TraditionalChinese Culture and Society in Madman`s Diary, Lu Xun
Theelements of traditional Chinese culture and society are the dominantfeatures in the story "AMadman`s Diary" isa piece written by Lu Xun. Through the story, the author presents thepractice of unequal social system that was dominated by the nobilitythe society. The traditional Chinese culture of feudalism is exposedthrough the use of cannibalism. Lu Xun uses the metaphor ofcannibalism by using the “eat man” phrase in the story to showhow the nobility were eating on the society. In addition, the storyexposes the traditional Chinese society as insane cultures that allowpeople to dominate over others. This gives the imagery of the titleof the story as well as the insane character.
Inthe story, Lu Xun further explores the practice of suspicion andmistrust as an issue in the traditional Chinese culture. By using thesuspicion that the madman, the author shows how people cannot trusteach other in the society. In the story, Lu Xun tells of how themadman was constantly suspicious of every person in the village andfearing they would eat him (Lu13). Theparanoia seems to overwhelm the madman and his actions based on thefear dominates the entire plot. This shows how the society is full offear and overwhelmed by feudalism. As a result, the author presentsthe traditional Chinese societies as undemocratic and dominant.
Thetraditional Chinese culture of Confucians is highlighted by theauthor as a dominant believe among the Chinese people. Lu Xunjuxtaposes the literary nature of cannibalism and the virtues in thesociety. The morality and virtues of the Chinese traditional cultureare represented by the demand for the end of feudalism that his storyillustrates. The Confucian ideals are the influence of the changethat the story calls for. By highlighting the negative perspective ofthe Chinese traditional culture, Lu Xun criticizes the cultural setup as he attacks the social injustices that the society finds itselfin.
LuXun uses the Confucian ideals to illustrate the value that thetraditional Chinese societies had for children. Towards the end ofthe story, the madman comes to his senses and notices that there arechildren who may not have been eaten. Therefore, he says “Save theChildren” as a show of his concern for them (Lu16).This does not only show the concern for the young ones, but for thefuture. Symbolically, Lu Xun illustrates how the future of theChinese traditional society lies in the children. It is significantto note that these are the ones who have not been “eaten” whichrepresent those who have not been corrupted by feudalism.
Throughthe use of symbolism of a madman, Lu Xun presents his perspective onthe traditional Chinese culture as a feudalistic society. He usesjuxtaposition to place feudalism as cannibalism alongside the moralsand virtues of the Confucian traditional practice. Through the story,Lu Xun gives the world a window of viewing the Chinese social systemthat was dominated by social injustices. However, Lu Xun provides asense of optimism if the society will adopt social justice that Ibacked by the Confucian ideals. The story shows that Lu Xun ishopeful of the transformation of the negative Chinese traditionalculture. Despite painting the Chinese traditional culture as apractice that covers feudalism, he expresses the future of thesociety is dependent on the action of those who are not corrupted.
Lu,Xun. “A Madman’s Diary.”In The Columbian Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature. Ed. Joseph,Lau & Howard Goldblatt. New York: Columbia University Press,2007, Print