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Lu Xun wrote a novel detailing his life experiences in China from a first persona perspective of a madman’s thoughts about the Chinese society. Lu was particularly unhappy by the way quack doctors treated his fathers and the kind of expensive drugs they recommended in vain. Therefore, Lu was lived a melancholic life in which he was unhappy of his grandfather retiring lead9ing to their financial drain and his father’s death as a result of poor medication.
Lu was extremely furious about the Chinese medicine that was the source of his agony as a young teenage between the age of 15 and 16. Particularly, Lu said, “I gradually come to the conclusion that those physicians were charlatans, either unwitting or deliberately” (Jerome, Abiola, Irele, and Heather 995). Therefore, the father’s death as a result of wrong medicine or overmedication influenced the identity of Lu concerning the Chinese dependence on failed Chinese herbal medicine. Consequently, Lu decided to train as a qualified doctor with the objective of bringing to Chine western precise methods of medicine. Though Lu knew he would be considered a social outcast if he studied the western knowledge and technology, the young man decided against all odds to study Germany as the basic medicine language an action that further prejudiced Lu as someone who sold his soul to the foreign evil (Findeisen 196).
The perspective that western knowledge was sponsored by the devil is examined in The Madman’s Diary with respect cannibalism habits of the narrator’s society. Lu doubts everyone in his society the same way the narrator doubts the woman who is yelling at his son “…I could take a good bite right out of your hide” (Lu 993). The Chinese society is stereotypical referred to the hyena society that eats the dead meat since the protagonist madman believes that the people within the society exchange their sons to eat and use their skins to sleep on as hides. Therefore, though the Chinese people have a low opinion about the western knowledge and way of life, Lu just like the protagonist in the novel believes equally the Chinese society is rotten of morals and ethics.
Old Fifth Chen roughly towed and dragged the protagonist before locking him away in a study room lie chicken bolted behind walls that separate normal people from the abnormal personality. The madman is angered by Old Fifth Chen’s action of penning him up and treating him like simply chicken or duck without the slightest freedom of mind and thought. Therefore, cannibalism represents the social inclination to specific stereotypical traditions that rob man of reason to find solutions. Literally, Lu complains that the Chinese old traditions interfere with personal life to the extent that the people’s minds are locked away by a form of cannibalism that affects the mind and creative thinking capacity of each and every Chinese (Lu 997).
Lu presents the dramatic events of identity crisis that affect his life throughout since he disregards himself as a Chinese for branding the Chinese culture as the source of mind and creativity cannibalism. The protagonist doubts his elder brother because he is also attached to the Chinese traditions; example of a social unethical behavior is the frying up of a liver and a heart belonging to a of bad man who stole from the villager before the whole village arose and killed him before cooking him for food. Therefore, the protagonist is blaming the society and the government for creating adversaries within the society. The protagonist vomits fish meat taking it for human flesh because of the bigoted feelings and negative opinion about his own society and particularly his brother and Old Fifth.
The interpretation of the words Benevolent, Righteousness and Morality bother the protagonist as he wonders to know their meanings in the social setting. The madman questions the credibility of doctor He whom he believes is equally a cannibal who is not checking his pulse but whether the protagonist was fat and ready to be butchered. Just like Lu, the protagonist was quite suspicious of his surrounding because of losing his father to doctors who he called swindlers. Furthermore, Lu’s family background is affecting his identity just like the madman who kept in his mind the allegation that his brother advised him that it was moral approved to exchange children to eat and use their skins as a sleeping hide.
The protagonist epitomizes the Chinese social structure to the Hyena that eat rotting and dead meat instead of cannibals who eat fresh meat. The interpretation of morality is conjured up when the protagonist compared his brother to someone who has lost all his conscious and does immoral things without having the capacity to revert to righteousness. Therefore, the narrator decided to embark on a social reform agenda starting by reforming his brother. Family relationships come to the forefront in the novel when the narrator is inquiring into the cause of cannibalism and he concludes that the idea is passed from generation to generation from parent to child. The Chinese society is at large reflected as a sad world whereby everyone is afraid of being eaten by someone; therefore, the narrator insists that the solution is only through change of heart and way of thinking with introduction of travelling, working and eating. As a result, Lu is encouraging the Chinese young people to migrate to western and other places in the world to work and find better means to life than being wasted in Chinese villages. Lu himself left his land to study in Germany to reflect that the novel is about the author’s life.
Lu questions the religious credibility in controlling the spiritual and righteous life of Chinese people. In particular, the author allegorically refers to a story in which Yi Ya boiled his on as a sacrificed to Jie Zhou (Laws 42). Lu asserts that the culture of controlling the society from free expression of ideas was incarnated in the Chinese mythology in which he use the novel to reveal that cannibalism started from when Pan Gu separated the sky from the earth down to YI Ya’s sacrifice, to XU Xilin and down to the man who was killed in Wolf Cub Village whereby local ate the liver and heart of the individual in order to attain an esoteric heightened level of awareness and courage (Laws 42). Though the events used to interpret cannibalism remain specific to just the person killed at Wolf Cub Village though none could confirm the story except one young man, the madman exaggerates cannibalism out of proportion. However, the protagonist points out the government executions in the local village are a source of cannibalism inspiration in the story and the society. Execution of human life is a criminal offense unless someone is guilty beyond reproach, yet, in China, the government of Lu’s time used excessive power to control society through intimidations actions like calling whole village to experience the execution of a law breaker. The narrator s afraid of becoming the next target of cannibalism because of being labeled a madman, therefore the Chinese society is revealed of criminalizing innocent people by labeling them malevolent words that represent devil and evil just like everyone ganged up on a bad man and ate him. The first section of the book terminates when the narrator insists that the cannibalism state in China was soon over of people adopted modernity.
Lu examined the social structure of the Chins, Russian and Japanese societies and decided that he was incapable of changing the society through the medicine. One of his comrades was arrested for conspiring with the Russians and the Japanese military order executed the comrade in full spectacle of Chinese people. The Protagonist was unhappy that medicine veiled the society and decides to practice literature arts as a way of transforming the society from a bureaucratic socials getting to more comprehensive and free society for all persons. Though the author tried publishing magazines, the project failed and he had to travel to China where he was further disappointed with the political set up that neither allowed criticism nor positive commentary on politics; therefore, Lu’s messages to reform the Chinese public remained stranded in the media without replies nor opposition (Wang 152). The author declares that his loneliness in the media persisted changing into a poisonous snake that haunt his life as a ghost, inner darkness and ghosts that represent nothingness; hopelessness as a theme is expressed by the madman in his urge to the society to change but he is instead locked in a dark room in which he saw huge planks placating his way into his future. The dream is a personification of Lu as he struggled through the darkness of loneliness in which the narrator is asking the society to stop cannibalism and live like decent human beings; similarly, Lu is attempting to deconstruct social order by introducing modern alternative views to the closed Chinese culture. Lu engages inactive role of dissociating old stereotypical Chinese ideologies by interpreting a new identity that every Chinese should adopt universality over nationality (Laws 39).
According to Lucan theory, the mirror stage identity explains that personal identify is affected by interior dynamics that hold together construction of personal identity (Laws 39). Separation and intensive doubt affect the clarity of personal identity. Therefore, Lu’s dissociation from the Chinese culture is equal to the novel’s narrator’s equal dissociation program that is caused by intense feelings of loneliness. Lu is barren and dislocated from Chinese medicine roots and knowledge because he prefers Germany medicine knowledge though he gives up the struggle to turn into an author (Wang 40). However, the fight to develop self autonomous identity outside the collective Chinese identity becomes a mountainous task in which Lu and the narrator state that self-understanding eventually leads to the realization that individual personality is affected by social dynamics such as evolution of moral concepts that are justified by righteousness or doing what is considered as good in order to avoid isolation that is a direct consequence of individuality. Lucan theory explains that the relationship between the society and the individual affects the Imaginary, Symbolic and Real identity of each individual (Laws 42). The narrator imagines being a weakling who can easily be eaten up by cannibals since he perceives the society as a symbol of cannibalism that affects the real self of the author. Lu relies heavily on the deviated social concepts to define his hatred for Chinese culture. Doubt clouds the personality of the madman from knowing the real events that separate true psychological experience from perceived experience (Wang 41). The moon is used extensively in the novel to reminiscent the capacity to recall identity in the larger universe as compared to total darkness that represents disability. Doubt clouds the narrator’s ability to identify that his society is well behaved and not comprised of true cannibalism and doubt that someone is aiming to kill him. Lu Xun believes that mankind is yet to grow up since most men are somewhat placed between beasts and true mankind (Lindley 2).
The Diary of the Madman has been acclaimed as a source of Chinese history though the book lacks a coherent sociopolitical timeline, a chronology and names about important political and social characters in China. Confucian moral doctrine that placed people into a hierarchical canon is attached by Lu Xun in the novel who advocates for equality as the new philosophy of life. Critics have insisted that Lu’s work in the novel are inspired by the translation of Gogol’s homonymic works (Findeisen 191). The works is intended to identify feudalism as cannibalism in China and instead call for freedom of individualism.
In conclusion, Lu is examining loss of Chinese identity as a result of modernization and globalization that is deemed to overcome communication and sociopolitical barriers in establishing equality as opposed to hierarchical bureaucratic religious leadership that creates a cannibalistic society according to the narrator in the novel. Issues concerning real, symbolic and identity are discussed with special reference to imaginary and symbolic identity taking over real identity of both the narrator and the author when faced with difficult of being integrated into the society.
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