Recommended translation: William A. The older brother informs him that the younger one suffered from a mental illness but got better and took a job in another city. During the time of his illness the brother kept a diary that the narrator is allowed to read. He is convinced that sooner or later he will be eaten.
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Despite his fleeting uprising, which was dismissed as insanity, he will never be truly human. As a child, he ate his little sister: the reader discovers that the madman himself is a cannibal.
It was during his altruistic soliloquy at the climax of the story, gripping the reader as they prepare for his downfall, that the story ceased to be fiction for me. These islands, once a bulwark, have now been superseded by cross-country trains and bridges, forcing Hong Kong open like a stale clam. This sinister pattern continued until , when the Umbrella Movement awakened in the city.
Peaceful protestors against the growing stronghold of the Chinese government over local elections were assaulted by the police and sprayed with tear gas. As someone who witnessed this revolution in person, rather than through photos on Western news outlets, I saw the start of the movement as reminiscent of the beginnings of the Tiananmen Square Incident in This massacre aptly encompasses the end of the Umbrella Movement too: today, it is not only forgotten, especially beyond Hong Kong, but also failed to bring about any political change.
Stretching beyond the realm of literature, the story aptly encapsulates mental degradation in the form of schizophrenia and psychosis, and the high mortality rate of political revolt in the face of party discord. The enduring, perennial relevance of the story, in light of its setting in feudal China, is what qualifies it as a work that should be examined in the discipline of history, in addition to that of psychology and politics. It lured out suppressed memories of my classmates forcing me to declare my support for the Umbrella Movement by wearing a yellow ribbon.
My fear led to an epiphany that the movement was not the right way to declare Hong Kong asunder from China. While Hong Kong will have to return to China in 29 years, this inevitability is not without resistance. Translated by Julia Lovell, Penguin Books, She is from Hong Kong.
Evianne is interested in journalism, and has written multiple political commentaries and personal essays with regards to current affairs and world issues.
She also writes poetry and short fiction. Share this:.
A Madman's Diary
It was the first and most influential modern work written in vernacular Chinese in the republican era, and would become a cornerstone piece of the New Culture Movement. It is placed first in Call to Arms , a collection of short stories by Lu Xun. The "madman" sees " cannibalism " both in his family and the village around him, and he then finds cannibalism in the Confucian classics which had long been credited with a humanistic concern for the mutual obligations of society, and thus for the superiority of Confucian civilization. The story was read as an ironic attack on traditional Chinese culture and a call for a New Culture.
Xun's Diary of a Madman: Analysis & Interpretation
This story contains the diary of a man who descends into illness, which serves as an allegory for Chinese culture in the early s. During this time, there was a big outcry against western influences and capitalism which were blamed for instability in the region. The Boxer Rebellion spelled the beginning of China Story Summary This allegory is structured as a story within a story. On the surface, the first-person narrator is a man who hears of an illness of one of his friends and goes to check on him. The remainder of the story consists of an undated diary.