Diary of a madman by lu xun

Shilei Chen



After reading “Diary of a madman” I believe although the main character is a suffering from fear of persecution of “mad men”, but the thrust of the work is not to write down the working people being persecuted by and certainly not a mental patient “documentary literature”, but to borrow mad men to reveal the essence of anthropophagi eating people for thousands of years. Society is constantly being manipulated and controlled by the masses of people who know no better than to follow tradition. Lu xun’s poem gives the representation of a culture that has conformed to the Cannibalistic nature of humans corrupting them-selves over and over again therefore feeding upon themselves. What’s interesting is that the story refers to the fact that China has a long history of incidents of cannibalism. Following the idea that history tends to repeat itself. Only through willingness to change and evolution can societies transform their behaviors and actions giving way to improvement. Mad men in the works, is actually a symbolic image. The key image of a madman is the understanding of mad men is true or false. Is the madman really insane? Is he perhaps saner than those around him?, and Who decides? The diary of a madman in the performance of its theme is a stark display of enlightenment thought. The enlightenment thought of diary of a madman, mainly in the anthropophagi deep to expose, critique to the numbing ignorance of national character, as well as firm belief and warm wishes for the future.

The madman narrator believes that the people of his town are plotting to kill and eat him. Mad men see Zhao’s strange glances, Kids hard face, along the way people whisper about, open mouth, woman on the street saying ‘ bite you several mouths “, relate to the time of famine Wolf village tenant tells the story of cannibalism. From his older brother began to suspect that the current arrangement of normal expression. His pulse read as doctor “kick a stick fat lean”, asked to take the medicine, “hurry and eat” to mean just eating him, and due to this community are people who society has long been the social history is a history of cannibalism. In the poem author uses animal imagery such, “Savage as a lion, timid as a rabbit, crafty as a fox” to describe Zhao family’s  dog’ barking. In Chinese tradition the dog usually represent the owner of it, so what kind of dog you have means what kind of master you are. Also rich and powerful people’s dogs are usually more vicious because they can rely on their owners. If anything goes wrong, they can get away from punishment easily. Mad men review and where there are many psychological disorders and paranoia, but demonstrated a clear understanding, spokesman for deep thought and insight. In this regard, the most prominent are the previously mentioned he wrote “virtue and morality” found a few cracks in the history of the word eat human nature. This passage lifted the veil of anthropophagi in China thousands of years, revealing the anthropophagi in the spirit of the people ‘, reveals the feudal slavery, repressive criminal. Poem uses of everyday life for most people in the first place often onlookers or look, talk about a madman, against arousing “persecution” in patients with inner fears, gradually leads to the topic. Looking at the people around him, those victim such as : “magistrate’s orders, faces slapped by the gentry, wives ravished by yamen clerks, their dads and moms dunned to death by creditors”, however, they not only failed to rise up and eat people, but would also like to eat people. Authors are confused, angry and believe they can change.

At the end of the poem, there is such a thing: “now that I know I’m someone with four thousand years’ experience of cannibalism behind me, how hard it is to look real human beings in the eye!”, Lu Xun here as “I” is not a specific person, but a set of art, of course, the “I” can only be a person, only human beings can carry some kind of human consciousness, however, this person was not true of “persecution” patients, Lu Xun as artists do not like doctors and researchers, the record describes a patient’s symptoms.

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7 Responses to Diary of a madman by lu xun

  1. Shileli,
    Although I do see where you are getting at with the idea of cannibalism existing in China, I viewed the story as more of a symbolic representation of China at the time this story was published. When this story was released, China was going through much turmoil and repression in the hands of the government. Those deemed different from the others in their community were ostracized for their ways and looked down upon. Just like the main character is in “Diary of a Madman.” He is forced to live in a community that does no accept him simply because his beliefs do not match up with those of his peers. As his frustration builds, so does the needs to simply yell out just so those around him will pay attention, and even then he must go back in the dark for believing what he does. He yearns for those around him to listen to what he has to say instead of stifling him.
    The way the story ends is important –with the line “Save the children…” The character doesn’t want future generations to grow up thinking they all need to be the same, and grow up believing what his comrades do now. He hopes that the circumstances will change and the children will no longer have their minds poisoned by prior views and the fear of living in repression.

  2. al127355 says:

    I absolutely agree with you about this short story being a depiction of society constantly being manipulated by masses of people just following tradition. I also agree that the story gives this underlying tone that if everyone is willing to change and evolve, societies can transform their behaviors and actions allowing them to improve. This story by Lu Xun was published in a time of great change for China. There was much debate over tradition and there were many competing ideologies from political parties. I think that Lu Xun was using this story to symbolize that China needed to make a great change. The use of cannibalism as an extreme tradition is symbolism for China’s very old and outdated traditions that have lasted thousands of years. This story is jabbing at the idea that over time China’s traditions and feudal system will become so extremely outdated that it would be considered absolutely wrong as the years go by like cannibalism. The story opens the minds of the reader to think who is the one that is crazy? From this, people begin to question what is right and what is wrong. As well they begin to question if tradition is the right thing to stand by.

    Also, this story is interesting and is seen to embrace radical change to China for many reasons that are not seen from the translated English text. Lu Xun became a famous writer because of his radical short stories that were published in newspapers. Everyone read these fun stories featured in the newspaper and I believed they were called “minute stories”. Another reason why these stories were considered radical was because he wrote these stories in common speech Chinese, not classical Chinese writing which was typically seen for published works. Lu Xun was one of the first people to do this and this was radical because classical Chinese had been used for thousands of years, but the people of China have stopped using it and switched to vernacular. This form of writing Lu Xun used further incorporates the idea that China’s traditions were outdated and should be changed. Oh and personally I greatly enjoyed this short story. It was a very interesting read!

  3. Sorry i dont know your name but this to (rp144524). Yes, the story was published on 1918 and durning that time the emperor of china was step down and china was in chaos by those generals who divided china into several territory. it was really hard for people just to make living at that time. Although though out the history governments are the one controls people but we the people are the one control our own future. In the diary of a madman the author is more angry at those people than government. Because they only fellow tradition by obeying instead of stand up fight and say no. He is afraid if people don’t make change, there will no future for the next generation and went back to dictatorship. Because history tend to repeat themselve.

  4. Maxim L says:

    I agree with RP’s point. The further I was reading the diary, the more I understood that the idea of Cannibalism existing in China was just the author’s move to express his thoughts. Some artists use this move involving such characters as madmen, people with disabilities or even children. From the recent works that comes to my kind are Kafka’s Metamorphoses and French movie Blame it on Fidel directed by Julie Gavras. The Lu Xun’s goal is to convey the idea of living in the society which is characterized with conservatism and prejudice. This phenomenon always existed in various cultures around the world and, I believe, it will always exist further. But thanks to people like “madman” who look at the world from a different perspective and set a new way of thinking. Thus, we evolve.

  5. svetlana.pak says:

    1. I agree with Shilei that society was always manipulated and controlled by the masses of people. Some people decide what is good and what is bad and other people believe them without protest. Mass of the people can even be dangerous. If one day people decide that eating a human being is appropriate, the next day it becomes a social norm. A mass of people is really powerful and difficult to resist. Most of the people prefer just to be a part of this mass, so they are not going to be beaten or killed for going against this crowd. I believe Lu Xun named the main character a Madman on purpose .In the beginning of the story we believe that the main character is the one who is mad; however, after reading this story further we understand that madness of the main character is actually sanity.
    Madman is a rebel and social critic in this story. He reminds me of Frederick Douglas in some ways. Frederick Douglas has also rebellious spirit. Like Madman, Douglas also stood up against social norms and beliefs. He fought back against the notion of inequality of people and racism. Comparing these two characters we can say that both of them have strong personalities, and rebellious attitude. Both of them have an ability to see the problem in society and act upon it. It’s difficult to see the problem in a society in which you live, and follow whatever society puts forth as acceptable. In a way, you get brainwashed and are unable to think outside the box, instead thinking along the same lines as the majority of the people. Those who defy these standards are labeled as heretics, crazy and uneducated; but in reality they expand the horizons of the society.

    Svetlana Pak

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