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Chinese Literature Analysis

In the prologue, a nomadic physician named Lao Can, “Old Decrepit,” dreams that China is a drowning ship. After the dream ends, Lao Can embarks on a journey to resolve China’s problems. In the story, Lao Container’s efforts to redress wrongs alter how people see women and contemplate China’s future. In a few short works of crime fiction, Lao Can also portrays a detective. A researcher, Milena Doleelová-Velingerová, asserts that the investigative subplots are “completely separate” from the lyrical passages, making the work so original. She argues that the use of poetry and symbolism “sets this book apart from the others” because of the famed lyrical descriptions of the Chinese landscape, which are meant to be seen not just as images of natural beauty but also as suggestive comments on the situation of society. According to Donald Holoch, the whole book, not simply the prologue, is an allegory; otherwise, the novel makes no sense. Specifically, he feels that the book’s characters and narrative reveal a “complex conservatism” that concludes that technology, not social change, is the answer to China’s problems. In his review of The Chinese Novel at the Turn of the Century, Cordell D. K. Yee states that “it is doubtful if all episodes correspond” to the metaphorical concept. In a review, Robert E. Hegel says that Holoch’s interpretation “substantially enhances the study of the work” and is persuasive. It ended in 1939, obtainable in 1952 by Cornell University Media, and re-released in paperback with a novel outline in 1990 (Qichao, 2022). There are a considerable number of remarks on the translation. According to Timothy Wong, Shaddock translates Liu E’s vivid descriptions into English better than anybody else, which critics Hu Shih and C.T. Hsia have dubbed his writing’s most substantial strength.

Liang, a follower of legitimate monarchy, disapproved of how the Qing administration functioned. He sought to modify the present state of China. He and Kang Youwei established reforms by putting their ideas in writing and proposing them to the Qing emperor Guangxu. This movement is known as the Hundred Days’ Reform or the Wuxu Reform. According to China’s plan, “self-strengthening” is not sufficient. It also needed extensive ideological and institutional changes, such as eradicating corruption and modifying official examination procedures (Xun, 2001). Empress Dowager Cixi, the head of the political conservatives and eventually gained control of the government as regent, placed Liang on the wanted list as soon as there was significant disagreement over this idea. Cixi and her adherents at the time deemed the “Hundred Days’ Reform” to be excessively radical, and she was adamantly opposed to any adjustments.

In 1898, the Conservative Coup stopped any developments. Liang went to Japan, where he resided for fifteen years. During his time in Tokyo, he got acquainted with the future Japanese prime minister and famous politician, Inukai Tsuyoshi. He struggled for democracy in Japan by persuading foreign governments and Chinese diasporas to support the reformers’ cause via his writings. While staying in Japan, Liang partnered with Phan Boi Chau, one of Vietnam’s most notable anticolonial revolutionaries. Liang came to Canada in 1898, where he met Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and other people. Then he proceeded to Hawaii’s Honolulu. Liang returned to Canada during the Boxer Rebellion, where he founded the “Chinese Empire Reform Association.” This movement, which eventually became the Constitutionalist Party, advocated for a system known as “constitutional monarchy.” Liang advocated for moderate development, whereas Sun advocated for revolution. Liang came to Australia for six months in 1902 and 1905 to garner support for a campaign to update China and reform the Chinese empire using the most advanced Western technology, industry, and political institutions (Qiu et al., 1907). He also addressed Chinese and Western audiences at public events around the country. This expedition coincided with the 1902 unification of the six British colonies to become Australia. He thought this strategy for unifying many areas of China might serve as a model for the country. Politicians treated him well, and he became acquainted with Edmund Barton, Australia’s first prime minister. He toured back to Japan later that same year.

Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman tells the timeless, diversified story of an “invalid” who previously faced a “persecution mentality.” This caused him to assume that everyone around him was a cannibal, including his brother, his neighbor, and the youth of his community. The “invalid” is so delusional that he thinks he is imprisoned for tampering with “Records of the Past” and that the youngsters of hamlet are being told to “Eat people!” Smooth the neighbor’s canine, connected to Casanovas, and the verdicts in an old book cooperate to consume him in his mind. Rather than being consumed, the psychopath finally cowers under the “weight of four thousand years of cannibalism assertive down” on him. This will be accomplished by answering the difficult question, “What permits current Chinese literature and Lu Xun’s fiction, particularly, to cross the world so effectively?” In 1918, when the literary revolution was officially inaugurated, it sprang from a “cultural vacuum” at a difficult moment in Chinese history. Even though the old cultural heritage had been attacked and mostly destroyed, a new culture was to be built on top of it; even while there was Chinese-language popular writing with its traditions, practically all of the May Fourth writers, including Lu Xun, borrowed concepts and patterns from Western literature.

When in Japan, Yu Dafu was preoccupied with China’s international position and his contacts with people of the opposite sex. This section will cover the second component discussed in the preceding paragraph. Yu, the protagonist of Sinking, shares Yu’s longing for a passionate relationship: “I do not want schooling, fame, or useless money, oh gods. If you give me Eve from the Garden of Eden and allow me to take her body and soul, I will be satisfied (Yu, 2007, p.36). He stopped conversing with others, but “his loneliness got so severe that he could no longer endure it.”. He is never given a chance to engage with ladies. To satisfy his sexual need, he masturbated a few times, saw the landlord’s daughter taking a bath, and listened to a couple having an intimate moment outdoors. Eventually, he broke down and said, “I have been drinking at the bar and having a relationship with the maid. I have plummeted to the lowest level of humanity.” Since it seems improbable that I will find the sort of love I want, I may as well die now.

Furthermore, without love, what would life be like? “Isn’t it as dead as a doornail?” After that, he committed suicide. Therefore, we may say that sexual unhappiness is the proximal cause of suicide, whereas the nation is the valid reason. Patriotism is more closely tied to sex and death. Before committing suicide, Lieutenant Takeyama passionately loved his wife, Reiko, in eager expectation of death. Mishima has written extensively on the seppuku method and the sex scene. Mishima believes that the exquisite bodily agony of seppuku and death is comparable to the sublime physical pleasure of life and sex. Before the awful pleasure of death and the sublime physical anguish, Takeyama delights in sex and exquisite physical pleasure.

Joint Photoplay Service created the Chinese drama New Women in 1936. The film has no sound. It has also been referred to as “New Woman.” In her previous-to-last film, Ruan Lingyu featured in a film directed by Cai Chusheng. This film is one of Ruan Lingyu’s most well-known productions. Her death on International Women’s Day emphasized the precarious position of new women and elevated the significance of this film in modern China (Lem, 2011). The “New Women” social reform movement and the economic trend have been underway for many years. It questioned traditional Chinese ideas and pushed for replacing “old women” with “new women” as the new cultural ideal. Because New Women addressed “the woman issue,” some individuals deemed it a “problem film.” This series of investigations examine the societal attitudes toward “new women” in China. “The woman question” raised issues on the current status of women in China, as well as who the nation’s new women are and how they must live. The series further claims that “the women have been shackled and treated like irrelevant beings over the years but have risen from the abyss of suffering over the years.” The ideology of the text is to embrace humanity and equality in society and that women play a significant role.

Following his admiration for the Russian writer Andreyev, Lu Xun was inspired to write one of his famous short stories, Medicine. The story was published in New Youth in May 1919. It was a symbolic story of a little boy who contracted tuberculosis, and the parents, out of despair, went in search of a cure. Old Shuan bought blood from soldiers of a recently executed freedom fighter. Based on the Chinese superstitious beliefs that blood, “human blood” in particular, was a guaranteed cure for the disease, Old Shuan gave it to the son but still could not prevent the death of the son. Lu Xun’s Medicine story encapsulates the Chinese symbolic struggle for freedom and rights that are shoved aside for the sake of the myths and misconceptions of their culture. Lu Xun tries to bring out a clear picture of how the revolution in China was undermined due to illiteracy. Lu Xun describes the execution saying, “Old Chuan looked in that direction but could only see people’s backs. Craning their necks as far as they would go, they looked like so many ducks, held and lifted by some invisible hand. For a moment, it was still; then a sound was heard, and a stir swept through the onlookers” (Dolezelova-Velingerova,1977). This tries to bring out the struggles the Chinese people went through in their quest for democracy and freedom, unbeknown to them the significance of the blood shed by the freedom fighters.

Jingwei, based on Chinese mythology, is a bird who was transformed from Yandi’s daughter Nuwa and is believed to be a Chinese goddess. She metamorphosed into a bird called Jingwei after drowning while playing in the eastern sea. The mystical bird attempted to fill the ocean with pebbles (Strassberg,2002). The stones of the Jingwei Bird tried to picture how the women in Qing china were treated and how empowerment could bring the needed change. Qui’s protagonist, Jului, played the part superlatively, being a woman from a prestigious family yet becoming a robust and dependent woman willing to empower other women. Jului is a reflection of Qui, who, following her upbringing, was exposed to early political ideologies and became a female pioneer in the liberation movement of women in the revolution of china. In the early 1900s, western influences were effective in Japan, constraining the Chinese government to sending the elites to Japan and study. Qiu was privileged to be one of them and, upon return, participated in various revolutionary activities that led to her heroism. Qui tried to portray the changes that come along with women’s liberation and empowerment.

The Heavenly Bodies introduces us to Eve Arnold’s portrait of Joan Crawford in three different images. The introductory part gives us a vivid description of the portrayal and the interpretation of the three images of stardom. However, Richard Dyer dives deeper and reveals that a star is an object and not a person. A star can be featured in different phenomena such as media texts, films being central to creation, magazines, posters, interviews, and public appearances, which, put together, creates a star phenomenon(Dyler,2013). He goes on and describes the making of stars and living stars. According to dyer, “stars represent typical ways of behaving, feeling and thinking in contemporary society; ways that have been socially, culturally and historically constructed.” The stars articulate how individuals have been driven to live or behave in a particular way in their society and position. Dyer compared the stars to the embodiment of the biological categories in which people are placed based on gender, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. He used different characters to describe these stars and the social ideologies of the time. Marie Monroe, for instance, was known for her stereotypes associated with her blonde hair, stupidity, sexual availability, and artificiality. She has been used to describe sexuality in volume. Paul Robeson, an American bass-baritone, stage and film actor, and professional football player, was known for acting in a black male role in various films, and Judy Garland struggled with the conflict between American values and the correlated conflict of many homosexual men.

The true story of Ah Q” starts by introducing us to a peasant named Ah Q from Weichang at the Tutelary Temple. He is described to be someone without a factual family background and is looked down upon by his fellow members in the village based on the test “Ah Q, your miserable wretch! Did you say I belonged to the clan as you?” (Foster, 1996)). This was after he claimed to have the same last name as Mr. Zhao, a well-respected man, and was afterward slapped. From how he is described, he had no work or family, but when there was a job, he was sure to do it. However, more humiliation seemed to come his way when he was thwacked by one opponent whom Ah Q considered a baldheaded foreign imitation. Despite all this, Ah Q seemed adamant about maintaining the legacy and even refrained from saying certain words claiming them to be taboo. This led to people making fun of him, further tarnishing his name (Hsun, 2006). AH, Q’s victories are the psychological practice of how Ah Q found satisfaction in bullying the weak, escaping reality, and self-reassurance in case of failure, having lived in a semi-feudal semi-colonial society before the Xinhai Revolution. The relevance of the book to revolutionary is twisted, but Lu Xun depicts Ah Q as the Chinese society who are execrated for embracing their culture and beliefs and suffer dire consequences for that. He also tried to paint how the few Chinese people were unwilling to accept change and revolutionary at the time. In the end, tragedy befell Ah Q when he was dragged around by the invading militia men and shot by men in short jackets and foreign cloth. The cause of his tragedy can be said to be his fault, considering that he was always focused on what was good to him to the point where he was asked to sign a confession, but since he was too worried about how he was unable to and was instead told to draw a circle, he did not realize his fate until it was too late. Lu Xun, at this point, tries to enlighten his people that they should accept revolutionary for the sake of others and not just themselves by denying it. It also symbolizes that for a real change to occur in Chinese society, there have to be some aspects that are dealt with entirely.

Cinema was first introduced to china in 11896, and the first Chinese film was Dingjun Mountain, made in 1905(Lea, 1922-1949). According to Lu Sheldon (1997), transnational Chinese cinema is a collective rethinking of the national/ transnational interface in Chinese film history and in film studies. He goes on to show further how cinema in China has developed within the transnational context. During the time when it was first developed, around the late nineteen century, the Chinese were conscious that the Chinese market was dominated by foreign film, but by the 1920s, they saw the impact the cinemas had on promoting resistance to western and Japanese domination of China. The establishment of the People’s republic led to the exclusion of most foreign films (Berry et al., 2001). Lu went on and say that the transnational cinema in Chinese and the rest of the world was the result of the globalization of the mechanism of film production, distribution, and consumption. The study of the given national cinema, however, became the project of transnational film studies. Chinese cinema was considered a mobilizer of the nation’s myths and misconceptions and the myth of the nation. This paves the way for the heterogeneous entity of “modern China” (Lu, 1997). It was discovered that the production of the film, censorship of the film, studio ownership, government intervention, and public opinion was the main terrains that led to the establishment of the new symbolic china. The Chinese national cinema was later on discovered to be the key to the national building process. However, after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the national cinema was turned into a state-owned enterprise and state-sponsored in an effort to build a unified and unifying picture of national identity.

The Red Sorghum was the first film in 1988 to receive the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin international film festival. It was also the first Chinese film to receive a western film festival award. This, however, was the beginning of the end of the New Chinese Cinema. Based on Lu, “film has always been a transnational entity.” The emergence of various cinemas has helped in the civilization and development of china.


In conclusion, the ambitious goal of the Chinese government to “show China to the world” cannot be accomplished all at once since most of these publications are intended for the Chinese market. Even if these books were to be published in the West, it is unlikely that many people would read or buy them because Western critics seldom evaluate Chinese literature. Foreign Languages Press sometimes used collaborative publication, a preferable approach for accomplishing projects. Revolution of china is a non-fiction book that Chinese writers have tried to put in a fiction perspective, but in most cases, the readers end up failing to understand the plot of the story due to the numerous symbolism and metaphor as well as the language and the flow of the story. This in turn makes most readers to read the fiction out of curiosity, requirement or fun reading and refer the non-fiction for research and other senior projects.


Berry, C., & Farquhar, M. (2001). From national cinemas to cinema and the national: rethinking the national

Christopher Rea, (1922-1949) ChineseFilm Classics, (Columbia University Press, 2021), Introduction and Ch. 9.

Doleelová-Velingerová, M. (1977). Lu Xun’s ‘Medicine.’. Modern Chinese Literature in the May Fourth Era, (89), 221.

Dyer, R. (2013). Heavenly bodies: Film stars and society. Routledge Foster, P. B. (1996). Lu Xun, Ah Q,” The True Story of Ah Q” and the national character discourse in modern China. The Ohio State University.

Hsun, Lu. (2006) The True Story of Ah Q. Objective Systems Pty Ltd CAN 085 119 953. Print.

Hunters, T. (1984). Blossoms in the snow: Lu Xun and the dilemma of modern Chinese literature. Modern China, 10(1), 49-77.

in transnational Chinese cinemas. Journal of Modern Literature in Chines 4(2), 7.

Lem, H. (2011). Fact and Fiction: Liu E’s Treatment of Characters in the Travels of Lao Can. PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal, 5(1), 18.

Qichao, L. (2022). 3 On the Relationship Between Fiction and the Government of the People. In Modern Chinese Literary Thought (pp. 74-81). Stanford University Press.

Qiu, J., Dooling, A. D., & Torgeson, K. M. (1907). Excerpts from Stones of the Jingwei Bird. Writing Women in Late Imperial China, 39-42.

Strassberg, Richard E. (2002). A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 132. ISBN0-520-21844-2

Xun, L. (2009). The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun. Penguin UK.


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