Tradition and Modernity in "A Madman's Diary" Essay

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Tradition and Modernity in "A Madman's Diary"

During Lu Xun's time, China was witnessing a landmark political and economic change. This was the time for the popular May Fourth Movement in 1919 following the announcement of the terms of the Versailles Treaty that concluded WWI. At this time, the Chinese society was oppressive and feudalistic. The elite fed off the labors of those below them thus destroying their souls. Those in leadership took advantage of the led that lived in abject poverty and without a political voice. The author seems to associate cannibalism with such prevalent social conditions. As much as the madman's reasoning is flawed, his lunacy points at the social, economic as well as political reality of the time. First, the story begins with different mode where the narrator introduces the diary. It appears as though this is a preface and the point at which the narrator distances from the content of the diary. He goes further to elude that the story is an interesting case for "medical research" there by challenging the authenticity of the story, calling it what it really is a madman diary. It is ironical that the diary serves as evidence of insanity and moreover, despite the fact that the reader would think of madness as indicting Confucianism as a form of cannibalism, it still amounts to a madman's diary. In the later sections, as in Section 9, the madman, points at want he thinks is the right direction. The right direction is getting rid of obsessions of man eat man society where they want to eat and at the same time afraid of being eaten. In section 8, his brother is reluctant to talk about it explaining that it is wrong for anyone to talk about it. In section 10, his brother fails to answer him and like everybody else looked at him as a madman. They would not change meaning that they would be unwilling to take "that little step." This is symbolic as it refers to the move from tradition into new thinking; modernism and it only take that one little step, hence his cry to save the children from this mentality, this way of thinking.

Question 6

The Irony Embodied in the Story

The main focus of Lu Xun's New Year's Sacrifice is Hsiang Lin's Wife. She is described as living under three oppressive powers: that of her husband, her…

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