A Madman's Diary Analysis

analytical Essay
1845 words
1845 words

The Changing Status of the Victim in Modern China The Cultural Revolution destroyed countless lives; while some died during reeducation, the Revolution drove others to suicide, madness, or depression by the shame, humiliation, and isolation they faced. The government of China, however, often denies that such suffering occurred. Instead, it promotes a positive, romanticized image of the Cultural Revolution in sanctioned fiction and in official history. Therefore, one of the few ways we can see the true effects of the Communist regime is through the fiction that the disillusioned Chinese citizens wrote about the actual experience and impact of the era. Through these writings, we can see clearly who were the victims and who were the oppressors …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the chinese government promotes a positive, romanticized image of the cultural revolution in sanctioned fiction and in official history.
  • Analyzes how the cultural revolution and mao zedong's rule failed to improve the lives of the peasants and caused greater suffering for virtually all citizens through their policies.
  • Analyzes how zhenzhen's pain is alleviated by her nationalism while in later works, communist ideals are a small comfort in the face of oppression.
  • Analyzes how the communist regime expanded from feudalism to include elite groups, but the tyranny spread as the party censured intellectuals, and encouraged hatred for landlords and the wealthy.
  • Analyzes how the effects on the chinese people can be seen in post-revolution literature. in winter nights, the two revolutionary professors lived in exile while some of their closest friends had passed away.
  • Analyzes how lu xun uses the metaphor of people eating people to show that in the feudalistic era, people were both the oppressors and the victims.
  • Analyzes how lu xun's a madman’s diary encapsulates the ironic struggle of the cultural revolution.

This presents a pessimistic view of human nature as being necessarily cannibalistic; that is, in order to survive, people must hurt others. While Lu Xun could not have foreseen the disastrous effects of the Cultural Revolution, this piece embodies impressively relevant themes. A Madman’s Diary, using cannibalism as a metaphor for the human condition under feudalistic rule, manages to extend its reach far beyond the initial symbolic meaning. As Jameson notes, “Lu Xun 's proposition is that [...] his fellow citizens are "literally" cannibals: in their desperation, disguised and indeed intensified by the most traditional forms and procedures of Chinese culture, they must devour one another ruthlessly to stay alive” (Jameson 71). Because in this metaphor, each cannibal must, by necessity, be eating other cannibals, they perpetrate the same violence that is done against them, managing to be both victims and complicit in their victimization. By repeatedly participating in such a system, they perpetuate it, thus ensuring their continued victimization. This remains true for the Communist era after the May Fourth Movement; Lu Xun’s writing is prescient of more literal involvement in the persecution. The fact that the Chinese people are participants in their own subjugation is undeniable; the key is that they act out of desperation to survive. They believe that submitting to feudal forces will make them safer, just as they believe that yielding to and joining the Party will diminish their suffering and garner favor with those who hold the most power. The perpetual struggle to keep out of harm’s way does not disappear during Mao’s rule, and therefore, neither does the cannibalistic nature of society. While peasants took a

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