect the developments of the narrator’s paranoia about the people around him. The storyteller has seemed to develop a negative signifier of egoism where he thinks everything and everyone plants against him. alternatively of for him. He loses trust for everyone. even his brother who cares for him so much that even in the narrator’s province of lunacy ; he recalls the manner he sent the people off. “Get out of here. all of you! What is the point of looking at a lunatic?
( Hsun Chapter X. par. 9 ) . The storyteller. nevertheless. positions this during those times as a maneuver of the people around him. including his brother to happen a manner to eat him with impunity. He thinks that they are doing it look that he is a lunatic so that if anything happens to him. they could fault it on his lunacy and therefore be acquitted of any offense. He develops this sort of thought after seting together parlances that he hears from the conversations he hears around him like. “I’d like to seize with teeth several mouthfuls out of you to work off my feelings!
” ( Hsun Chapter III. par. 3 ) . “People exchange their boies to eat” ( Hsun Chapter V. par. 2 ) . His intuition grows because of his paranoia with the manner people look at him get downing with the kids ( Hsun Chapter II. par. 2 ) : “I was non afraid. nevertheless. but continued on my manner. A group of kids in forepart were besides discoursing me. and the expression in their eyes was merely like that in Mr. Chao’s while their faces excessively were ghastly pale. I wondered what score these kids could hold against me to do them act like this. I could non assist naming out: ‘Tell me!
’ But so they ran off ( Hsun Chapter II. par. 2 ) . ” He is ab initio leery chiefly about why people look at him the manner they do. He thinks that they are reprobating him for a past action he has done along clip ago. non understanding that they do look at him thy manner because of his unwellness. So he continues to do personal observations and eventually arrives at the decision that people look at him the manner they do. because they are be aftering to eat him. The bash so because they want acquire his strength and bravery. but he will non allow them make it.
He even states programs to deter people from eating human flesh and starts with his brother. His intuition to his brother interestingly rises from a word of attention. “Don’t allow your imaginativeness run away with you. Rest softly for a few yearss. and you will be all right ( Hsun Chapter IV. par. 7 ) . ” He deems it as his brother’s desire to flesh out him up so that he would be merely right when they eventually eat him. He even reaches the point of thought that is brother ate his small sister. She died because he ate her and their female parent knew about it. but did non make anything.
The paranoia of the storyteller tells us the manner chitchat grows in the head of looker-ons of events. such that little affairs grow into large 1s when talked about without the presence of the individuals concerned to clear up things. There seems to be an accent on this in Hsun’s plants. He wants to indicate out that the people around yak and do a spectacle out of personal and household affairs. In the manner the people look at the lunatic. which made him leery. we can infer the judgmental attitude of the society that they even pas to their kids. hence even the kids look at the lunatic suspiciously.
Alternatively of sympathising for the needy. many people justice and speak ailment about them. O’Neil sees this narrative as a “critique of the cannibalistic nature” of the old Chinese society. ( O’Neil 216 ) But aside from cannibalism. it besides criticizes the attitude of the society that looks at people with disdain without understanding what they are really traveling through. Analysis of Soap The 4th narrative I need to discourse in this paper is Soap. When the narrative was written. soap was still non really popular in China. It was still a luxury so.
The narrative is non truly about soap literally. but the things that the chief character. Ssu-min witnessed and experienced because of purchasing soap. He gets place with a saloon of soap that he gives his married woman. She likes it but Ssu-min all of a sudden remembers something and calls his boy Hsueh-Cheng to inquire him about a phrase he heard when he was purchasing the soap. He has been directing his boy to an English school so he expects him to cognize it but he gets defeated when his boy fails to interpret it the first clip ( Hsun 2 ) . Ssu-min heard person call him o-du-fu at the shop.
He knows that it means barbarous adult female. but since he is non a adult female. he thinks that it means something else. Finally. he agrees with his boy when Hsueh-Cheng finds the transliteration “old sap. ” Here. we can see two things – Chinese attempt to larn the foreign linguistic communication of the settlers and the Chinese credence of foreign merchandises. The narrative emphasizes how the household spends for the instruction of the boy who was at that clip practising Hexagram pugilism. There is much outlook from the boy because of the great sum of investing in his instruction.
In all the chiding that the boy receives. he ne’er answers back. but alternatively goes on with what his male parent asks him to make. We can impute this to filial piousness. Many Chinese may see it as a natural behaviour of a boy towards his male parent. but there is something about the state of affairs that palaces the male parent in a place that he should non move as such towards his boy. His boy. on the other manus may hold reasoned out. but remained like a deaf-and-dumb person lamb powerless to explicate his side why he does non run into his father’s outlooks yet as can be seen his is reaction to his father’s response on his first effort to explicate the significance of o-du-fu:
“Hsueh-cheng recoiled two stairss. and stood straighter than of all time. Though his father’s pace sometimes reminded him of the manner old work forces walked in Peking opera. he had ne’er considered Ssu-min as a adult female. His reply. he saw now. had been a great error ( Hsun 3 ) . ” If we look at the state of affairs. Ssu-min does non hold any ground to be angry. because he did non even explicate the inside informations of the narrative where the context of o-du-fu could hold come from. It is Mrs. Ssu-min that tells Ssu-min to explicate what happened so that their boy could acquire an thought of what to look for.
But looking back at the ailments of Ssu-min about comprehension and pronunciation. it may assist to see that by that clip. the instructors of English may hold been utilizing one of the two oldest methods of learning – the grammar-translation method and the direct method. Since. the anterior is the older method of the two ( so. person who did non analyze linguistic communication teaching method may non hold thought of it ) and Hsueh-Cheng used the transliteration dictionary I want to presume that grammar-translation was so in usage for the linguistic communication schools in China.
I want to indicate to this why the male child was non able to demo impressive advancement in linguistic communication acquisition. Hsueh Cheng’s instance may hold been the instance of many Chinese analyzing English. so Hsun is really knocking the school system. To farther emphasize his point. when Hsueh Cheng finds the transliteration of o-du-fu as o-du-fu-la or “old fool” he is non able to explicate what it means ( Hsun 5 ) . Ssu-min explains the state of affairs and subsequently brings out the issue about the filial girl he witnessed when he was purchasing soap. The people did non give her money. and he condemned them for that. but he himself did non give her money.
He grounds out that she was non an ordinary mendicant. for she shows filial love by giving to her grandma whatever the people give them. The people merely gathered around and some even commented that she would non be so bad if she could be scrubbed with soap. Ssu-min’s married woman reacts negatively to this and inquiries why he did non give the immature mendicant the soap ( Hsun 5 ) . This occasion of the narrative tells us once more of the indifference of the people to assist the people in demand. Alternatively of assisting. the people merely gathered around and talked bunk about the immature miss and her grandma.
They did non value how much piousness the miss showed for her grandma. This is really of import here. Chinese are known for filial piousness. but in the narrative they did non demo regard for person demoing it. The issue on filial piousness gets repeated when the Tao-Tung comes to discourse a certain affair. It seems that merely Ssu-min is the lone who respects the immature miss for her piousness. The others do non acknowledge her commiseration for grounds that she is non a indigen of their topographic point and that she can non compose ( Hsun 6 ) . It is clear here how discriminatory Chinese society is despite the instructions of Confucius.
They are merely aware of their ain households but non of others. Piety besides becomes useless when one can non read or compose ; hence. societal position plays a function in being recognized for filial piousness. Ssu-min’s married woman continues to mumble about scouring the immature miss with soap even after the visitants have left. The following forenoon. she takes a bath with the soap and the aroma of the soap fills the air. Hsun ends the narrative stating that there have been several other aromas that filled the air after that ( Hsun 6 ) . The aroma of the soap could intend so many things including the influence of foreign civilization.
Soap has been proven to better than the traditional cleansing cosmetic of the Chinese. Now. they accepted soap and were pleased by it. like their credence of other foreign civilizations that are for the advancement of China. There is nil with retrieving the old ways. but there is more promise in being unfastened to newer and more effectual ways of looking at things. Hsun seems to be emphasizing here that jingoism is non good for the state. Supporting local goods and traditions is good. but the people have to be unfastened to new thoughts and merchandises for economic and societal advancement. which we now call globalisation.
Lu Hsun’s Contribution to Modern Chinese Culture Two of the narratives were written in the traditional 3rd individual point of position. but Hsun focuses on the attitudes of the people instead than the heroic workss and histories of the Chinese people. He shows the world that is taking topographic point in the Chinese community. how hypocritical many of the people have become through the old ages of believing that they have a superior civilization over other people. He shows in the four narratives how apathetic the people are about imparting kindness to the people in demand.
We can detect that in all the four narratives. the people ever serve as looker-ons. but to no help. They simply observe. and laugh. and even justice people. They even make merriment of people who are really on demand. Showing that people are the same in all the four narratives. we deduce a statement from Hsun that people in China are about all the same. The society looks down at people. mocks them as if they were of lower signifiers of creative activity. thought of themselves as better than others. when in fact they are non.
Harmonizing to Fajardo. one of the political orientations criticized by Hsun is the Confucian instructions ( Fajardo 20 ) . We can see from the narratives that the instructions did non make better people. Kung. for illustration. knew the classics. but it did non assist him to be nice. He remained hapless. lazy and morally derailed. He could hold become a adult male of importance. but he ne’er even passed the official test. He was a good calligraphist. but that. excessively did non assist him because he drank a batch. He had the endowment. but non the character. And the people did non supply any support.
To this. Hsun must hold been stressing the demand of the people to work together and be aware of others. Hsun’s manner perverts from the idealistic show of Chinese beauty and elegance. He shows the defects of the society and how these defects have been harming the people around ( Fajardo 20 ) . He besides shows how the society has been excessively judgmental about others merely like in Kung I-Chi and Madman’s Diary. The people looked at the lunatic otherwise doing him believe that there is something about him. It made his state of affairs worse.
He became more leery and the people seem to bask merely doing buzz out his mundane workss and words. As for Kung. the people merely make merriment of his bad lucks and desperation. They could hold helped him. but no 1 offered aid. Even the storyteller who was a server thought himself better than Kung. In Medicine. we can see that the people in the eating house were really cognizant that the medical specialty given could non truly assist the ill male child. but the people can non make anything or can non state anything against the adult male who sold the medical specialty. because he was powerful.
This show how incapacitated the society is if the people will non work together. They have fear in their Black Marias because they believe that no 1 would assist them. because they besides would non be willing to assist other in demand. Medicine and Madman’s Diary demo how harmful deficiency of instruction can be. In Medicine. deficiency of instruction caused old Chuan the life of his boy. He paid a large sum for a medical specialty that may hold even worsened the status of his boy. finally taking to the boy’s decease. In Madman’s Diary. the people looked at the lunatic the manner they did. because of deficiency of instruction.
Because of this. they contributed to the deterioration of the status of the lunatic. Situations like these still happen today. Peoples refuse to take medical specialty. because of deficiency of proper instruction. They refuse to travel to the physician to hold a check-up. believing in the power of traditional medical specialty. Some people condemn other people because of their medical status. Because of his manner. Mao Zedong liked reading the plants of Hsun ( Fajardo 1 ) . It is so non surprising that the people who embraced the instructions of Mao would shortly follow to open their heads about the worlds sing Chinese society.
The societal malignant neoplastic disease that rose because of encompassing fanatically doctrines that people do non to the full understand had to be cured. and so there was the socialist motion. Hsun opened the eyes of the people to the fact that they need to work together ; and that there should be non societal boundaries ; and that societal boundaries cause many people to lose hope and inspiration ; and that if societal boundaries would be bridged. the universe will be a better topographic point to populate in. The literary subjects in Hsun’s plants had a great impact on the society as he was besides greatly influenced by the events during his clip.
His attacked Confucian instructions merely like in Soap where the male parent was unreasonable. yet the boy was unable to make anything to explicate his side. Hsun positions Confucian moralss of unquestioning obeisance as a enfeebling clasp to the advancement of the society and as a set of “hypocritical morality thinly hiding and encouraging unfairness. inequality. passiveness and conformance ( Fajardo 20 ) . ” These have been manifested in the people’s attitudes in the different narratives. For case. in Medicine and Soap unfairness was concealed by piousness.
The Chuan twosome could non state anything against Kang whom the lady Chuan calls uncle. Her unquestioning regard for him even led to her son’s decease. but she could non make anything but leave the affair to heaven. The instance about Soap has earlier been explained in the subdivision that discussed this affair. Narratives are usually written for amusement. but Hsun Hagiographas have messages to the society. and these messages came across the heads of the intelligent citizens. They so joined him and other enlightened Chinese in confronting the new Chinese society.
Now. because of Hsun’s influence. China is more unfastened to new civilization and thoughts. but still preserves what is good about the traditional civilization. There are still Chinese who embrace Confucian beliefs. but the authorities policies sing concern and international dealingss are non rooted in them. Hsun is non the lone Chinese author that attacked Confucianism and traditionality. In fact. Chinese professors moved towards it even before the publication of his short narratives. However. his narratives have shown the people the harmful influences of Confucianism and other old traditions to the society.
His narratives reached more people and hence the political orientations gained more popularity among the multitudes and the higher societal categories. Now. China is on its way to greatness as a political and economic power. In twenty old ages clip. since 1990s. China. the Dragon of the East has awaken and gained a batch of political and economic influence. China even became the locale of the 2008 Olympics and became the over-all title-holder in the event ( Chinese Culture 4 ) . Hsun’s short narratives have changed the lives of Chinese forever by act uponing China to open its doors to new civilization. new political orientations and advancement.
But besides every bit of import. he opened China’s eyes to the jobs of the society in footings of societal dealingss. He moved people to believe and see. to be more critical. yet understanding. and to be more aware of others. Works Cited “Chinese Culture. ” Chinese-culture. cyberspace. 2008. 9 December 2008 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. chinese-culture. net/ & gt ; . Fajardo-Acosta. F. “Lu Xun ( 1881-1836 ) . ” fajardo-acosta. com. 2002. 9 December 2008 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //fajardo-acosta. com/worldlit/luxun/ & gt ; . Hsun. Lu. “Diary of a Madman. ” 2005. 9 December 2008
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