Analysis of "A Madman's Diary"

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  • Topic: Irony, Diary, Man-eater
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Lit13 – E02
Analysis of “A Madman’s Diary”
Story – “A Madman’s Diary” by Lu Xun
Plot
The story started with a man visiting his good friends who l seriously ill. However, he is only successful on meeting one of them and because the other one who was ill recovered some time ago and has gone to take up an official post according to his brother. The man who visited was shown a diary of the one who was ill and he read it through. Later, he found out that the diarist suffered from a form of persecution complex. Base on him, the writing was most confused and incoherent, and he had made many wild statements. After that, the story proceeded to the diary entries.

There are a total of 13 entries. The first entry started with the diarist noticing the moon that is very bright. According to him, he had never seen it for over 30 years.
The next entry is about the murderous look of the town people against him. As if all the people he passed were afraid of him and that includes the children playing at the street. He wondered why they have a grudge on him because he think of nothing except the incident 20 years ago where he trod on Mr, Ku Chiu’s account sheets. In this entry, he started to be a paranoid.

In the third entry, he mentioned a woman who spanked her son and said “Little devil! I’d like to bite several mouthfuls out of you to work off my feelings!” which became a hint for his suspicion wherein the town people are “man-eaters”. He remembered that a tenant of them from Wolf Club Village came to report a failure of the crops a few days ago. That tenant told his elder brother about a man beaten to death and his heart and liver is fried in oil and eaten. This became the trigger to think that his suspicion is true which the cause of his paranoia is. That night, he read intently and he began to see words between the lines and written is “Eat people”.

On the fourth entry, he was examined and this lead to the discovery that his brother is also one of the man eaters.
According to him, he has many good reasons to suspect his brother. He remembered that his brother said “People exchange their sons to eat” and a bad man not only deserves to be killed but have his flesh eaten.

The diarist said that they are not willing to kill anyone outright instead they set traps everywhere. What they like best is for a man to take off his belt and hang himself so they can enjoy their heart’s desire without being blamed for murder. Also they only eat dead flesh. He said that he shall start with his brother in cursing and dissuading man-eaters.

On the 8th entry he had gained the courage to speak up. When a man of 20 years old came in, he asked him if is it right to eat human beings. After a series of answers that the madman didn’t like, the man refused to discuss things like eating a human being to him.

The next entry is about his conversation with his brother. He explained how embarrassed man-eaters should be by comparing them to various animals. He finally told his brother about his idea of him conspiring with other man-eaters. After a while, he noticed that outside is a swarm of people craning their necks to peer in. His brother also noticed it and shoved the onlookers by saying “Get out of here, all of you! What is the point of looking at a madman?”

Inside his room, he had thought of his little sister. He thought that his little died because of his elder brother. His elder brother had eaten his sister that is why his elder brother told his mother not to cry according to him.

It is possible that he ate several pieces of his sister’s flesh unwittingly because it may have been used for their rice and dishes and now it is his turn.
The last entry is composed of only one sentence saying “Perhaps there are still children who have not eaten men? Save the children. . . . Characters
The reader of the diary – The reader of the diary is a man who is supposed to visit the diarist and his brother. On the second...
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