Anarchy and the Diary of a Madman

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Anarchy and the Diary of a Madman
A revolutionary work for its time, Lu Xun’s short story, “A Madman’s Diary”, appears to be an allegory for the problems of China's culture and how they came to exist. Lu Xun uses cannibalism in his work to represent old values and customs, such as traditional Chinese views of how to cure the physically and mentally sick. Mores that to modern generations seem barbaric and absurd; for instance ideas of skin eating and blood drinking to cure the ill. Lu Xun suggests that the tradition of cannibalism is a learned value, "I know. They must have learned this from their parents" (Xun 132). Xun presents the narrator of the story, the old friend of the brother of the madman, as a bystander looking in at the situation through nonjudgmental eyes. I believe that Xun uses this technique so that you cannot be completely sure if the main character, the “madman”, is crazy or sane, right or wrong. At the time this story was written, China was a place of harsh laws and strict Confucius lifestyles. Little to no persons stepped forward in protest about the ways in which the government was blinding leading it’s people. We see this demonstrated in Xun’s “iron house” parabola, in which he makes us question: is naïveness bliss or is it an iron tomb leading us blindly to death? I’m convinced that “The Diary of a Madman” portrayed very clearly the idea of paranoia one would feel of being a traitor to your nation or culture in China in the late 1800s. In his “Preface to A Call to Arms”, Lu Xun relives, rather vividly, when he witnessed the Russo-Japanese War for the first time through a slide where “the one[Chinese soldier] with his hands bound was a spy working for the Russians who was to be beheaded by the Japanese military as a warning to others” (129). Xun openly explains to us it is because of this event that he drastically changed his occupation. I believe that it is because of this incident that Xun gives rise to the younger, probably more...
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