LU XUN - Diary of a Madman
Caroline Bock - Author of BEFORE MY EYES and LIE
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Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES

LU XUN - Diary of a Madman

Lu Xun is one of the major figures of modern Chinese literature - but perhaps people out there in the Internet ether know this -- or at least, I keep wondering who in China is clicking on this blog?  I taught "Diary of a Madman" this year -- reluctantly. I knew little of Chinese literature. It was a mandate from the English department at City College of New York to teach this early 20th century short story as part of my World Humanities course.

I loved this story. Reading and teaching Lu Xun led me to think of China -- and of other places in history and time that has suppressed human creativity and hope -- driven people crazy with fear. I wonder if they are reading him in China today -- or is he out of fashion?  Written in 1918, "Diary of a Madman" is about a so called "madman's" point of view of his village -- of sanctioned terror, of a village and of families turning to the most horrendous of human crimes-- cannibalism.

Or, is this all just the crazed ramblings of an unreliable narrator?  Moreover, is this truth or symbolic of a larger destruction of a corrupt, brutal, inhuman society?  Does the madman speak truth to power or does he have no power at all --except to share his nightmares? 

As the narrator exclaims at the very end, "Are there children who have not yet eaten human flesh?  Save the children..." 

Truly,

author of LIE


2 Comments to LU XUN - Diary of a Madman:

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descriptive essay on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 2:27 AM
I liked this tale. Studying and training Lu Xun led me to think of Chinese suppliers and of other locations in record and time that has under control individual creativeness and wish -- motivated individuals insane with worry.
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Vacation to Bermuda on Friday, April 19, 2013 5:16 AM
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