The Short Stories of the Chinese Culture

All the short stories you read this week deal with some kind of sickness (physical or psychological) and are all supposed to present “modern” characters? What makes these characters both modern and sick? What’s the relationship between modernity and sickness here?

Bonus question: Is Lu Xun’s madman really mad? And if so (or if not), why?

Check the units “Asia Rising” and “Social Protests in Imperial Japan” at the MIT Visualizing Cultures Website

Each posting is due by 10 AM every Friday (unless otherwise noted in the syllabus) and should be between 300- and 500-word long. Post your assignment in the Dropbox. Keep them short and to the point, longer is not necessarily better. Clarity and brevity are ideal. As you will see, the weekly questions make direct reference to the assigned readings, and your answer should do the same. Basically, you have to prove that you have done the readings and that you have spent at least a few minutes thinking what they mean (historically). This is an easy way to lock in an “A” for a large portion of your final grade. Just turn them in on time and be certain that they address the readings and the issues at hand directly and clearly.
Let me very clear: you need to asnwer the questions using the readings. If you do not provide evidence that you have actually done the weekly readings, you will receive no points.
Each posting will be graded as “plus,” “check” or “minus.” “Plus” means you get the 4 points slated for that posting; “minus” means zero points; “check” means two points —you did the posting but with minimal effort. Remember, if your posting is not based on the weekly readings, it will receive zero points. Postings shorter than 300 words will receive no points.

These stories took place in China in the early twentieth century and reflect Chinese values and the customs of the day (Hsien-Yi and Yang 2). Every story shows the relations between several characters and how they deal with daily struggles. The stories give us views regarding Chinese and the events that took place in China. Additionally, they explain how human life was affected by the surroundings and beliefs. The characters show no concern for adopting a strong position on these principles. Instead, they sarcastically choose to show how they feel about their future culture.

 The author uses fiction to depict an absence of humanity of the Chinese culture. In this case, the sick characters in the short stories show how they are tired of fighting for new traditions. In the Madman’s Diary, the madman takes a role at the highest position in the civilization even though it is a form of cannibalism (Lu and Lyell, Diary of a Madman 12). The narrator uses sickness to portray the struggle in China. The story incites anger to the society and encourages the community to push for transformation.

The author describes the experiences that directed him to focus his efforts on literature rather than medicine (Lu, Call to Arms 2). He wants the Chinese culture to move from struggles and embrace modern life. He explains his commitment to move from curing the body to healing the mind. Further, the narrator doubts that his efforts will motivate a desire for transformation in those that have no authority to control their ultimate destinies…

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