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Image of the Past of Chinese Culture

Updated August 10, 2022

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Image of the Past of Chinese Culture essay

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Lu Xun, who is also known as the father of modern Chinese fiction depicted many different themes about China’s past and even present which includes how cruel Chinese tradition is, fatalism, problems with self and society, and even oppressed people in the families which were mostly the women and children. Many of these themes can be shown from “The True Story of Ah Q”, “Outcry”, and “Kong Yiji”.

The past in the story “Outcry” was symbolized by cannibalism which showed expletive culture, where these people were immoral. These were unspeakable cruelties of people. It realtes to how traditional culture is “cannibalistic”. The people of China harmed each other in order to survive. The society of China was based on these principles and this is the reality. Lu Xun is seeing the hypocrisy of Chinese culture, as opposed to the idealistic version of it where cannibalism is a metaphor for exploitation. In part XII of “Outcry” the madman says “With the weight of four thousand years of cannibalism bearing down upon me, even if once I was innocent how can I now face real humans?” which shows how Lu Xun portrays China’s past in that the Cannibalism existed for thousands of years which really means that exploitation and crutlies of people existed for a long time and that it hasn’t changed.

Even after the madman recovers mad man, it doesn’t represent anything positive. He represents people who are not benefiting from the society and are aware they are not benefiting from the society. He is the madman because he realizes the wrong things that are going on in society. Overall, in “Outcry” there are no solution to China’s problems The madman isjust an ordinary guy and becomes just like the rest of the people in China and goes along with traditional culture. He even states at the end of “Outcry” to “save the children” in chapter XIII which further shows that he is asking for help and it is like he has given up and assimilates back in to the traditional Chinese society.

The “Iron house” symbolized how the people in China were sleeping and not waking up. This was symbolized in the preface of “Outcry” where it said “Imagine an iron house: without windows or doors…Let them die in their sleep, and they will feel nothing” which shows once again how people are doing all these immoral things like the madman states with cannibalism and eating human flesh and how it represents everything immoral in the traditional Chinese society but the people don’t realize what’s going on around them if everyone is oblivious and believes it is the normal thing to do. Although the author of the diary was insane by thinking he was eating human flesh, he does have a point of how people were oblivious to what was going on around them in where families including the women and children were treated poorly. The destruction of this traditional Chinese Society can be shown in “Kong Yiji” ion page 55 where this man is dragging himself across the ground, and that overall shows him at the end of the story as completely destroyed which symbolized the Chinese culture and tradition of how it was effecting peoples lives negatively.

More problems shown in the Chinese socity can be shown in “The Story of Ah Q”, in which although he was an unlikeable person as a result of his actions, he does become a revolutionary because he was sick of people treating him badly. He was put on trial and was arrested for being a revolutionary. He was so uneducated that he doesn’t understand the trial or anything that had happened to him and he convinces himself that it is okay to be executed and arrested. Then at the end when there were people killing people and it showed that people are so numb from the cruelty of Chinese culture that it is nothing to them and don’t really think about it and haven’t really processed it.

The story is seen as a critique of the hypocrisy of the early republican revoltionaries who are just like Q to some extent they are gonna side with the revolutionaries and yet ar the same time don’t want to give up their old ways of Confucianism like having slaves and the feeble thinking that the revolutionaries were trying to get rid of. Overall, what this shows is that China’s present did not want to give up on their old ways and that they were really resistant to change and Lu Xun’s stories also showed that China’s past was cruel and still is and there needs to be change. The cruelties can be shown from the treatment of people, the government and the society. Lu Xun’s stories all end on bad notes as shown in “Outcry” where the cured madman practically gives up and doesn’t know what to do. In “Kong Yiji” the man is practically left destroyed by the end. Last but not least, in “The True Story of Ah Q”, there is practically a war starting with the revolutionaries and there are killings going on. Overall, there needed to be a change in China and that is what Lu Xun was trying to say.

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Image of the Past of Chinese Culture. (2022, Aug 10). Retrieved from