Language A: English HL
World Literature Paper
Word Count: 1215
A New Perspective on Chinese History
Isaac Lee WLP Ball 1
The novel, To Live, by Yu Hua was banned in China when it was first published because the novel exposed the faulty rule of the Communist party in China. This literary masterpiece depicts four decades of Chinese history, including historic events as the Sino-Japanese war, the civil war, the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. During this time of culture and history, the main character, Fugui, experienced many endeavors in life. Ironically enough, the novel is called "To Live" when so many of the characters die in the story. Fugui is the only significant character in the novel that remains alive at the end of the story. The author, Yu Hua, beautifully articulated the political turmoil of the Chinese Civil war into the literary perspective of Fugui’s life and thus the novel, To Live, manifested. Hua portrays the civil war in different stages to embody Fugui’s life and growth as a person throughout the novel. In the first few pages of the novel, Fugui’s life was going well. “I’m the prodigal son of the Xu family” (Hua 10). This quote embodies Fugui’s life at the start of the story. Fugui was born into the upper class and married the daughter of a rich family that owned a rice store. Fugui had a comfortable living and the life of luxury had high hopes. Hua uses the early stages of conscription to symbolize Fugui’s early life. “I thought when the time comes I’ll find an opportunity to escape” (Hua 61). This quote shows that Fugui had high hopes at the early stages of conscription. Hua used the Xu family’s wealth and the hope for freedom at the start of conscription to tie together Fugui’s optimism and happiness in the first stage of his life and involvement in the civil war. Fugui’s happiness and optimism were very short lived throughout the novel. Fugui...
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