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Lu Xun's “Soap”

"Soap," a short story published in New Youth (a progressive journal of that time) in May 1918, had epochal significance, marking the beginning of a brand new literary era. This story attempts to expose the maladies of feudal patriarchy and the feudal code ethics. However, in the novel, Lu Xun doesn't describe the harms of feudal patriarchy and the oppression borne by the madman in detail; instead he points to the cruel nature of feudal ethics through the mad man's eyes, derangement, and frenzied words. "Soap" denounces the cannibalistic ethics of feudal society with a most sobering realistic spirit. Artistically, this story is shaded with subtle symbolism. Before "Soap" was published, poetry and prose written in the vernacular had already appeared. But it was "Soap” that contained true revolutionary thought and seamlessly blended a thoroughly anti-feudal spirit and new art forms. The story is regarded as the first piece of modern Chinese fiction.

Wandering reflects Lu Xun's spiritual depression in the mid-1920s and his unending search for the truth. "Soap" describes an intellect inflicted by the Imperial examination system. The story is written with a laconic and simple structure and in concise language. It castigates the evil of the examination system in trampling and destroying people's lives. "Medicine" is another famous short story exposing the life- destroying feudal system. It depicts not only the uneducated common people who are devoured by feudal superstition, but also a young revolutionary who is killed by the sword of feudal autocracy. One incident in the story, where Hua Laoshuan buys a bun soaked in martyr's blood in hope of curing his son's disease, has become a well-known literary quotation referring to the need for enlightenment.

Lu Xun cared about peasants' lives very much. Many stories in Call to Arms and Wandering truthfully depict peasants' tragic lives after the 1911 Revolution. "Storm" reflects the never-changing rural life after Zhang Xun's restoration by describing a small disturbance in the boatman Qijin's family in Luxian County. Some works in Wandering deals with peasant women's fate. The portrait of Mrs. Xianglin in "The New Year Sacrifice" is again a forceful indictment of the life-destroying feudal code of ethics. "Divorce" is the last of Lu Xun's stories that deal with social realities. It reveals, very profoundly, the situation in rural areas after the 1911 Revolution and points out that the fate of peasant women had still not at all changed. "In the Wine Shop," "Soap," and "The Misanthrope," in Wandering, reflects intellectuals' life.

Lao She's An Old and Established Name

Lao She (??) is our author for this week.  He was born in 1899 as Shu Qìngchun (???).  He is one of the most famous authors from the May Fourth Movement and his most famous works include Teahouse (??) and Rickshaw Boy (???? Luòtuo Xiángzi literally Camel Lucky Boy).

Lao She's father was part of the banner soldiers for the Qing Dynasty government.  During the Taiping Revolution, in which peasants started an uprising against the Qing dynasty and foreigners living in ...
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