UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Nativist fiction in China and Taiwan: A thematic survey Haddon, Rosemary M. 1992

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1992_fall_haddon_rosemary_maeve.pdf [ 7.61MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0086530.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0086530-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0086530-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0086530-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0086530-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0086530-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0086530-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

NATIVIST FICTION IN CHINA AND TAIWAN: A THEMATIC SURVEYbyRosemary Maeve HaddonB.A., The University of British Columbia, 1973M.A., The University of Victoria, 1986A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULHLLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Asian Studies)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAOctober 1992© Rosemary Maeve Haddon, 1992Signature(s) removed to protect privacyIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.Department of ?//&1/ 5V2L4J(The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate )4 IffIDE-6 (2/88)Signature(s) removed to protect privacyIIAbstractThis dissertation comprises a historical survey and thematic analysis of the various regionaland temporal expressions of Chinese and Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue (“nativism” or“homeland literature”). Chapter One traces Chinese xiangtu wenxue from the rural stories of LuXun through the 1920s generation of writers of xiangtu wenxue (xiangtu zuojia f’g).These writers used two different narrative modes to analyze China’s deepening rural crisis. One ofthese was the antitraditionalist mode inspired by Lu Xun; the other was a positivist modeformulated from new concepts and intellectual thought prevalent in China at the time of MayFourth (1919). The narrative configuration established by this decade ofxiangtu writers ischaracterized by nostalgia and is based on the migration of the Chinese village intellectual to largeurban centres. This configuration set the standard for subsequent generations of writers ofxiangtu wenxue who used an urban narrator to describe a rural area which was either the author’snative home, an area he/she knew well or one which was idealized.Chapters Two and Five discuss Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue from the 1920s to the 1970s.The emergence of this fiction is linked with Taiwan’s insecure status in the forum of internationalrelations. In Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue, the countryside is a refuge from the forces ofmodernization; it is also a storehouse nurturing ancient traditions which are threatened by new andmodern ways. Taiwan’s xiangtu writers valorize traditional culture and seek in rural Taiwan atranscendent China predating Taiwan’s invasion by the West. These works are all narrated by anurban narrator who rejects modernity and desires to counteract foreign influences.The focus of Chapter Three is China’s rural regional xiangtu wenxue of the 1930s. In thisdecade, rural fiction became a general trend in China with the rise of the Chinese CommunistParty, Japanese aggression and China’s increasing urbanization. The shift away from China’surban-based fiction is characterized by an increasing concern for the peasants, regional decayunder the onslaught of Westernization and the life, customs and lore of China’s hinterland. InInmany of these regional works, concern for the nation is interwoven with non-nationalisticinterests.Chinese xiangtu wenxue of the 1940s and 1950s is discussed in Chapter Four. The xiangtuwenxue of this period took on a distinctly Communist guise in the wake of Mao Zedong’s 1942Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art. Chinese Communist xiangtu wenxue isprimarily defined as revolutionary realism and is concerned with the construction of Chinesesocialism which takes place in the countryside through the forced implementation of draconianParty policies. The peasants in this fiction often attempt to evade these policies. Occasionally,these stories and novels slip into a hardcore realistic mode conveying a peasant reality whichstrongly dissents from the orthodox Party view. At least one writer of this period was persecutedand killed for his putatively disloyal beliefs.Finally, with the passing of Maoism in China, a new form of xiangtu wenxue emerged in themid-1980s. This is the subject of Chapter Six. In these works, traditional Chinese culturesupercedes Maoism as the basic fabric unifying Chinese life. Many of the writers in this periodevince a psychological bifurcation arising from their conflicting views about the value of traditionalChinese culture. This bifurcation stems from the narrator in this fiction who is caught up in theprocess of urbanization and is unable to fully integrate his vision of the countryside into a largervision of modernity. The ambivalence about Chinese culture in xiangtu wenxue is a leitmotifwhich underlies xiangtu wenxue’s many, disparate forms.ivTable of ContentsAbstract iiAcknowledgements viIntroduction 11. Chinese Xiangtu wenxue of the 1920: The Sojourner-Narrator 18Lu Xun and the Rise of Xiangtu wenxue 31Wang Luyan (1901-1944) 522. Taiwanese Xiangtu wenxue and the Legacy of Colonialism 59Prelude to Modernity 68Taiwanese writers of xiangtu wenxue of the 1960s 78Hwang Chun-ming 80Wang Zhenhe 89Chen Yingzhen 933. China’s RegionalXiangtu wenxue 99The Regionalism of Shen Congwen 103The Writers of the Northeast 128Xiao Jun 132Duanmu Hongliang 137Xiao Hong 143Conclusion 1544. China’s Post-Yan’an Xiangtu Wenxue 157The Shanyaodan School and Zhao Shuli 159Zhao Shuli 165“Middle Characters” and “Training, Training” 178Ma Feng and Zhou Libo 183HehuadianSchoolandSunLi (1913- ) 192Liu Shaotang and the Theoretical Nature of Xiangtu wenxue 199Conclusion 2045. The Xiangtu wenxue Movement of Taiwan 206Wang Zhenhe 215Hwang Chun-ming 217ZengXinyij(1948- ) 225Wang Tuo 229Yang Qingchu 237Chen Yingzhen 2446. China’s “Nativist Culture” (Xiangtu wenhua) of the 1980s 252Gao Xiaosheng 258Shi Tiesheng 270Han Shaogong 273MoYan 284VConclusion 293Conclusion 296Bibliography 301Appendix 324viAcknowledgementsMy debt of gratitude goes first and foremost to my family and friends who showed mepatience, gave me support and assisted me in a variety of ways throughout the duration of my PhDprogram.I am also grateful to friends and acquaintances in Taiwan who introduced me to the historyand literature of Taiwan’s Japanese colonial period. My conversations with Chen Yingzhen,Wang Tuo, Hu Qiuyuan, Chen Guying and others assisted me in my analysis of Taiwanesehistory and writers. My ex-husband, Roger H. C. Lin, who would have accompanied me toCanada were it not for a record of sedition, assisted me in reading the original texts and with theirtranslation.During the years 1986-92, the Department of Asian Studies conferred upon me a number ofteaching assistantships, research assistantships and a Sessional Instructorship which enabled me tocomplete my program. I am grateful to the department for its support.I received valuable support from the librarians of the Asian Studies Library, UBC, and fromLinda Joe, the Head Librarian of the ASL, where I carried out the bulk of my research on Chinesewriters. My special thanks go to Patrick Dunn, UBC Interlibrary Loan Librarian, for many hoursof his time spent in tracking down hundreds of obscure journals and articles. I could not havecompleted my research without his assistance.Finally, my thanks go to my advisor, Professor Michael S. Duke, Chair, Department ofAsian Studies, UBC. Knowing my interest in xiangtu wenxue, Professor Duke suggested mydissertation topic and introduced me to a number of Chinese writers, including Thao Shuli andZhou Libo and also the “Searching for Roots” school of writers whose works are the subject ofChapter Six. Professor Duke read the drafts of my dissertation, pointed out problematical areasand gave me conscientious editorial advice.IntroductionIntroductionXiangtu wenxue emerged in China in the wake of the May Fourth Movement. In its earlyphase, this subgenre1 represents an infusion of many of the social, economic and populistconcerns of May Fourth. Primary among these are the concern for the common person,particularly the peasant, the notion of social and economic rights, the survival of the Chinesenation in the face of imperialism and warlordism and the breakdown of the old cultural order andthe emergence of the new. These concerns reflect China’s search for modernity which continuesto be the primary concern of twentieth century China. As for xiangtu wenxue, the search formodernity is a fundamental law which governs the first appearance of this literature and itssubsequent fictional development.Like all generic designations, the term “xiangtu wenxue,” which I use as a descriptive ratherthan an evaluative term, is both elusive and problematic. The most fundamental problem, whichis compounded by various other issues, is the selection of writers to be included in this subgenre.In order to carry out this selection, some very basic generic considerations must be established,the least of which are criteria differentiating xiangtu wenxue from non-nativist Chinese fiction.But even this most basic differentiation is not entirely free from exceptions: the dividing linebetween Chinese nativist and non-nativist fiction is often blurred by grey areas. One fundamentalpoint of division, for example, is the classification of xiangtu wenxue as a subgenre of fictionalworks about the country or rural life in contrast to literature about urban life. An exception tothis, however, is certain Taiwanese works of xiangtu wenxue which centre around charactersfrom the lower social orders who live a ghettoized existence on the margins of Taiwan’s urban1 I have classified xiangtu wenxue as a “sub-genre” primarily because it is more limited in scope, bothtemporally and thematically, than the genre, for instance, the Chinese vernacular novel (zhanghui xiaoshuo). At the same time, this fiction exhibits a set of literary norms, or “conventions and codes,”characteristic of a “literary form” and which are also used to characterize the genre. (M. H. Abrams,“Genre,” A Glossary ofLiterary Terms, 5th ed. (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1988): 73,72.)Introduction 2life. Other exceptions are pieces of Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue about urban office workers orother characters of varied educational backgrounds who encounter problems adapting tomodernity or who sometimes completely fail to make the transition to a fully urbanized life.Notwithstanding the urban setting of these works, their themes are interwoven with conceptionsabout the countryside, and they evoke the continuum of Chinese agrarian values. Thus it followsthat rather than state categorically that xiangtu wenxue is about the country or is set in thecountry, I contend that xiangtu wenxue and its thematics are interwoven with allegoricalconceptions about the country which can be either positive or negative and that they evokeagrarian values or an agrarian woridview.For the reader who is unfamiliar with the broad spectrum of modern Chinese literature, thisinitial attempt at classification can be clarified by contrasting xiangtu wenxue with certain modemChinese writers who, categorically, can be excluded from all nativist considerations. Many ofthese writers are considered to be important members of the canon of modem Chinese fiction, aconsideration which raises questions about the relation of xiangtu wenxue and xiangtu writers tothe Chinese canon. Furthermore, it raises questions about Chinese canon-formation in general.Qian Zhongshu (1910-- ), for instance, is a major twentieth-century Chinese writer who can beconsidered non-nativist for a number of reasons. The first of these stems from his considerableeducational attainments-- a feature not generally found in the backgrounds of xiangtu writers--and, more specifically, from his alignment with the rigorous tradition of Chinese scholarship.Besides being a writer of urban satire about contemporary social manners, Qian is a recognizedscholar of both Chinese and Western literature and has a record of considerable scholasticachievement. A comparable background or record cannot be found among the xiangtu writerswho, in general, hail from less elite families and are less traditional in their orientation. QianZhongshu’s traditional type of orientation and the subject matter of his satires clearly make hisfiction non-nativist.introduction 3A second criterion separating non-nativist Chinese writers from the xiangtu writers is theclassification of certain of the former as “solipsists.” Besides Qian Zhongshu, Ling Shuhua(1904-- ) and Eileen Zhang (Zhang Ailing, 1921-- ), both of whom are women writers fromprominent, official families, are writers of urban-centred fiction with an autiobiographical strain.The subjective elements of their fiction contrast strongly with the majority of works of xiangtuwenxue which tend to be socially-oriented. Ling Shuhua’s fiction evinces a certain psychologicalinsight into the lives of urban women, old-fashioned girls and children who comprise thecharacters of her stories. Eileen Zhang’s stories, on the other hand, are more generally concernedwith “bourgeois life in Shanghai and Hong Kong” and the manners and mores of the “decadentupper class.”2 Zhang makes extensive use of psychological realism, which C. T. Hsia maintainsis rooted in her personal emotion and her contemplation of her unhappy childhood.3 Theeducational as well as family background of Qian Zhongshu, Ling Shuhua and Zhang Ailing, notto mention the subject matter of their works, contrast strongly with the xiangtu writers, theirbackgrounds of relatively less elitism and traditionalism and elements of greater realism anddidacticism of xiangtu wenxue.As stated above, the primary criterion I have devised for establishing a subgenre ofxiangtuwenxue is whether these works of fiction express certain allegorical conceptions about thecountry and evoke agrarian values or an agrarian woridview. A second criterion of selection isbased on the extent to which xiangtu writers and their works represent the various regional andtemporal expressions of the subgenre.4 There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of writers who canbe considered as xiangtu zuojia. My omission of many of these writers does not reflect on the2 C. T. Hsia, A History ofModern Chinese Fiction (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1971):390, 407.Ibid. 407.4 I have referred to Yan Jiayan’s schematization of xiangtu wenxue in the Big Chinese Encyclopedia(Zhongguo da baike quanshu [Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe, 1986]: 1077) as ageneral guideline in my selection of writers. To a lesser extent, I have also referred to Chinese secondarysources and references in them to Chinese writers as xiangtu zuojia.Introduction 4quality of their works but, instead, on the limited time and space of this study. These twodifferent sets of criteria are cumbersome, and the selection process I developed from them iscomplicated by a number of other problems. Three of these are concerned with the followingissues: the differences in narrative structures in the corpus of any one individual writer whichsometimes evinces varying degrees of nativism; the difficulties in what Susan Rubin Suleimanrefers to as disengaging the “formal resemblances”5 among works; and, finally, the problematicchore of critically evaluating writers and their works according to aesthetic and artistic standards.In the first instance, a case in point is Shen Congwen’s (1902-1989) romances which arequite different from his first, early fictional works about his childhood which are more commonlyrecognized as xiangtu wenxue. Though this is the case, I briefly discuss Shen’s romances for thepurpose of comparison and in order to distinguish the nativist from the non-nativist features ofhis fiction. The longer fictional work of the Manchurian writer Xiao Jun (1907- ), on theother hand, is less nativist than his shorter stories. Nonetheless, I have discussed this longerwork briefly, primarily for the simple reason that it is better-known. These differences in anywriter’s works lead me to a further problem which is whether a writer can be considered axiangtu writer on the basis of a few nativist pieces in his/her corpus? This problem also existswith respect to China’s writers of the mid-1980s who, strictly speaking, cannot be consideredxiangtu writers. This fact, nonetheless, cannot be used to rule out certain of their fictional workswhich express conceptions about the country and evoke an agrarian woridview. For this reason,I have included various works of these writers for discussion in the final chapter of this thesis,while I clearly maintain that I do not consider them xiangtu writers per Se. In sum, some writersI have selected for discussion in this thesis can, without a doubt, be considered xiangtu zuojia.As for other writers who are the authors of nativist works, some prefer to be called writers ofSusan Rubin Suleiman, Authoritarian Fictions: The Ideological Novel As a Literary Genre (New York:Columbia University Press, 1983): 5.Introduction 5realism than xiangtu zuojia, while others can more properly be classified as members of otherfictional schools.The second problem mentioned above concerns disengaging the “formal resemblances”among works. Suleiman explains that these “formal resemblances” (the narrative or thematicstructures) does not imply the “identity of their specific content,” whether this content is political,ideological or episodic.6 Like my study, Suleiman’s is the first of its kind, and the problems weboth encountered in establishing a fictional genre stem, in at least one instance, from the diversityof content found in the body of works as a whole. The Chinese xiangtu wenxue of the 1920s--the focus of Chapter One of my thesis-- is thematically concerned with the cultural, historic andsocial factors giving rise to China’s chaotic rural conditions in that decade. This content is verydifferent from that of Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue which focuses almost exclusively on questionsof modernization.7Taiwanese fiction is very different again from China’s post Yanan xiangtuwenxue which is purely Communist in content. The diversity of content in these works is vast;nonetheless, these various regional and temporal expressions of Chinese and Taiwanese xiangtuwenxue do share certain formal resemblances which lead me to formulate a definition of thesubgenre which takes them all into consideration. In brief, these resemblances are three: First,xiangtu wenxue usually evokes the (urban or urbanized) narrator’s rural, childhood home. Insome cases, this rural home is an idealized, imaginary home located some time in the narrator’sancestral post. Second, xiangtu wenxue is structured around the country which exercizes an6 Ibid. 6.‘ In general, modernization is the process by which societies are transformed under the impact of scientificand technological revolutions. This process entails the transformation of a country into an urbanized,industrialized society oriented to the application of science and technology. (“Introduction,”TheModernization of China, Gilbert Rozman, ed. [New York: The Free Press, 1981]: 3, 1.) My use of thisterm applies to the social change associated with modernization, such as the undermining of existing socialpatterns, the increased international dependence and the growth of manufacture. In Taiwan, modernization isequated with “industrialization” which is used in a broad sense, not just in its connotative distinction fromagrarian processes. The concept of modernization in Taiwan is also used interchangeably with“Westernization” which refers specifically to the patterns of modernization which were engendered byTaiwan’s association with Japan and the U.S.introduction 6allegoricalfunction in this fiction. There are, in the main, four meanings evoked by thisallegory: the country is the locus ofsociocultural andpoliticalforces which cripple the nationalconsciousness; it is the refugefrom the forces ofmodernization; it is the locus oftransformationof the Maoist canon; and it is the locusfor the examination of the inefficiency and corruption ofthe Chinese Communist Party. Third, the characters in xiangtu wenxue are disempowered ormarginalized, that is, they are either peasants, women or other characters from the lower socialorders. This definition allows for the various expressions of xiangtu wenxue which, as statedabove, are separate and distinct from their specific content.The third problem stated above is an aesthetic one and concerns the stylistic evaluation ofindividual works and writers according to artistic standards. This evaluation, willy nilly, hasprobably influenced my selection of writers. Nonetheless, in this thesis I have determined not tocarry out this type of analysis, or to make an extensive stylistic evaluation focusing on the“literariness” of works or to clarify my aesthetic standards, and this is due primarily to timeconstraints. Suffice it to say that I fmd the post-Yan’an Chinese Communist xiangtu wenxueformulaic and less personally appealing than Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue or Chinese fiction of themid- 1980s.Two final points must also be made here regarding my establishment of the xiangtu wenxuesubgenre. The first concerns my use of the designation xiangtu wenxue as a descriptive ratherthan an evaluative term as I mentioned above and, the second, my reference to xiangtu wenxue asa “subgenre.” The term “xiangtu wenxue” means different things to different people, and, insome contexts, this term has negative connotations. One such connotation arises from thepopular (mis)perception of xiangtu wenxue as stylistically inferior, especially when compared tobetter-known works, that is, those generally classified as “canonical,” and that it is “peasant”literature written by local amateurs whose educational achievements are low. As rural-basedfiction, it is often deemed of less value and, ironically, as less universal than meanstreamliterature which focuses on urban life. Even the term “xiangtu” itself has connotations ofintroductionearthiness and rusticity which imply that such a literature exists on the very margins of art. Mythesis attempts, to a certain extent, to rectify these misconceptions. In Taiwan, on the other hand,certain writers such as Hwang Chun-ming (Huang Chunming). AJ (1939-- )8 and ChenYingzhen (1937- ) dislike being referred to as “xiangtu zuojia” for these and otherreasons. Hwang and a third Taiwanese writer, Wang Tuo I(l944-- ), prefer, instead, to beregarded as writers of realism. The preferences of these writers stem, in part, from the negativeconnotations of “xiangtu wenxue” and, in part, from the popular confusion ofxiangtu wenxuewith “village literature” (xiangcun wenxue Jlt5Jj1 ), a misconception which I discuss furtherin Chapter Five. During Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue movement (xiangtu wenxue yundong ±(1977-78), the difficulties of establishing a normative definition for Taiwanesexiangtu wenxue were aggravated by the charge on the part of certain detractors that this fiction isCommunist. The arguments and counterarguments which raged during this movement are alsooutlined in Chapter Five.Finally, the question of where xiangtu wenxue is located in the mainstream of modernChinese literature, the breadth and scope of this fiction, and the issues involving the Chinesecanon are all factors interwoven with my decision to refer to xiangtu wenxue as a “subgenre.”As stated earlier, the primary concerns of the first forms of Chinese xiangtu wenxue in the decadeof the 1920s are: the concern for the common person, particularly the peasant, the notion ofsocial and economic rights, the survival of the Chinese nation in the face of imperialism andwarlordism and the breakdown of the old cultural order and the emergence of the new. Theseconcerns are the very stuff of what C.T. Hsia aptly refers to as the “obsession with China” on thepart of many modern Chinese writers who make up the mainstream of modern Chinese literature.These concerns are not only limited to the xiangtu wenxue of the 1920s; they also reappear in thecontext of my discussions about Lu Xun, Xiao Jun. Xiao Hong (1911-1942), Han8 I have retained this romanization of Hwang’s name out of respect for the writers’s preference.Introduction 8Shaogong 4 .J(1952--) and Mo Yan T (1956--). Accordingly, xiangtu wenxue thussubstantially overlaps with mainstream modern Chinese writing and, in some cases, can even beconsidered as mainstream writing. This fact alone would seem to call for its classification as agenre. Nonetheless, the fact remains that there is a strong need to separate xiangtu wenxue fromChinese urban-based literature, much of which is regarded as canonical, and this is the majorfactor in my decision to classify xiangtu wenxue as a subgenre (the genre being fiction). Thisdecision is thus also normative rather than evaluative. The question of the canon, whichcomprises primarily urban-based fiction, also arises when we consider that many of the xiangtuwriters, with the clear exception of Shen Congwen, Xiao Jun and Xiao Hong, stand outside thecanon. The term “subgenre” which must accommodate vast numbers of works and writers ofxiangtu wenxue has thus little to do with volume and more to do with canonical versus non-canonical issues. These issues concerning the canon, not to mention the rural-based subjectmatter of xiangtu wenxue and the marginalized characters in this fiction, are issues we canconsider when we attempt to differentiate xiangtu wenxue from the large category of Chineseurban-based, non-nativist fiction.From the concerns of the 1920s, xiangtu wenxue developed in different ways andembraced a variety of fictional themes. These themes include Japanese aggression, regionalism,the inception of the Chinese Communist Party and the construction of socialism and, finally, theissue of Chinese traditional culture. The xiangtu wenxue of Taiwan, on the other hand, focusesalmost exclusively on the themes of colonialism and modernization. Unlike its counterpart inChina, Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue emerged from the tensions engendered by Taiwan’s insecurestatus in the forum of international politics. The scope of these issues, questions and themes inChinese and Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue is very broad and diverse; nonetheless, it is the reasonthat xiangtu wenxue can be considered a type of “national literature” (minzu wenxueIntroiuctionXiangtu wenxue is a mirror of the problems, issues and conflicts which have accompanied thehistoiy of these two areas from the nineteenth through the twentieth centuries.As mentioned above, xiangtu wenxue first emerged in China hard on the heels of the MayFourth Movement. The stylistic and thematic configuration of xiangtu wenxue was influenced byvarious movements of both the New Culture and May Fourth Movements, such as the vernacular(baihua movement and the movement advocating realism in literature. Compared to theEuropeanized May Fourth literature, the language of the 1920s decade of xiangtu wenxue is morepopulist, and thus it is closer to the language of the masses of the Chinese people. Xiangtuwenxue is thus also closer to the ideal of Qu Qiubai, the one-time Communist Party General-Secretary and head of the League of Left Wing Writers. Qu called for a true proletarian literature,one written in the common language (puronghua which, he theorized, would fosterclass struggle.9 Unlike Qu Qiubai, however, none of the xiangtu writers in the 1920s advocatedclass struggle; instead, they brought a variety of popular concepts to their writing which includednot only socialism but also democracy, humanism, anti-traditionalism and anti-imperialism.The populist Rural Reconstruction movement10 and the folksong collecting movementwere particularly significant to the emergence of xiangtu wenxue. At the time of theReconstruction programs, China was experiencing severe economic chaos and social disorderwhich were incurred by the collapse of the old order, warlordism and imperialist aggression. Therural areas were especially hard hit, and, of all the Chinese population, the peasants in particularwere encumbered with an impoverished economy and the ravages of warlords and bandits. In9 Paul G. Pickowicz, Literary Thought in China: The Influence of Ch’u Ch’iu-pai (Berkeley:University of California Press, 1981): 157-158.Among the various types of xiangtu wenxue, the type which comes closest to Qu’s ideal of “proletarianliterature” is that written by Zhao Shuli. Zhao is discussed in Chapter Four of this dissertation.10 Chinese rural reconstruction was part of a global movement against modernization and Europeanutilitarianism which was generated out of fear of spiritual and cultural deracination. See Chang-tai Hung,Going to the People: Chinese Intellectuals and Folk Literature, 1919-1937 (Cambridge, Mass.: HarvardUniversity Press, 1985) for a comprehensive account of this movement.Introduction 10light of this situation, many May Fourth intellectuals felt that China was in need of a national andcultural revival, and they began to turn to the rural areas as the locus for this revival and for theanswers to China’s many problems. The major figures in the Reconstruction movement, LiangShuming (Liang Sou-ming) and James Y. C. Yan,11 thus predated the Chinese Communists intheir formulation of concrete social and economic measures designed to salvage the ruraleconomy and to transform the dispersed “village society” of China into one unified whole.The reconstructionists were originally inspired in their programs by Li Dazhao, a cofounder of the Chinese Communist Party. Li was inspired by the populist Narodnik movementof Russia which took place in the 1870s. He believed that intellectuals should “be of one breath”with the labouring classes and in 1919 exhorted China’s educated youth to “go to the villages!” IJ9.in order to learn from the peasants.’2 Other movements engendered in China by LiDazhao’s summons were the Mass Education Lecturing corps whose purpose was to “advanceknowledge of the common people and awaken consciousness of the common people,”3 the folkliterature movement (minzu orpingmin wenxue yundong and thefollcsong collecting movement. The aim of the folk literature and folksong collecting movementswas to unearth and preserve China’s traditional culture. Some of the foildorists, such as GuJiegang, romanticised the peasant and peasant life while others, like Zhou Zuoren, criticized the1 As a traditionalist, Liang Shuming is described as a “conservative nationalist who tried to resistWesternization by restoring China’s ancient cultural values (fugu)” and defending the “national essence”(guocui) against the May Fourth iconoclasts. (Guy S. Alitto, The Last Confucian: Liang Shu-ming and theChinese Dilemma ofModernity [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979]: ix, xi.) Mao Zedong andChiang Kai-shek also formulated various programs for rural reconstruction.James Y. C. Yan (Yen Yang-ch’u) was a Yale graduate and a YMCA cadre. His reformist activities inChina began with mass education, and in 1923 he founded The National Association of Mass EducationMovements (MEM). In 1926, the MEM started a rural pilot project at Ding Xian, Hebei. This wasfollowed by a Rural Reconstruction Movement which took part in a nation-wide change of consciousness totransform the way the village was perceived in the 1930s. (Charles W. Hayford, Introduction, To thePeople: James Yen and Village China [New York: Columbia University Press, 1990): x.12 See Chang-tai Hung 10-12.13 Hung 17, 29.Introduction 11backwardness of rural life and charged the peasants with embracing a superstitious and fatalisticoutlook. To all of them, however, folksongs were the crystallization of the national spirit andrepresented the natural reaction of the people to the stifling code of Confucianism. All thepopulist movements, including the Rural Reconstruction movement, Chiang Kai-shek’s NewLife Movement and Mao Zedong’s peasant movement were attempts to use a rural model to haltChina’s slide into disintegration. The inception of rural fiction in China was yet one moreexpression of the popular concern for China’s rural life.In the 1920s, the first works of xiangtu wenxue were certain stories by Lu Xun, forinstance, “My Old Home” (Guxiang 1921), “New Year’s Sacrifice” (Zhufu jJ j]i,, 1924)and “Village Opera” (She xi, TIf 1922). Lu Xun was drawn to the rural areas for reasonswhich had less to do with Reconstruction or the rise of Chinese Communism and more to do withhis conception of Chinese tradition which he conceived within the rural context. Lu Xun raisedetiological questions about Chinese traditional culture which were based on the concept ofChina’s “spiritual disease” (sixiangshang de bing One expression of this conceptoccurs in Lu Xun’s rural fiction where he ascribes certain “feudal”14 attributes to the peasantwhich are the source of the peasants’ ongoing oppression.Lu Xun was followed by the first generation of writers of xiangtu wenxue for whom heacted as a patron. These writers wrote rural fiction about the small towns and villages of thesouthern and interior parts of China. They were influenced by Lu Xun’s rural stories and by hisanti-traditionalism which they brought to bear in their examination of the traditional customs andrites and the oppressive family system in the villages. Others in this first generation spurned LuXun’s antitraditional approach in favour of a more scientific set of criteria which they garnered14 I have enclosed the word “feudalism” within quotations marks throughout the length of this dissertation tosignify the usage conferred upon this term by post-1949 China and to distinguish it from the system inEurope between the ninth and fifteenth centuries based on the relations between the lord and his vassal. Inthe Chinese context,”feudal” denotes a superstitious, backward and often oppressive mentality. InCommunist fiction, a “feudal” peasant is one who refuses to go along with the wishes of the ChineseCommunist Party.Introduction 12from the positivism of May Fourth. These writers used a criteria of analysis based on classconflict, the unequal distribution of wealth and the need for social reforms to explain thedisintegration of China’s countryside and the loss of the peasants’ livelihood. With the rise ofChinese Communism in the 1930s, xiangtu wenxue became permeated by leftist concepts suchas class struggle. The epistemology of the 1920s decade of writers of xiangtu wenxue neveragain reappeared in subsequent generations of xiangtu wenxue. One question I ask in the firstchapter of this thesis is where xiangtu wenxue as a sub-genre fits in the spectrum of popular andserious literature in China in the decade of the 1920s prior to the programmatic literature of the1930s?In the 1930s, according to Leo Ou-fan Lee, Chinese rural fiction became the dominant trendof modem Chinese literature 15 though as we have seen this trend actually began a decade earlier.The rural writers of this decade-- Mao Dun, Lao She, Ye Zi, Ye Shaojun, Ai Wu and Sha Ding,et al. -- signalled a clear and permanent shift away from the previous mode of urban-basedautobiographical fiction to the rural panoramas of China’s regional writers.16 Lee maintains thatthere were three factors which contributed to the emergence of this trend: the first was the onsetof the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945) which prompted an exodus away from the coastal areas tothe Chinese hinterland; the second was the increasing momentum of the Chinese Communistrevolution which by this time had moved its base to the rural areas; and the third was the patternsof urbanization in China which served to augment traditional Chinese ambivalence toward thecity.’7 Traditionally, China was characterized by an “urban-rural continuum,”18 but at the end15 Leo Ou-fan Lee, “Modern Chinese Fiction: An Interpretive Overview,” unpubi. ms. (University ofChicago): 1. The slightly revised form of this article was published in Critical Issues in East AsianLiterature: Report on an International Conference on East Asian Literature (13-20 June, 1983) (Seoul:International Cultural Society of Korea, 1983): 249-273.16 LeoLeel4, 15,21.I have not included these writers for discussion in my dissertation, primarily due to considerations of time.17 Ibid.introduction 13of the nineteenth century, treaty ports came into being on the coast which engendered an urban-rural split. Many intellectuals feared this trend because they associated the foreign domination ofthe treaty ports with increasing Westernization. “Shanghaization” (Shanghaihua as itwas called, augured the spread of Westernization in China which intellectuals and leaders such asLiang Shuming, Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek hoped to counter by their strategies for ruralreconstruction. Like others during this decade, China’s rural writers of the 1930s found a safehaven from the Western invasion by retreating to the Chinese hinterland. There they attempted torecapture the local colour, flavour and the traditions of a specific locale which was often one andthe same as the writer’s native home. These writers shifted their attention to China’s rural areaspartly from the fear of cultural deracination associated with Westernization and partly as a protestagainst a regime which was doing little to ameliorate China’s rural crisis. Writers such as MaoDun and Ai Wu wrote specifically about the rural crisis and the regime that was doing nothingabout it.The rural regionalism of Shen Congwen was also engendered by Westernization and by hisfear of modernization. Shen embodied the Hunanese unease with littoral, urban China which heassociated with Westernization and with the attempts to colonize Hunan. Shen Congwen differsfrom other writers ofxiangtu wenxue in that he romanticized the peasant, the Miao and thecountryside. This mode of representation stems from the particular welisprings of ShenCongwen’s creative inspiration whereby he attempted to subvert the stifling code of HanConfucianism. The most nativist aspects of Shen Congwen’s fiction lie in his depiction ofregional decay and the passing of old traditions which are undermined by commercialism andother aspects of modernization. The regional writers of the Northeast (Dongbei), on the otherhand, felt compelled to write about their homeland for a different reason. Xiao Jun, Xiao Hongand Duanmu Hongliang (1912- ) were inspired by the loss of their homeland to the18 0. William Skinner, Introduction: “Urban and Rural in Chinese Society,” City in Late Imperial China, ed.G. William Skinner (Stanford University Press, 1977): 258.Introduction 14Japanese to write nativist stories and novels describing the sufferings of the people of theNortheast under the Japanese, the potential of the peasants to create change and the myths, loreand customs of their region. In some of these works, the interests of nationalism are subsumedby other interests, for instance, the sectionalism of Shen Congwen or the gender interests of XiaoHong. The privileging of the nation mode which dominates modem Chinese literature is oftenabsent from the works of the regional writers. One is led to question to what degree theseinterests influenced China’s search for modernity?As mentioned above, the rise of the Chinese Communist Party (1921) and the establishmentof the Communist regime in 1949 were major factors in the development of xiangtu wenxue inthe 1930s and later. After Mao Zedong met with defeat in the cities in the wake of the failedAutumn Harvest Uprising, he established his base in the rural areas of Kiangsi and Hunan. Theincreasing momentum of the Chinese Communist revolution in the 1930s influenced China’swriters in their use of the tools of socialism to analyze the countryside. Mao Dun, for instance,was among the first to analyze China’s rural collapse in terms of class oppression, imperialistaggression and the need for peasant solidarity.The single, greatest factor which had both thematic and formal implications for xiangtuwenxue, however, was Mao Zedong’s 1942 Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art..The Talks compelled writers to comply with the various formal and topical strictures of thesocialist realism canon;19 they also spawned a generation of proletarian literature which praisedthe revolution and the Party. Under the Maoist canon, the countiyside is the locus of the forcesof revolutionary transformation, and, accordingly, the peasant subject in the xiangtu wenxue ofthe 1940s and 1950s is conflated with the means of nation-building, specifically, socialism.Zhao Shuli (1906-70) disputes this conceptual identification of the subject-with-nation;19 Socialist realism is the aesthetic canon adopted by the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s. Accordingto this doctrine, literature “could not merely reproduce life, it must depict life as it should be or as the partysays it should be. Events and characters of literature should be idealized portrayals in order to educate andindoctrinate the public in the party line at a given moment.” (Merle Goldman, Literary Dissent inCommunist China (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967): 8.Introduction 15nonetheless, his fictionalized peasants rarely escape this identification and are ultimatelyconstrained into compliance. Both Zhao Shuli and Zhou Libo .fr]19O8-l979) depictpeasants who fall into the two opposing Maoist categories of “progressive” and “feudal.” Thelatter often oppose the egregious agrarian policies of the Chinese Communist Party and wish tomaintain their own economic interests. Because of this type of peasant representation, ZhaoShuli was branded a Rightist and considered disloyal to socialism. He was subsequently killedduring the Cultural Revolution. Though China’s writers of xiangtu wenxue of the 1940s and1950s outwardly subscribed to the Maoist formula laid out in the Talks, they also found subtleways to express their dissent.In Taiwan, as mentioned above, xiangtu wenxue came into being on the basis of Taiwan’sprecarious status in the arena of international politics. Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue of the 1920sgrew out of Taiwan’s status as a colony of Japan, and the first pieces of xiangtu wenxue duringthis period depict the oppressive nature of Taiwan’s colonial relations. In the 1960s and 1970s,Taiwan experienced rampant modernization which resulted in the further erosion of Taiwan’straditional lifestyle. Japan and the United States-- the “Other” in the xiangtu wenxue of thesedecades-- are censored for their economic and cultural infiltration of the island’s traditionallifestyle and for its increasing deracination. The countryside in Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue is arefuge from the forces of modernization; moreover, it is also the source of a pre-Westernized,transcendent China which Taiwan’s writers of xiangtu wenxue conceive as the storehousenurturing the ancient traditions. The reader of Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue of the 1960s and 1970sis led to question whether China will experience similar problems with modernity when thatcountry becomes fully modernized?A final theme which is found in both Chinese and Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue is the valueof Chinese traditional culture in China’s search for modernity. The question of how to be bothmodern and Chinese first arose in China during the nineteenth century when China encounteredthe superior military power and the positivism of the West. Chinese intellectuals first examinedintroduction 16Chinese culture from the perspective of its universal validity and questioned whether theConfucian classics could continue to act as the repository of morals and aesthetics for a rapidlychanging China.20 In the twentieth century, Lu Xun and other intellectuals attributed China’songoing spiritual crisis to Chinese traditional culture, and this conception in Lu Xun’s works isthe source for his unique antitraditionalism. With the passing of Maoism in China, Chinesewriters again began to examine the question of culture and tended to either accept or rejectChinese traditional values as a part of the modem Chinese psyche. In at least one of the works ofMo Yan, Chinese traditional culture represents a vital source of spirituality for the peasants whichthree decades of Maoism was unable to destroy.One fmal point that must be mentioned is that within the dramatic setting of Chinese andTaiwanese xiangtu wenxue the peasant is the single most important actor.21 In general, thepeasants are represented in an ironic mode which implies bondage or the inability to change one’ssocial, economic or political circumstances.22 The only exception to this is Shen Congwen’sfiction in which the peasant is usually idealized. In both fiction and real life China’s peasantsconfront immutable obstacles which govern and control their lives. These obstacles stem fromthe tradition which weighs them down, the social and economic aspects of their lives which arehistorically determined and which circumscribe their lives, the colonial presence or that of theChinese Communist Party which oppresses them, the patriarchy which tramples on Chinesepeasant women and the economic aggression which is the cornerstone of Taiwan’s xiangtuwenxue and which leads to the commodification of the “little people” (xiao renwu iJJ\). Allthese forces compell the peasants to expend their energies in the relentless, grinding battle for20 See Joseph R. Levenson, Confucian China and its Modern Fate: The Problem ofIntellectual Continuity(London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1958) for an examination of the changing position of the classics inChina’s nineteenth century intellectual life.21 Some exceptions are works from Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue movement about office workers.22 In Northrop Frye’s scale of the power of the hero to act the ironic character exhibits a power of actioninferior to the one assumed to be normal. (Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays [PrincetonUniversity Press, 1957]: 366.Introduction 17mere survival, leaving little space for the enjoyment of the aesthetic or spiritual aspects of life. Ifthis is the reality of the lives of the peasants in China, it is not surprising that they have becomesuch important players in twentieth-century China. It is not surprising, for instance, that thepeasant was used as the primary tool with which to carry out one of the most momentousrevolutions of the twentieth century. At the same time, however, the peasant still remains amarginalized subject, both in fiction and in real life. In the language of critical parlance, thepeasant is a disempowered or a “colonized subject,” that is, one who cannot escape theconstraints of some type of bondage to a higher power. These constraints stem from the Chinesetradition which psychologically cripples the peasant; industrialization which forces the peasantinto a state of commodification; and the Chinese Communist Party which has the peasant at itsmercy with its draconian policies in the countryside. As a woman writer, I empathize with thepeasant struggling with these various types of bondage and hope for the day when the rights ofChina’s peasants are recognized and their struggles are vindicated.Nativism Chap. One18Chapter OneChinese Xiangtu wenxue of the 1920s:The Sojourner-NarratorHow far did they fly? Five and a half thousand as the crow. Or: fromIndianness to Englishness, an immeasurable distance. Or, not very far atall, because they rose from one great city, fell to another. The distancebetween cities is always small; a villager, travelling a hundred miles totown, traverses emptier, darker, more terrifying space.--Salmon Rushdie, The Satanic VersesBudapest is my homeland/Toronto is my homeIn Toronto I am nostalgic for Budapest! In Budapest I am nostalgic forTorontoEverywhere else I am nostalgic for my nostalgia--Canadian writer Robert Zend (1929- 1985)1Chinese xiangtu wenxue came into being in the decade of the 1920s as a set offictional narratives about the farming villages in the interior and coastal areas of China.This was an unusual subject matter for this period and can account for the fact that thisdecade of xiangtu wenxue is virtually unknown. The characters in this fiction-- peasants,labourers and small producers eking out a marginalized existence in the poorer, rural areasof China-- are also anomalous and set xiangtu wenxue apart from the majority of MayFourth literature which focuses on rural subjects to a far lesser degree. At the same time,these characters also bring xiangtu wenxue closer to the May Fourth ideal of “massliterature” (minzhong wenxue though one must look hard to find anysemblance of the tendentiousness associated with this term. Compared to Chinese fiction1 Salmon Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (London: Viking, 1988): 41. Italics mine.Robert Zend, “In Transit,” Beyond Labels (Toronto: Hounslow Press, 1982): 136.Robert Zend, “In Transit,” in Beyond Labels, quoted in Books in CanadaNativism Chap. One19of the decade of the 1930s, xiangtu wenxue is less bound by a political ideology or creedand, as a consequence, it is a more realistic representation of life in China’s poor, ruralareas. The subjects of peasants and rural life, which were elevated to national proportionsin the 1930s’ decade of the Communist revolution, only served to consign xiangtu wenxueto relative obscurity in this pre-revolutionary period.The majority of the writers of xiangtu wenxue hailed from humble backgrounds and ledlives close to China’s rank and file. The May Fourth writers, in contrast, were from elite orgentry families and received a traditional Confucian training which constituted a barrierseparating them from China’s peasant masses.2 Many of the May Fourth writers wereconcerned with the welfare of China’s rural poor: they sympathised with China’s labouringclasses and attempted to expose the suffering visited upon China’s masses by imperialism.Nonetheless, the social chasm confronting them denied them direct or intuitive understandingof the peasants. Accordingly, some were compelled to turn to family servants or localshopkeepers who served them for models for their fiction.3 This situation stands in sharpcontrast to the writers of xiangtu wenxue who led their lives in a plebian social and culturalmilieux and whose educational achievements were low.4 This miieux, compared to that ofthe May Fourth writers, gave them access to the realities of Chinese peasant life which theytranscribed easily and realistically into their fiction.The subject matter of peasants and rural life in xiangtu wenxue also made this fictiondifferent from the “Mandarin Duck and Butterfly School” which, by comparison with xiangtuwenxue, was frivolous and had a wider entertainment value. The “Butterfly School” arose2 Ezra F. Vogel, “The Unlikely Heroes: The Social Role of the May Fourth Writers,” in MerleGoldman ed., Modern Chinese Literature in the May Fourth Era (Cambridge, Mass.: HarvardUniversity Press, 1977): 145, 147.Vogel 148.Wang Luyan, for instance, who is one of the better known xiangtu zuojia of this period was the son of ashopkeeper and did not complete primary school. (Shen Siheng, Introduction, Luyan sanwen xuanji[Tianjin: Baihua wenyi chubanshe chuban, 19821: 2.)Nativism Chap. One20chiefly as a response to the reading demands of the Chinese urban population and enjoyedimmense popularity. One can assume from the popularity of this fiction that the urbanpopulation had correspondingly little interest in realistic narratives about the harsh life ofChina’s peasants.The question that can be raised here is where xiangtu wenxue as a genre, or, morespecifically, as a sub-genre, of Chinese literature fits in the spectrum of serious and popularliterary expression in China in the decade of the 1920s? It is clear that this fiction reflects awider base of interests than the Butterfly School and even the literature of May Fourth. Muchof May Fourth literature is a genuine attempt to represent China’s masses; nonetheless, itsEuropeanized language precludes this.5 Based on a comparison with these two types ofliterature, I maintain that xiangtu wenxue is closer, stylistically and thematically, to thepopular, storytelling tradition of pre-modern China. Its inclusion of dialect and its greaterdegree of mimetic representation of the life of China’s masses are factors which make thiscomparison possible. This assessment also adds greater weight to the theory that the twentiethcentury Chinese short story form is the inheritor of Ming and Qing vernacular fiction.6 At thesame time, however, the ruralist focus ofxiangtu wenxue, not to mention its predominatelytragic tone, ultimately consign this fiction to a class of its own.The question of the Europeanized language of May Fourth was a concern of Qu Qiubai, the former secretaryof the Chinese Communist Party and one of the first Chinese Marxist literary thinkers. Qu called thevernacular baihua the “new wenyan” and maintained that it was the language of the new upper-class, Western-educated urban intellectual. As such, Qu believed it was used in much the same way as the literary languagehad been used earlier by the gentry, to suppress the Chinese masses. (Merle Goldman, “Left-Wing Criticismof the Pai Hua Movement,” in Benjamin I. Schwartz, ed., Reflections on the May Fourth Movement: ASymposium, Harvard East Asian Monographs 44 [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973]: 86-87, 85.) The 1920s decade of xiangtu wenxue is still written primarily in baihua; however, the inclusion ofdialect in these stories brings them closer to the language of daily speech.See Edward Gunn, Rewriting Chinese: Style and Innovation in Twentieth-Century Chinese Prose (Stanford,Ca.: Stanford University Press, 1991): 36-69 passim for a discussion of the Europeanization of the Chinesebaihua.6 This is the view of Jaroslav Prusek. The contrasting view maintained by C.T. Hsia is that modern Chineseliterature came into being under the influence of the European short story form. (See Jaroslav Prusek, TheLyrical and the Epic: Studies ofModern Chinese Literature [Indiana, 1980] for an account of this debate.)Nativism Chap. One21The xiangtu zuojia are listed variously in available critical studies as Xu Yu’nuoPan Xun Peng Jiahuang Xu Jie Wang Renshu (penname Ba Ren)Jfr, Jian Xian’ai , Fei Wenzhong], Xu Qinwen!4 )andWangLuyan. These writers, or, more correctly, their short stories, can be divided into two groupswhich I have classified according to my thematic reading of this fiction.7 The first of thesegroups is made up of stories which focus on the issue of Chinese culture and which arenarrated from a cultural iconoclastic point-of-view. These are structured around the etiologicialview that there are dark forces such as ignorance and superstition which cripple the nationalconsciousness and are accountable for China’s cultural and fiscal backwardness. The idea thatChinese culture is primarily responsible for that country’s backward state reflects thephilosophical conceptions of the modem writer Lu Xun and Chinese thinkers from thegeneration of Liang Qichao and Kang Youwei who conceptualized Chinese culture as sufferingfrom a “spiritual disease.” The symptoms of this disease signified that the Chinese organism is“sick” but that it could be holistically cured through the treatment of these symptoms. Thesymbolic recreation of these symptoms occurs throughout much of Lu Xun’s fiction.The reappearance of this culture theme in this group ofxiangtu wenxue stories reflectsthe apotheosis of Lu Xun’s complex consciousness; however, in other areas of their fiction thewriters of xiangtu wenxue also departed from the Lu Xun model. For instance, throughouthis lifetime Lu Xun despaired of the possibility of a real cure of the Chinese disease, and thisbelief made him profoundly pessimistic. The writers of xiangtu wenxue did not share thissentiment, which is due to a number of factors. In the first place, these writers were notsubject to the deep rifts and contradictions which scarred Lu Xun’s psyche and, in the second“ I base my discussion of the 1920s decade of xiangtu zuojia on Lu Xun’s enumeration of these writersin his introduction to volume 4, Xiaoshuo erji, of the five-volume collection, Zhongguo xinwenxue da xi(hereafter abbreviated as Da xi) (Xianggang wenxue yanjiushe, 1935): 1-17 and on Mao Dun’sintroduction to volume 3, Xiaoshuo yiji: 1-32 of the same collection. I have also drawn on the two-volumepublication, Zhongguo xiangtu xiaoshuo xuan (hereafter abbreviated as XX), He Jiquan, Xiao Chengang, eds.(Guizhou renmin chubanshe, 1986) for its selection of xiangru zuojia.Nativism Chap. One22place, they were subject to the greater immediacy of the material demands of their environmentwhich prompted them to look for socioeconomic causes, beside the cultural factor, for China’srural decline. The writers of xiangtu wenxue inherited the cultural iconoclasm of their famouspredecessor but, at the same time, they also embraced a correspondingly greater degree ofpsychological and scientific detachment which they brought to bear in their treatment ofpatriarchal famiism, Chinese local customs, superstitions and practices. One can concludefrom this that these writers belonged to a generation which had a less prescribed, lesstraditionalistic view of Chinese life and culture and had imbibed more deeply of the scientismof May Fourth. In sum, the emergence of xiangtu wenxue in the 1920s symbolized a shiftaway from the culturalism of Lu Xun to a correspondingly greater degree of scientific andmimetic realism. As such, xiangtu wenxue can be considered a transitional period from LuXun to the programmatic fiction of the 1930s.The second group of xiangtu wenxue stories is concerned with the political andeconomic factors influencing life in China’s rural areas. Xiangtu wenxue belongs historicallyto the difficult and harsh period when China was torn apart by warlordism, internal strife andimperialist aggression. The revolution of 1911 had not brought unity to the Chinese nation; onthe contrary, different political groups contending for power occasioned only grief and miseryfor the Chinese people. The Guomindang (GMD) and Chinese Communist Party (CCP)collaborated in an uneasy alliance during the period from 1923 to 1927. However, this alliancedid little to alleviate the wartime conditions, and, ultimately, friction between the two partiesled to the purge of the Communists in a bloody attack by the Nationalists in April, 1927.These unsettled conditions were interwoven with the rising tide of Chinese nationalism whichwas engendered by the indifference of the foreign powers to the terms of the WashingtonConference (192122).8 The most violent eruption of nationalism was the May Thirtieth8 The major considerations at the Washington Conference were the Shandong question, China’sterritorial integrity and political independence.Nativism Chap. One23Incident of 1925 which originated in a workers’ strike in protest against low wages at aJapanese cotton weaving mill in Shanghai. The confrontation ended in a violent clash,resulting in one worker dead and seven others wounded.9 The May Thirtieth incident wasfollowed by clashes elsewhere in China and symbolized the ideological and political ferment ofthis period. At the very least, it also represented a decade of repression, misery and bloodshedall of which filtered down to the rural areas.Besides warlordism and imperialism, China also suffered from a deepening economicdecline in the 1920s. As the largest sector of the economy, the rural areas were particularlyhard hit. There are different scholarly explanations for this slump; however, the most popularone points to the factors of population and class structure which had particularly disastrouseffects in the rural areas.1° China’s expanding population led to rural overcrowding and to anincrease in landless peasants. This situation was exacerbated by corrupt and and ineptbureaucratic mismanagement and by China’s venal landlord class which led to the neglect ofthe rural economic infrastructure.11 Besides this, the special exemptions given to Westernenterprises in the treaty ports brought ruin to many handicraft producers in the inner areas ofChina and forced peasants to sell their land.12 In the fmal analysis, China’s worsening ruralcrisis in the decade of the 1920s was due to to a number of factors, including natural andhuman disasters, banditry, famine (1920-21), regional conflicts and heavy taxation,13 and ofthe entire Chinese population, the peasants in particular were suffering acute poverty and9 Immanuel C.Y. Hsü, The Rise ofModern China, 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983): 534.10 Philip C.C. Huang, The Peasant Economy and Social Change in North China (Stanford, Ca.: StanfordUniversity Press, 1985): 300.11 Ramon H. Myers, The Chinese Peasant Economy: Agricultural Development in Hopei and Shantung,1890-1949 (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U. Press, 1970): 23.12 Ibid24.13 James C. Thomson Jr., While China Faced West: American Reformers in Nationalist China, 1928-1937(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1969): 43.Nativism Chap. One24demoralization. In sum, these national, political and economic factors are reproducedthematically in this second group ofxiangtu wenxue stories.In an extensive article introducing new Chinese writers of this same period, Mao Dunexamines a number of writers of xiangtu wenxue such as Xu Yu’nuo, Pan Xun, WangRenshu, Peng Jiahuang and Xu Jie, and he observes that the xiangtu zuojia were among thefirst writers in China to point out the terrible conditions in the countryside. In this connection,he cites Pan Xun’s “Rural Heart” (Xiang xin jf, 1922) as the first story to bewail thedisintegration of the farming villages’4 which, in this case, is due to the economic factor. AGui, the young carpenter in the story, is motivated to leave his village and go to Hangzhou byhis desire to avoid his share of the burden of the family debt. In Hangzhou, however, hediscovers that life is not much easier, and he is compelled to join the ranks of China’s urbanpoor: A Gui fmds it difficult to obtain employment and ends up taking up residence in anarrow, cell-like room located in a tiny, narrow alley filled with several families of dishevelledwomen and filthy children. Like so much ofxiangtu wenxue, the tone of this story is ironicand is summed up in A Gui’s statement, “What is so great in leaving the countryside if I haveto live like this?”15 Stylistically, xiangtu wenxue comprises a series of minimalist, linearnarratives or sketches, characterized by mimetic realism, themes of bondage or oppression andan image or a simple set of images. The image of the “rural heart” in this story symbolizes thepeasant who has made the physical transition to an urban lifestyle but who, at the same time, isunable to disengage himself from the numerous emotional and psychological ties linking himwith the rural world.In his critical appraisal of these writers, Mao Dun does not refer directly to them asxiangtu zuojia; instead, he merely addresses them as “writers who describe life in the farming14 Mao Dun, Introduction, Da xi, 3: 27.Pan Xun’s “Rural Heart,” originally published in Yzsdian ii, is anthologized in Da xi, 3: 272-283.15 Pan Xun 282.Nativism Chap. One25villages.” He praises their realistic depiction of the variousproblems of the rural village, their direct style of language and their lack of the “defect ofconceptual abstraction.” j’7 A central thesis in his discussion is what heterms the writers’ portrayal of the peasants’ “struggle with fate,” a conceptwhich is repeated in a second article written eleven months later and which is more explicitlyconcerned with xiangtu wenxue.18 In this second article, Mao Dun refers toxiangtu wenxueas a literature about remote areas and peoples and one that describes the peculiar customs of alocale. He maintains, however, that the deeper meaning of xiangtu wenxue extends beyondthe motif of description which is merely a beautifying device for the “tragic background”of this literature, and it is this “tragedy” that prompted Mao Dun to demand that thisliterature portray what he called a “struggle against fate.” Mao Dun states:As for ‘xiangtu wenxue, ‘I thought that if it only described a peculiarcustom or practice it was like looking at a picture of an alien place. Eventhough it could amaze us, all it did was satisfy our curiosity. Therefore,aside from the [descriptions of] peculiar customs and practices, there mustalso be the universality of the struggle against fate which is common to usall. 19Mao Dun’s demand that xiangtu wenxue should depict a “struggle against fate” reflectshis own development as a writer of revolutionary literature or what Lu Xun refers to as“command-obeying literature” (zunming wenxue which became the literary trendin China in the 1930s. This development began with his early works, such as The WildRoses (1928-29), and ended with the completion of his famous novel, Midnight (1933). It is16 Mao Dun 26.17 Ibid.18 Mao Dun, “Guanyu xiangtu wenxue,” Mao Dun lun zhongguo xiandai zuojia zuopin (Beijing daxuechubanshe, 1980): 239-241. This article was first printed in Wenxue (Feb. 1936), 6:2.19 Ibid. 241.Nativism Chap. One26documented that originally in the act of creating, Mao Dun dramatized his subject matter,however, by the time he began to write Midnight, his desire to write fiction in support of theneeds of the revolution led him to select and portray actual happenings in support of theleaders’ interpretation of events, which he then incorporated into his writing.20 As a result,Midnight is an instance of a work of literature written with the needs of the revolution inmind. It is in this light that Mao Dun views the xiangtu wenxue of this decade, that is, asrevolutionary literature, a view which is not substantiated in xiangtu wenxue. There is little ofa revolutionary nature in xiangtu wenxue; indeed, the lot of China’s peasants as it is depictedin xiangtu wenxue was the least of the Communists’ concerns.Lu Xun also paid considerable attention to the 1920s’ generation of writers ofxiangtuwenxue. In actual fact, his relationship to them was one of patron, and he was eveninstrumental in establishing one or two as important literary figures.2’ Lu Xun’s discussionof these writers, in which he enumerates han Xian’ai, Fei Wenzhong, Xu Qinwen, WangLuyan, among others,22 is based on a different conceptual framework than Mao Dun’s. likeMao Dun, Lu Xun also praised these writers for the simplicity and strength of theirdescriptions which, he contends, evoke sorrow and anger.23 But unlike Mao Dun, Lu Xunexplicitly refers to them as xiangtu zuofla or xiangtu wenxue de zuojia 24 aterm which he employs to signify the fact that they were “sojourning” (qiaoyu in Beijingat the time of their writing. Lu Xun also refers to them as qiaoyu wenxue de zuozhe20 Chen Yu-shih, Realism and Allegory in the Early Fiction of Mao Tun (Bloomington: IndianaUniversity Press, 1986): 2.21 Lu Xun edited a collection of short stories by Xu Qinwen, the publication of which turned the authorovernight into a literary success. (Howard Goldblatt, “Lu Xun and Patterns of Literary Sponsorship,” in LeoOu-fan Lee, ed., Lu Xun and his Legacy [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985]: 209.)22 Lu Xun, Introduction, Da xi, 4: 8-10.23 Ibid. 8.24 Ibid. 10.Nativism Chap. One27jj’(sojourner-narrators) for this reason. Lu Xun’s discussion of these writers is thedefmitive one for this period ofxiangtu wenxue:Jian Xian’ai describes Guizhou, Fei Wenzhong is concerned withYuzhou. Whoever in Beijing writes what is in his heart, no matterwhether this writer describes himself as objective or subjective, inactuality, he is the author of xiangtu wenxue. Where Beijing isconcerned, this is the “sojourner-narrator.” However, this is not whatG. Brandes refers to as “exile literature,” because what is sojourning isonly the writer himself and not the works of this writer. For thisreason, we see only the fleeting appearance of nostalgia in the works ofthese writers; only rarely does the ambiance of the alien land ring forth aresponse from the reader or flash before the reader’s eyes. Xu Qinwengave the title of Guxiang to his first collection of short stories, andunknowingly, he thus ranked himself as a xiangtu zuojia. However,before he could begin to write xiangtu wenxue, he was banished fromhis rural home, his livelihood compelling him to go off to otherplaces... 25It is remarkable that while Lu Xun failed to notice one important aspect of thesewriters-- the fact that they were speaking out en masse about rural conditions-- he paidsuch a great deal of attention to the fact that they moved away from their rural homesbecause of economic privation. I maintain that the primary reason for this stems from thematerial circumstances of Lu Xun’s own background and his experiences living away fromChina in Japan,which had a profound effect on the course of his creativity. The similarityof the conditions in Lu Xun’s life and in the lives of these writers of xiangtu wenxue ledLu Xun to identity, or at least, to empathise with them. Lu Xun’s own family backgroundis well-known. His family suffered economic decline due to the imprisonment of his greatgrandfather, and this led to his decision to enroll in the Kiangnan (Jiangnan) NavalAcademy in Nanjing rather than to pursue an official career.26 The course of this decisionfinally took Lu Xun to Japan where he spent seven years as a “voluntary self-exile” and25 Ibid. 9.26 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the iron House: A Study ofLu Xun (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,1987): 9.Nathrism Chap. One28lone patriot.27 Lu Xun’s epiphany in Japan led him to reject medicine in favour of writingliterature. He relates that one day in his biology class he saw a slide show in which aChinese accused of working as a spy for the Russians was about to be decapitated by theJapanese military. The Chinese prisoner was surrounded by a crowd of apathetic Chinesespectators who had gathered to watch the event. Lu Xun’s reaction to this scene,particularly to the spirit of the spectators, was one of profound horror. He concluded thatrather than heal the physical body of the Chinese, it was more important to “transform theirspirit” and this, he felt, could only be accomplished through literature.28The xiangtu zuojia also underwent some fairly traumatic experiences while theywere sojourning in Beijing. This also affected the course of their creativity. In the firstplace, they were exposed to the events and currents of May Fourth which were thensweeping through the capital29 and which were the determining factor in the developmentof their humanist outlook. Besides the debates on science, democracy and socialism, therewas also Li Dazhao’s summons to “go to the villages” which, however, was fairlysuperfluous where these writers were concerned.3027 Ibid. 15, 19.28 Lu Xun relates his decision as follows:Before the academic year was over, I had already left for Tokyo; for, I felt henceforwardthat medicine was not such an important matter. An ignorant and weak people, howeverstrong and healthy they may be, can be no more than senseless raw material or audiencefor the executioner; and it is not necessarily deplorable that many of them should die ofillness. Thus, the first work of importance is to transform their spirit. Since I wascertain at the time that literature was the best means to this end, I decided to promote aliterary movement. (Lu Xun, Na han, zixu, Lu Xun quanji [Renmin wenxue chubanshe,19811, 1: 416-417, quoted in Lu Yu-sheng 107.)29 Dai Guangzhong, “Qiaoyuzhe de huailian: Lue lun ershi niandai de ‘xiangtu wenxue,” Tianjin shidaxuebao, 1 (1986): 64.30 Li Dazhao’s summons is the subject of a poem by Xu Yuruo as follows:In this pride and luxury-seeking world,There are some calling out: “Go to the people,” “1j .“.We appreciate their good intention, 1t!1PiJ ,But actually our brothers already all “come from the people.” 1B 1P iJ 57Nativism Chap. One29There was another, darker side to these writers’ experience in Beijing which alsoechoed Lu Xun’s experiences in Japan. They found their surroundings harsh andinhospitable, and some reacted with repulsion. They were also filled with homesicknesswhich prompted them to turn back psychologically to the sanctity of their old homes. LuXun recalls Jian Xian’ai’s terrible homesickness in Beijing in which he conflates hiscountry home with memories of his childhood.31I... came to Beijing from far-off Guizhou, and in the midst of this sandand dust and feeling very confused, I have passed almost seven years.This cannot be said to be a short time, but how I have spent this time isbeyond my recall. Day after day passes quickly by and the images ofchildhood become indistinct like the morning mist which spirals away andvanishes until all that is left me is a feeling of emptiness and aloneness.For the last while, except for the few poems and pseudo short storieswritten in the last couple of years, what else have I done? Each and everymemory plucks desolately at my heart, so I have decided to print thiscollection of short stories ... as a means of remembering the lovely yearsof my childhood from which I have been separated.32Besides nostalgia, there were other reasons for the writers of xiangtu wenxue toturn back psychologically to the village. Writers such as Xu Qinwen, Wang Luyan andJian Xian’ai, for instance, arrived too late in Beijing to participate fully in the May Fourthintellectual scene; instead, they found themselves stranded on the beach after the maincurrents of thought had passed.33 When the May Thirtieth Incident erupted in 1925,they, along with other intellectuals such as Lu Xun, were deeply affected by despair over(Xiaoshuoyuebao, 14: 6 [1923].)31 The narrative patterns of the xiangtu zuojia-- the fact that they came from rural backgrounds and moved to theurban centres where they wrote fiction about their homes and that they conflated their homes with memoriesof childhood or with other images-- are the main features distinguishing xiangtu wenxue from the similarChinese genre of “peasant fiction” (nongmin wenxue).32 Jian Xian’ai, “Chao wu,” quoted by Lu Xun in Da xi: 8. Lu Xun’s empathy with the homesicknesssuffered by the xiangtu zuojia stems in all likelihood from his own sense as a “voluntary self-exile”living in Japan. The element of nostalgia is an important motif in Lu Xun’s “My Old Home.”Dai64.Nativism Chap. One30this incident. Still others were repulsed by Beijing because of its degradation anddarkness which are the subjects of Wang Luyan’s “Sorrows of the Autumn Rain” (Qiuyude suku, The writers of the Creation Society, by contrast, wereengaged in positively depicting the lifestyle of the urban centres and disparaged therusticity of the villages-- a tendency which led Lu Xun to deprecate the works of theSociety as stories about “sexual love and urban darkness.”35 Mao Dun also praised thewriters ofxiangtu wenxue for enlarging the range of subject matter in literature from theindividual concerns, such as those expressed in the works of the Creation society, tosociety at large.36 The contrast in subject matter between these two groups of writers--those of the urban-based Creation Society and the ruralist writers of xiangtu wenxue-paralleled the growing split between the urban and the rural which increasinglycharacterized China’s twentieth century geophysical landscape. This split, incidentally,also characterized the development of twentieth-century Chinese literature. In conclusion,the conflicting emotions the writers of xiangtu wenxue experienced in Beijing became thesource for the motifs of separation and nostalgia which lie at the heart of the narrativeconfiguration of xiangtu wenxue. This configuration runs like a leitmotif throughout themany different types xiangtu wenxue in subsequent periods of Chinese literary history.In this essay, Wang Luyan castigates the urbanites for their love of money and their apathy,despairing that “The earth is filthy, everywhere is darkness, everywhere is odious.” ft! :r IJjIJ j3J. (Wang Luyan, “Qiuyu de suku, in Shen Sixiang, ed., Luyan sanwen xuanji 36.)With few exceptions, Wang Luyan’s works anthologized in the currently available collections are all undated.Wang’s disillusionment can also be traced to his lack of worldliness which would otherwise have enabled himto cope with the “modern” (modeng) lifestyle of the city.Lu Xun disparaged the Creation Society as made up of “wits and vagabonds.” (Lu Xun, “Shanghai wenyi zhiyi pie,” Lu Xun quanji, 4: 296.)36 Mao Dun, Introduction, 3: 12.Nativism Chap. One31Lu Xun and the Rise of Xiangtu wenxueLu Xun’s conceptual and stylistic influences on the 1920s’ decade of xiangtu wenxuebegan with the publication of his short story “My Old Home” which is set in the Chinesecountryside.37 Xiangtu wenxue can thus be said to begin with him. Prior to this there weremany stories depicting Chinese village life; none, however, were as influential in the formationof a ruralist trend.As is the case in xiangtu wenxue, “My Old Home” is characterized by narratorialelements of nostalgia and separation, though in “My Old Home” the urbanized narrator is notjust describing his village from afar but has returned to his village home.38 There he comesface-to-face with the village’s economic decline and the dark forces of ignorance andsuperstition which have claimed the heart and mind of his childhood companion, Runtu. Thenarrator ends his visit in despair on behalf of his former companion. This despair has alsobeen engendered from his sense of the futility of hope in never being able to bridge the gapbetween himself and the rural world he has left behind.37 Zhao Xiaqiu, “Liuyuzhe zhigen xiangye de wenxue: lue lun ershi niandai de ‘xiangtu wenxue’,” in Zhongguoxiandai wenxue lunwenji, Yan Jiayan, et al, eds., (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 1986): 375.Lu Xun based fourteen of his short stories in the Chinese countryside, which Leo Lee contendsconstitutes a “microcosm of rural Chinese society” in Lu Xun’s works. The characters in this rural setting,such as Ah Q, are both individualistic and representational. (Leo Lee 60.)One Chinese critic maintains that Lu Xun’s style contains three xiangtu wenxue elements. These are asfollows: his description of natural scenery and local customs (xiangfeng Jj,) his use of dialect (xiang yinand his element of nostalgia (xiang qing ). (Li Yukun, “Lu Xun-- xiangtu wenxue de dianjizhe,”Hebei shfan daxue xuebao, 3 [1986]: 14-17.)38 The return of the narrator to his country village does not appear as a theme in the 1920s’ decade of xiangtuwenxue. It is, however, an important part of the narrative structure of the fiction of Mo Yan , a memberof the post-1979 generation of Chinese writers, for example, Mo Yan’s”White Dog and the Swing” (Bai gouqiuqian jia, 1985) and “Red Sorghum” (Hong gaoliang, 1987).Nativism Chap. One32In the following discussion, I have chosen three anti-traditionalist motifs or themes in severalstories by Lu Xun which exercized a selective influence on xiangtu wenxue. These are: thetraditional Chinese oppression of women (“New Year’s Sacrifice”) the superstitions and bizarrecustoms and rituals of the rural areas (“Medicine” [Yao, 1919]) and, to a lesser extent, theapathy and ignorance of the Chinese national character (“The True Story of A Q” [A Q zhengzhuanI31iJQ .EIL 1921]). These themes, which exemplify Lu Xun’s iconoclastic attitude towardChinese culture,were emulated by these writers. Lin Yu-sheng theorizes that Lu Xun and twoother May Fourth intellectuals, Chen Duxiu and Hu Shi, all adopted the attitude that China’s“liberation” could only be accomplished through a “total, fundamental break with the entire culturaland social order of [China’s] past.”39 These thinkers envisioned a transformation of the Chineseworld view and the reconstruction of the traditional Chinese mentality”40 which would emergefrom this break.Lin Yu-sheng calls the approach of these intellectuals “cultural intellectualist” because of itsprivileging of culture over other factors such as the economy in bringing about social change.4’This attitude, again according to Lin, is rooted in a deep-seated traditional Chinese predisposition,one of the manifestations of which is the belief in the power of conscious ideas in transforminghuman life.42 In the thought of Lu Xun and Chen Duxiu this approach had the potential ofevolving into a “holistic” way of perceiving Chinese culture which could then become a weaponfor iconoclastic totalism. An example of Lu Xun’s holistic way of thinking was his perception of39 Benjamin J. Schwartz, Forward, Lin Yu-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness: ix.40 Lin Yu-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness 26.‘ Ibid. 26, 28.42 This belief characterized the intellectual outlook of the Qing thinkers Kang Youwei and Yen Fu. KangYouwei was one of the leaders of the reform movement of 1898. Yan Fu was China’s first great thinker tocarry out a systematic translation into Chinese of Western writers such as Herbert Spenser, Adam Smith andJohn Stuart Mill. He believed that the importation of these ideas into China was a necessary corollary forChina’s search for “wealth and power.” (See Benjamin Schwartz, In Searchfor Wealth and Power: Yen Fuand the West [Harvard University Press, 1964]).Nativism Chap. One33Chinese culture as a disease infected by the traditional Chinese mind which must first be cured inorder to cure the body politic.The logic of Lu Xun’s approach engendered a deep sense of pessimism in him which,however, was not shared by other thinkers nor, as I stated above, is it shared by thisgeneration of writers of xiangtu wenxue.43 Lu Xun’s pessimism is revealed in hisdiscussions about his fiction in his preface to A Call to Arms (Nahan DJIIJ) in which heformulates his metaphor of the iron house and in the contradictions in his fiction. Lu Xun’sinability to reject certain Chinese moral ideals, notwithstanding his iconoclastic totalism, was akey factor in his intellectual tensions. His validation of the notion of filiality which is a pivotalmotif of “In the Wine Shop” (Zaijiulou shang j1J 1924) reflects his mentality of“cherishing old ties” (nianjiu which was a major source of intellectual tensions forhim.45My discussion of xiangtu wenxue begins with its Lu Xun-lilce cultural iconoclasm,reproduced through the motifs of the traditional oppression of women, the strange rituals ofthe rural areas and the Chinese national character. I begin with the first of these issues as it isphilosophically treated through the character of Xianglin Sao.Xianglin Sao’s tragedy in “New Year’s Sacrifice” stems from China’s superstitious wayof thought which is scrutinized in the story. The narrative relates how Xianglin Sao isLin Yu-sheng theorizes that Lu Xun’s despair resulted from the “logic of [his] holistic demand forintellectual and spiritual revolution” and his failure to rise above this logic. (Lin Yu-sheng, “The Morality ofMind and Immorality of Politics: Reflections on Lu Xun, the Intellectual, Lu Xun and his Legacy :109.)44 Lu Xun relates his metaphor as follows:Imagine an iron house without windows, absolutely indestructible, with many people fastasleep inside who will soon die of suffocation. But you know since they will die in theirsleep, they will not feel the pain of death. Now if you cry aloud to wake a few of thelighter sleepers, making those unfortunate few suffer the agony of irrevocable death, doyou think you are doing them a good turn? (Lu Xun, Na ha zixu 419 quoted fromSelected Stories ofLu Hsun Ir. Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang, [Peking, ForeignLanguages Press, 1960]: 5.)Lin Yu-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness 149.Nativism Chap. One34shunned and ostracized by the village after becoming widowed a second time. She is viewedas the incarnation of bad luck and is compelled by custom to purchase a temple threshold (Juanmen/can to atone for her remarriage. Notwithstanding her attempts to redeem herselfXianglin Sao still ends her life in beggary and starvation.Lu Xun’s treatment of this issue is typically a liberal humanist one, which alsocharacterises the treatment of this issue in the majority of May Fourth fiction. Within thisdiscourse, the oppression of women is ranked with little consideration of ascendancy alongsidea host of other problems and abuses which are the symbolic tokens of a general system ofabuse. A feminist reading of this story would assert that this type of treatment violateswomen’s “textual difference,”46 that is, it fails to depict women’s oppression as arising solelyby virtue of gender differences. The critic David Der-wei Wang points out that Xianglin Sao isa symbol of the oppressed Chinese masses, which, he maintains, stems from the “old traditionof using women’s predicament as a projection of social or political abuses.”47 ThoughWang’s interpretation is slightly different from mine, the implication is the same: the reform ofthe Chinese social system is seemingly of more value than the reform of issues solelyconcerning women.Tai Jingnong’s”Candle Flame” (Zhuyen 1926)48 is similarly an account ofthe thematic oppression of a woman which also results from the belief in a Chinese46 The linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure, maintains that language is a differential network of meaning, that is,there is no self-evident or one-to-one link between “signifier” and “signified” (the word as [spoken or written]vehicle and the concept it serves to evoke.) Jacques Derrida took this concept one step further by stating thatmeaning is achieved through the “free play of the signifier,” that is, the open-ended play between the presenceof one signifier and the absence of others. With the field of signification thrown wide open, writing ortextuality breaks open the prison house of patriarchal language allowing for the emergence of women’s“textual difference.” (Christopher Norris, Deconstruction: Theory & Practice [London and New YorlcMethuen, 1982]: 24; Toni Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory [London and New York:Methuen, 19851: 106, 107.)“ David Der-wei Wang, “Feminist Consciousness in Modern Chinese Male Fiction,” in Michael S. Duke, ed.,Modern Chinese Women Writers: Critical Appraisals (New York :M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1989): 248-249.48 This story is anthologized in Tai Jingnong, Di zhi zi, jiantazhe (Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1984):42-48.Nativism Chap. One35superstition, in this case, chongxi 4 (lit. “event of great joy”). Like “New Year’sSacrifice,” the superstition is foregrounded in the narrative, which serves to shift attentionaway from the actual act of the woman’s oppression. Cui’er, the female protagonist in thestory, becomes engaged to the young, ailing son of a wealthy family as a result of the family’sbelief that a marriage arranged on their son’s behalf will drive away his bad luck and hasten hisrecovery. Cui’er is doubly victimized by this arrangement because she is widowed a few daysafter being married and is subsequently forced to comply with the traditional taboo againstremarriage. “Candle Flame” is a mixture of patriarchal language and superstitions which throwup a smokescreen hiding the true meaning of Cui’er’s fate as a woman without separaterights.49Women’s oppression is treated in a similar way in a couple of other stories of this period,in which the focal point is not superstitions per se but local customs or practices. Xu Jie’s“The Luck of the Gambler” (Dutu jishun 1925),50 for instance, is an account ofwife pawning (dian qi ) in which a man is compelled to pawn his wife in order toredeem a gambling debt. The object of condemnation in the story, however, is not the fact thatwives are little more than the property of their husbands to be disposed of at will so much asdissolute village life.Traditionally in China, the birth of a daughter was not welcomed because a daughter will marry out andbecome the property of her husband’s family. Cui’er’s father is referring to this attitude when he states:“Ultimately, our daughter belongs to that family [lit., “other people”].” J. (TaiJingnong 44.)The image of the red bridle candles, which symbolize marriage in the story, function to shift the reader’sattention away from Cui’er’s oppression to the realm of Chinese superstitions. Cui’er’s mother lights a pairof red candles prior to Cui’er’s departure for her husband’s home in the bridal palanquin. Suddenly the candleon the left glows dim as though blown by a gust of wind. This is interpreted by the villagers as an evilomen signifying that the groom will soon die. The candle on the right, on the other hand, continuouslytrembles and weeps which, according to village interpretation, portends Cui’er’s unhappy fate after the deathof her husband. (Tai Jingnong 47.)50 Anthologized in Da xi, 3: 422-446.Nativism Chap. One36In Wang Luyan’s “Marriage” (Chujia n.d.), 51 the custom of posthumousmarriage (ming hun a custom which can still be seen in present-thy Taiwan, issimilarly held accountable for the fate of this young woman. Juying in the story has died at theage of seven or eight years, but ten years after her death her mother still insists on carrying outher “marriage.” The noisy farce as it is related in the story is tinged with irony:The first to pass were two women who were giving away the bride. Alarge, red silken cloth was draped over the back of each. After thesewomen had gone the distance of half a ii, the procession arrived at itsdestination. At the head of the procession was a large lantern on which waswritten a red character. Behind the lantern were eight banners and eightbuglers. Following this was a long line of carefully constructed, real-looking paper children of various colours, paper maids, paper horses, papersedan chairs, paper tables, paper chairs, paper boxes, paper rooms, andmany utensils made of paper. Behind this were a drum bassinet, twocarrying poles of paper dowry displays and two carrying poles of realdowry displays. After the displays came a tower-like incense urn, and afterthis, Juying’s palanquin. This was not the same as the usual bridalpalanquin; instead of being red, it was blue, decorated colourfully aroundthe edges. A dozen or so pallbearers followed after the palanquin, bearingup a heavy coffin in which Juying’s corpse lay. The coffin was on a squareframe which was hung with a red woolen blanket decorated around theedges. Finally, a troupe of children came after the coffm, two sitting on thepalanquin, the others walking, ready to retreat at the half-way point.52On a symbolic level, this ceremony represents the continued enslavement of women, evenafter death.The final story I have selected for discussion in this section about women is XuQinwen’s “Mad Woman” (Feng fu Ji[, l923). This is a narrative about a mother-inlaw/daughter-in-law relationship which has turned sour ostensibly due to the behaviour of51“Juying’s Marriage” is anthologized in Wang Luyan, Lu Yan duanpian xiaoshuoji (Shanghai: Kaimingshudian,1947): 205-215.52 Ibid. 209-210.This story is anthologized in Xu Qinwen, Xu Qinwen xiaoshuoji (Hangzhou: Zhejiang wenyichubanshe, 1984): 52-58.Nativism Chap. One37the daughter-in-law: Shuangxi’s wife, according to her mother-in-law, is wasteful becauseshe serves up too many fancy dishes for the enjoyment of her mother-in-law. One day thedaughter-in-law has a vision of her husband who is away at sea, and she loses a sieveful ofrice she has taken to the river to wash. Her mother-in-law’s treatment of her worsens afterthis incident, and she eventually falls insane and dies.54 The cause of the daughter-in-law’s demise is not fully accounted for in the story, but it can be better understood if wetake into consideration the strains which have traditionally characterized the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship in Chinese society and the relative powerlessness ofwomen in Chinese patriarchal society. It is popularly known that Chinese mothers-in-lawabuse their daughters-in-law despite, or because of, the fact that they were similarly abusedas daughters-in-law. The difficulties of this relationship are aggravated by the relativepowerlessness of women within the Chinese family and can be aggravated even further bythe absence of grandsons. If Shuangxi’s wife had produced a son, he could haveaugmented the status of his mother in the eyes of her mother-in-law which would haveaccorded her a certain amount of protection.Besides the issue of women, some writers of xiangtu wenxue expressed their culturaliconoclasm through the motif of the bizarre and often destructive customs of China’s ruralareas and the ignorance and superstitions which fuel these customs. In this set of stories,the mode of expression of this motif is derived from the concept of the spiritual disease asLu Xun formulated it in “Medicine.” The belief that imbibing human blood can curetuberculosis which is the basis of “Medicine” is echoed in Tai Jingnong’s “Tian BrotherThe theme of women and insanity is also a theme in a piece of xiangtu wenxue from the JapaneseOccupation period in Taiwan entitled “Wealth, Sons, Longevity” (Cai zi shou, 1942) by the writer LU Heruof. Village rumour in this story attributes the insanity of the daughter-in-law to superstitious belief, inthis case xiang chong [J] 3ci , the belief that coming in contact with a dead person, passing by a cemetery,etc., at a time when a person is particularly vulnerable, may induce illness, insanity or even death. Accordingto the narrative structure, however, Yumei’s insanity results from puerperal fever which she had contractedafter her in-laws denied her food. The withdrawal of food was their punative treatment of her for producing adaughter instead of a son.Nativism Chap. One38Number Two” (Tian er ge 1926) in which the protagonist believes that alcoholcan cure all manner of disease and that urine can relieve inebriation. The eventualexpiration of the protagonist in this story is attributed to a large amount of alcohol and twolarge bowls of urine which his belief had prompted him to imbibe as medication.Jian Xian’ai’s “Water Funeral” (Shui zang Jc, 1926)56 is an account of a differentkind of custom but one which is also symptomatic of the disease syndrome. This storyrecalls Lu Xun’s portrait of the apathetic nature of the Chinese national character and theignorant crowd mentality which figure in a number of his stories. According to a Chinesecritic, the custom depicted in “Water Funeral” is a regional custom that appears only inQianbei, Guizhou, and he maintains that the suffering imposed by this type of customstems from traditional “feudal” China.57 This custom, however, also figures as thesubject matter in Shen Congwen’s “Qiaoxiu and Dongsheng” (Qiaoxiu he Dongsheng I5J4, 1947)58 set in Hunan twenty years later and is thus more universal than this criticmaintains. The significance of this custom lies first and foremost in the absence of auniversal legal system in China, the apathy and ignorance of the Chinese national characterand, in the case of “Qiaoxiu and Dongsheng,” Chinese traditional misogyny.“Water Funeral” is a description of the penalty of enforced drowning which isimposed on a young man called Luomao who is accused of committing theft. In a separatestatement, han Xian’ai made the following comment about the absence of habeas corpusin the village where this event took place: “The civilized Tong Village had never had avillage head or other such designation. There was therefore no need to pass judgement onAnthologized in Da xi, 4: 417-421.56 Anthologized in XX, 1:103-108.57 Li Yukun, “Jianlun ershi niandai de xiangtu wenxue,” Hebei shfan daxue xuebao (supplementary issue 1986):63.58“Qiaoxiu and Dongsheng” is an account of a young widow who is accused of violating the practice ofchastity expected of widows in traditional China. She is sentenced to drown in a lake.Nativism Chap. One39the criminal: the sentence could be carried out in private. The sentence of shui zang leviedagainst thieves has been in existence in the village since ancient times.”59 The author’smoral stance in this statement is ambiguous: it is unclear if he is in fact condemning thiscustom or condoning it as a historical relic. The narrative stance of “Water Funeral,”however, is clearer.The omniscient narrator in “Water Funeral” relates that Luomao is compelled bycircumstance to steal. He is subsequently sentenced to drown in a river. The villagersexcitedly flock to the river to watch this event just like the crowds in “A Q zhengzhuan”who gather to watch A Q’s execution. The spectators are devoid of even one ounce ofcompassion for the victim of this custom; on the contrary, one even confesses that he findsit “more interesting than the ‘Western mirror’ from Sichuan.” 1b)II “60 There are other shades of A Qism in “Water Funeral” when Lomao shouts out onthe road taking him to his death: “After a few years I shall be another stout young fellow!”“61 Luomao’s shout, however, stems less from thedesire for an A Q type of spiritual victory than from the narrator’s moral outrage at thebarbarity of this custom.At the conclusion of “Water Funeral,” Luomao’s mother anxiously awaits her son inthe doorway of their home, wondering why he does not return. This motif of motherhoodin “Water Funeral” attracted the attention of Lu Xun who commented as follows: “WaterFuneral’ reveals for us this rural custom of far-off, ancient Guizhou and the greatness ofQuoted in Wang Hongru, “Jian Xian’ai bixia de Qianbei fengqing,” Shan hua, November, 1984: 79.60 Jian Xian’ai 104.The “Western mirror” is probably a reference to the Western motion picture.61 Jian 105.Ah Q shouted Out the phrase “In twenty years I shall be another stout young fellow” on the way to hisexecution. (“Ah Q zhengzhuan,” Lu Xun quanji, 1: 526.). This phrase was often yelled by criminalsprior to execution to show their scorn of death.Nativism Chap. One40maternal love in the midst of this cruelty.” “)J(” j1PLji]’‘ i*fli”*t62 Leo Lee has analyzed Lu Xun’sconflicting attitude concerning motherhood and filiality in connection with “In the WineShop.” He maintains that the sustained dialogue between the protagonist and the narratorin this story is a “fictional dramatization”63 of the author’s attempts to sort out his innerferment, that is, the contradiction between his totalistic iconoclasm and his mentality of“cherishing old ties.” In brief, Lu Weifu in the story is unable to resolve his rejection ofthe past with his attitude of filiality. There is no such contradiction in “Water Funeral,”however, primarily because the notion of “cherishing old ties” is not central to thenarration. In short, the validation of certain traits in the Chinese cultural order on the partof these writers only signified a relatively less involved, more objective and scientificengagement with Chinese cultural problems and a selective rejection of Chinese culture.What is of greater historical value is the question of whether Jian Xian’ai and other writersbelieved in the power of the rural masses to foment social change and whether literaturecould play a role in this change. Jian Xian’ai’s antitraditionalism is like Chen Duxiu’s:there is little apparent contradiction between his recognition of certain areas of Chinesetraditionalism and his totalistic iconoclasm.MThere is one final area of the culture theme in these works which is absent in theworks of Lu Xun, and this is traditional Chinese familism.65 The unquestioning, blindacceptance of clan authority is the focus of Peng Jiahuang’s “Instigation” (Songyong62 Lu Xun, Introduction 8.63 Lee64.64 Despite his iconoclasm, Chen Duxiu recognized certain positive values in the Confucian tradition. (Lin Yüsheng 80.)65 Famiism does not figure as a separate theme in the fiction of Lu Xun. This may be due to hisemulation of his mother and his attitude of filiality, reflected in the fact that Lu Xun adopted his mother’ssurname of Lu as his penname.Nativism Chap. One41n.d.)66 in which family authority is the source for the intra-clan factionalism between thetwo clans of Niu and Feng. This story narrates that when the age-old feud between thetwo clans starts up again, Er Niang, the wife of Zhengping in the story, must follow clanorders and be buried alive with a pair of dead swine. Er Niang subsequently attemptssuicide, and while she is unconscious she is stripped of her trousers in order to expeditethe practice of “tong qi 5(channe1ing of air) which will supposedly bring her round.67This is an act which robs her of face and turns the uncomprehending couple into the objectof clan mockery. Xu Jie’s “Gloomy Fog” (Can wu 1924)68 similarly narratesanother instance of blind obedience to clan authority. In this case, obedience results in theengagement in vifiage warfare between the Yu Hu and Huan Xi Villages over the rights todevelop an islet. The story concludes with many people dead. The theme of clan authorityin these two works reflects the persistence of the more severe and repressive aspects oftraditional familism in the interior parts of China, a theme which was also adopted by MayFourth writers.69In sum, the existential state of China’s masses in the decade of the 1920s wasexamined by certain writers of xiangtu wenxue through the lens of culture. This factorwas used by these writers to explain the oppression of women, the persistence of strangecustoms which cripple the national consciousness and the apathy and “feudal” mentality ofChina’s peasant masses. This paradigm reflects the legacy of Lu Xun and the profundityof his approach in explaining China’s problems. At the same time, other writers preferred66 Anthologized in Da xi, 3: 482-498. This is an example of a story written with a high degree of dialect,which is an important feature distinguishing xiangtu wenxue from the Europeanized May Fourth literature.67 This obscene practice is directed at the anus and is carried out through the use of a pair of bellows inthe belief that the increased supply of oxygen would bring the victim round.68 Anthologized in XX, I: 25-59.69 Famiism is the central theme, for instance, of Ba Jin’s Jia (Family, 1931).Nativism Chap. One42to explain China’s rural crisis through a totally different set of problems, to which I nowturn.The second set of xiangtu wenxue stories-- those which attribute China’s rural crisisto natural, political and economic factors-- resulted from the education these writersacquired while they were in Beijing. In brief, this came about from the currents of thoughton scientism and various political concepts to which they were exposed and whichultimately came to determine their perception. In this set of stories, the peasants areconstantly victimized not by culture but by bandits, soldiers, landlord oppression and badeconomics.Prior to examining these stories I wish to first mention the mode of characterization inthese works because this can give us a better understanding of the mentality of thesewriters, and it also takes us back to Mao Dun’s attempts to classify xiangtu wenxue asrevolutionary literature. The characters in these stories are generally depicted in an ironicor low mimetic mode, which is also the mode of a great deal of May Fourth fiction. Withinthis mode, the characters are governed by a sense of powerlessness and a kind of cosmic,Daoist fate which circumscribes their lives.70 Contrary to Mao Dun’s assertion, this fateis not one which indoctrination into the revolutionary cause can ameliorate.Traditionally in Chinese literature, especially poetry, the peasant was a fairly commontopic of representation, and his or her depiction is either heroic (mythic, romantic, mimetic)or ironic (satiric or non-heroic) depending on whether the poet praised or criticized thefanning situation.71 These two basic poetic constructs became models for latergenerations of writers and continue to serve as models in twentieth century fiction.70 M. H. Abrams defines “cosmic irony” as a trope in which “God, or destiny, or the process of theuniverse, is represented as though deliberately manipulating events so as to lead the protagonist to falsehopes, only to frustrate and mock them.” (Abrams, A Glossary ofLiterary Terms 94.)The Daoist concept of the cosmos is that of an “unfeeling universe” (tiandi bu ren.).71 Stephen Lee Field, “Taking up the Plow: Real and Ideal Versions of the Farmer in Chinese Literature,”diss, U of Texas at Austin, 1985, 2.Nativism Chap. One43Nonetheless, it still took the new thought of the May Fourth generation, steeped in“democracy” and “socialism,” to expose the roots of peasant oppression. The xiangtuzuofla, in particular, embraced this mission, and, as a consequence, the non-heroic orironic mode became their mode of depicting peasant life.Some stories in this group define the fate of rural families in terms of the vulnerabilityof their marginal existence. This is easily upset by any natural or human disaster such asdrought or illness or arrest, and in some cases, the family is even destroyed. TaiJingnong’s “Worms” (QiuyinmenI1P, 1926)72 is an account of a peasant, Li Xiao,who led a happy and abundant life until a drought year destroyed his life. A similar themeis repeated in Wang Sidian’s “Paralysis” (Pianku j1T, 1922) in which Liu Si was auseful farmer, well respected by the community, until a stroke forced him to sell hischildren and compelled his wife to work as a wet-nurse. In these stories, the peasants’delicate balance of existence is destroyed by natural or external factors.Wang Renshu’s “The Exhausted One” (NbeitheJj ,1925) presents avariation on this theme. The peasant Yunyang, who is one of the more defiant charactersin all of xiangtu wenxue, spends his entire life labouring for others but his home is nevermore than a broken-down old temple. One day he is accused by his neighbour of stealingtwo yuan. In his defense, he claims instead that his money has been stolen from him. Hecalculates as follows: “During these twenty years in which I have worked, I have earnedten yuan a year, so I should have two hundred yuan. I just don’t know who stole this twohundredyuan from me.” , ±,t ZThjJ.4]J!75 This infuriates the gentry presiding over the case who72 Anthologized in Da xi, 4: 434-440.‘ Anthologized in Da xi, 3: 304-308.Anthologized in XX, 1: 84-94.‘ Wang Renshu 93.Nativism Chap. One44recommends a charge of thievery to the magistrate. Consequently, Yunyang is thrown intoprison for one year and the plaintiff lands a job as investigator. Upon his release, Yunyangbecomes a beggar, ironically pondering his good fortune in finding himself a newlivelihood.“Stone Quarry” (Shidang, 1926)76 by Xu Qinwen is a grisly story about anothertype of disaster shattering the peasants’ marginal existence. This is one of the earliest shortstories about labourers, in this case, rock-gatherers whose dangerous occupation compels themto gather rocks from a mountain quarry. Through the course of their work, the rock-gathererseither become ill because of their occupation or are buried alive by rockfall. The climax of“Stone Quarry” occurs when a group of rock-gatherers are trapped under a boulder and cannotbe rescued by friends and relatives. The latter can only stand by helplessly as the victimsslowly die of starvation. After two days, the call of “Help!” can still be heard issuing fromunder the boulder, arid it was “so tragic that the villagers no longer had the courage to gothere.” EI] With no other means oflivelihood, however, the gatherers once again climb back up to the other side of the mountainin order to continue to gather rocks. The peasants suffer in this story not because of ignoranceor pigheadedness, such as Lao Tong Bao in Mao Dun’s “Spring Sillcworms” (1932) butbecause their paucity of skills does not provide them with the means to a better existence.There is a strong sentiment of fatality in “Stone Quarry” which impels those involved into astoic acceptance of their fate.Other writers ofxiangtu wenxue attributed the deepening crisis of the peasants in the1920s to China’s political situation. The peasants in these stories are victimized either bywarlords contending for power, soldiers, bandits or landlords, and this is the case in Xu76 Anthologized in XX, 1: 109-112.XuQinwen 112.Nativism Chap. One45Yu’nuo’s “An Old, Worn-out Shoe” (Yi zhi p0 xie 1924).Th The peasant in thisstory, Hai Shushu, is cut down by bandits after visiting his nephew who is studying in anearby school. Hal Shushu is left calling for help for three days in the wilderness and is thendevoured by a pack of wild dogs. At the end, there is nothing left but an old shoe to serve as atoken of the peasant’s miserable death. I stated above that many of these pieces of xiangtuwenxue are simple, linear narratives featuring an image or set of images. The image of theold, worn shoe in this story symbolizes the empty, miserable lot of the peasants whom fate andthe nation have abandoned. “An Old, Worn-out Shoe” is based on the northern village andpeasants of Lu Shan and makes strong use of the northern dialect, as do other works by XuYu’nuo.79Tai Jingnong’s “New Grave” (Xin fen J, 1926),80 on the other hand, is an accountof the destruction of a family by soldiers. In this story, a well-to-do widow, Si Taitai, islooking forward to the day when her sons and daughters can get married and establishthemselves. Unfortunately, a mutiny brings death to her daughter who is first raped bysoldiers then killed by them, and her son is killed by gunshot. At the conclusion of “NewGrave” the widow loses her sanity and commits suicide. The sufferings of the widow in“New Grave” are like the sufferings of Hardy’s Tess-- they are the result of the ironicmanipulation of fate. The symbolic significance of the image of the “new grave” needs littleelaboration.Landlord and gentry oppression are the reasons for ruin in Xu Yu’nuo’s “MyGrandfather’s Story” (Zufu de gushij ., 1923).81 The grandfather in this storywas once strong and able to withstand great hardship. However, he loses his fertile fields to78 Anthologized in XX, 1: 60-83.‘9 Liu Jixian, “Lun Xu Yuruo xiangtu xiaoshuo de tese,” Zhengzhou daxue xuebao (1985), 3: 101.80 Anthologized in Da xi, 4: 428-433.81 Anthologized in Da xi, 3: 350-358.Nativism Chap. One46the landlord and ends his life filled with sorrow and haired and his self-respect gone. This is apicture of an old peasant who has struggled a lifetime for an elusive security; it is also thedepiction, according to one critic, of a social system which must be overthrown.82The third and final factor for the bankruptcy of the rural areas is the economic factor.As mentioned above, Pan Xun’s “Rural Heart” belongs to this group. This story narrateshow the young carpenter, A Gui, has left his rural home where his father and brothers, allskilled carpenters, are encountering economic difficulty. In short, A Gui has run awayfrom a potentially bad fate in the countryside, one which would be exacerbated by hisfather’s intention to divide the family property so that the sons shoulder an equal share ofthe accumulated family debt.Lu Xun cites the economic factor in connection with two other stories, Xu Qinwen’s“My Father’s Garden” (Fuqin de huayuan , 1923) and Wang Luyan’s “Gold”(Huangjin l927). He states: “What troubles Xu Qinwen is that he has lost his‘father’s flower garden’ on earth. What vexes [Wang Luyan] is that he has left paradise onearth.” I”33E84 In the first story, the garden which was once flourishing is now adesolate ruin, and this ruin has been brought about by fmancial collapse.85 In “Gold,” onthe other hand, the protagonist Rushi Bobo was once a prosperous villager of Chensiqiaobut today he is destitute, a situation which has been engendered by his son’s failure to82 Liu Jixian 99.83 The first of these is anthologized in Da xi, 4: 265-267, the second in XX, 1: 113-129.84 Lu Xun, Introduction 10.85 On the subject of Xu Qinwen’s “Fuqin de huayuan,” Lu Xun states the following:Before [Xu Qinwen] started writing xiangtu wenxue, he was forced to leave his nativehome, his livelihood compelling him to go to other places where he could only reminisceabout the ‘flower garden of his father.’ Furthermore, it was a flower garden that no longerexisted, because it is more restful and comforting to think about those things that nolonger exist in one’s old home than those which clearly exist but which are beyond one’sgrasp. (Lu Xun Introduction 9.)Nativism Chap. One47remit money home. These short stories are reminiscent of the decline in the fortunes of LuXun’s own family which is related in “My Old Home.” In brief, all three writers areconcerned with the small producer and his bankruptcy which has been brought about byChina’s economic collapse.In conclusion, this second group of xiangtu wenxue stories represents a shift awayfrom the cultural determinism of Lu Xun to a positivist approach that is both historicist andphenomenological in its explanation of Chinese reality of the 1920s. This shift in theorientation of these writers signified the end of the “cultural-intellectualist” mode ofthinking which had defmed the Chinese category of thought since Kang Youwei and thebeginning of a new mode which was epistemologically more advanced. One critic evenmaintains that the materialist orientation in these stories is an outgrowth of social progressand the development of knowledge which account for the difference of the characters inthese xiangtu wenxue stories from Lu Xun’s.86 A Gui and Yunyang, for instance, exhibita greater ability to reason than Lu Xun’s Ah Q or Runtu; they are thus not afflicted by theChinese “spiritual disease” to the same degree as Lu Xun’s characters.The transition to the new orientation is very abrupt and is similar to theepistemological break which Michel Foucault theorizes marks the end of one epoch,discourse or “episteme”87 and ushers in a new one. This occurred, for instance, inEurope at the beginning of the classical age in the seventeenth century and the beginning ofthe modern age at the end of the eighteenth. Foucault is characterized as a philosopher ofdiscontinuity; nonetheless, his breaks also emphasize the continuity between epistemes in86 Li Yukun, Jian1un ershi niandai de xiangtu wenxue” 61-62.87 Michel Foucault’s discourse is a conceptual terrain in which knowledge is formed and linked to the exercise ofpower. The forms of discourse ensure the reproduction of the social system through selection, exclusion anddomination. Foucault writes of discourse as follows: “In every society, the production of discourse iscontrolled, organised, redistributed, by a certain number of procedures whose role is to ward off its powers anddangers, to gain mastery over its chance events, to evade its materiality.” (See, Michel Foucault, “The Orderof Discourse,” in Untying the Text: A Poststructuralist Reader, ed. Robert Young [Boston: Routledge &Kegan Paul, 1981]: 48-77.)Nativism Chap. One48which certain cognitive processes are merely rearranged, thus allowing for a greaterunderstanding of reality.88 The new discursive mode in this set ofxiangtu wenxuestories similarly does not represent a total change but is merely a new methodology throughwhich writers narrated Chinese reality. In the following discussion, I refer to this neworientation as the positivist mode, as opposed to the cultural-intellectualist mode of LuXun.The positivism of the new mode also indicated that this mode was essentially aWestern one. The West intruded on the Chinese cultural scene one hundred and fortyyears previously and set in motion a process of intellectual and cultural change whichaccompanied China’s move toward modernity. This intrusion resulted in the imposition ofthe unequal treaty system and extraterritoriality and reduced China to a position of semi-colonialism vis-a-vis the Western powers. The semi-colonialist context is reflected in themodes of realism and romanticism of May Fourth which were inherited from nineteenthcentury Europe and the Europeanized language of May Fourth. It is also apparent in thescientism of xiangtu wenxue’s positivist mode.Another important feature regarding this mode is the impact of Chinese nationalism.Chinese nationalism was engendered as a direct response to the Western intrusion andbrought forth a new hierarchy of values, one of the most fundamental features of which isthe privileging of the nation over other values and beliefs. This privileging of the nation isan important feature in the configuration of most of twentieth century Chinese literature, forexample, the devaluation of gender differences in Lu Xun’s “New Year’s Sacrifice,” and itremains a characteristic and enduring element of most forms of modern Chinese fiction.The appropriation of Chinese literature by the Communist revolution with its emphasis onthe nation occurred naturally as a result of this privileging.88 Karlis Racevskis, “Geneological Critique: Michel Foucault and the Systems of Thought,” in G. DouglasAtkins and Laura Morrow, eds., Contemporary Literary Theory (University of Massachusetts Press, 1989):231.Nativism Chap. One49One final point of discussion is the question of the relation of xiangtu wenxue to theChinese Communist revolution and whether xiangtu wenxue exhibits the programmatictendencies of Chinese revolutionary literature of the 1930s. I maintain, as I stated above,that this literature evinces little of a revolutionary ideology and that the characters in xiangtuwenxue also exhibit little revolutionary awareness of the environmental factorsinfluencing their lives. Yunyang in “The Exhausted One,” for instance, has littleknowledge that his situation has been engendered by class oppression; he only knows thathe should have an accumulated savings of two hundred yuan. A Gui also does not analyzehis situation from the perspective of a Marxist concept, such as the contradiction betweenthe country and the city. He merely evinces a vague awareness of the economic factors asa source of his woes. My conclusions regarding xiangtu wenxue are shared by themajority of Chinese critics in the secondary criticism, though for reasons different frommine. They aver that the writers of xiangtu wenxue “lament the misfortunes of thepeasants” but only rarely display “anger at the [peasants’] failure to struggle.”89 Thus they echo Mao Dun’s sentiment that xiangtu wenxue should evince arevolutionary zeal which would allow it to be classed as revolutionary literature. As Istated above, however, this is not possible. The critics also maintain that xiangtu wenxueexhibits certain deficiencies which arise from the fact that the xiangtu zuojia did notpersonally participate in the revolutionary struggles of the late 1920s and 1930s, and thusthey lack depth of understanding.9°One critic maintains that, as “petty-bourgeoiswriters,” their works are characterized by anxiety and depression, and thus they lack theidealism of the true proletarian writer.91 This argument is irrelevant, however, becausewith very few exceptions China to date has produced only very few “proletarian89 Dai Guangzhong 68.90 Shen Siheng, “Luyan de xiangtu xiaoshuo tanxi,” Wenxue pinglun, 5 (1984): 86.91 Ibid.Nativism Chap. One50writers.”92 There is one critic, on the other hand, who maintains that Yunyang representsa move away from critical realism to the revolutionary realism form which accompanied thesuccesses of the peasant movements in Kiangsi and Hunan.93 I do not agree with thisposition, however, as there is little to substantiate this in the literature. There is also littleevidence to substantiate the assertion by one critic that Lu Xun was dissatisfied with thexiangtu zuojia for their lack of revolutionary idealism.94 Lu Xun’s rejection of politicsand his denial of the concept of “revolutionary literature” is well-known.95 Xiangtuwenxue, on the other hand, is somewhat akin to the popular art form envisioned by QuQiubai because it reflects a real side of society and hints at the direction that reform ought to92 One such writer is Zhao Shuli who is discussed in Chapter Four.Xu Zhiying, Ni TingLing 78.Georg Lukacs defmes the critical realist as follows:The critical realist, following tradition, analyses the contradictions in the disintegratingold order and the emerging new order. But he does not only see them as contradictions inthe outside world, he feels them to be contradictions within himself, though he tends--again following tradition--to emphasize the contradictions rather than the forces workingfor reconciliation. (Georg Lukacs, The Meaning of Contemporary Realism [London:Merlin Press, 1963]: 114, quoted fmm Contemporary Chinese Literature: An AnthologyofPost-Mao Fiction and Poetry, Michael S. Duke, ed. [New York/London: M.E. Sharpe,Inc., 1984]: 4.)Revolutionary realism is usually referred to as socialist realism and is the literary form promoted by MaoZedong in his Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art. It was the only literary form deemedacceptable by the Chinese government between the years 1949 and 1979.94 Dai Guangzhong is referring one of Lu Xun’s zagan in which he states that those works which “despisedthe old society, and ... had no ideals for the future” were not revolutionary works. (Lu Xun, “Sanxianji:xiandai de xinwenxue de gaiguan,” Lu Xun quanji, 4: 134.) In ftn 12 of his article, Dai Guangzong alsoquotes Li Jiye who recalls “ He [Lu Xun] always detested reading works which left one feeling dispirited.He expressed this sentiment to us many times.” According to Dai, Lu Xun was referring to the xiangtuzuojia in this statement. (Dai 3.)95 Lu Xun’s sentiment on this topic was the subject of a speech given on December 21, 1927 in whichhe states that “revolutionary writers and revolutionists can be said to be two entirely different kinds ofbeings.” (Lu Xun, “Wenyi yu zhengzhi de qitu, Jiwai ji, Lu Xun quanji, 7: 118-119, quoted in Lin Yüsheng, “The Morality of Mind and the Immorality of Politics” 117.)Nativism Chap. One51take.96 In this sense, too, xiangtu wenxue differs substantially from the majority of MayFourth literature.In the following section I discuss the works of one particular xiangtu zuojia, WangLuyan. Wang Luyan is a representative writer of this period; thus, an examination of hisworks can give us greater insight into the nativist mentality of these writers, not to mentiontheir perspective on national events in the 1920s as they affected the Chinese countryside.Wang Luyan is also concerned with one aspect of Chinese society which had not yetbecome a common theme at this time but which became so in later periods ofxiangtuwenxue, and that is the commercialization of Chinese society. The appearance of thistheme is the central focus of Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue and would have continued as acentral topic in Chinese xiangtu wenxue in the 1930s if this fiction had not beenappropriated by the revolution.In the decade of the 1930s, Wang Luyan was swept up by the communist revolutionin the countryside just as many of his contemporaries were in the urban centre. Hisconversion to the revolutionary cause carried over into his writing, and he began writingrevolutionary literature, as it is defined by Mao Dun. This development of Wang’sdovetailed with the conversion of many other Chinese writers who also wrote about therevolution in the countryside, such as Mao Dun, Lao She, Ye Zi, Ye Shaojun, Ai Wu andSha Ding, who, because of the peasant characterization and rural setting in their works canalso be considered xiangtu zuojia. I conclude, however, that the strong contrast betweenthe revolutionary subject matter of xiangtu wenxue in the 1930s and the purely nativisttopics of the earlier period only further substantiates my claim that the xiangtu wenxue ofthe 1920s is not “revolutionary literature.”96 Qu envisioned a “Proletarian May Fourth” as an alternative to the Europeanized May Fourth because themajority of May Fourth writers were regarded as foreigners by the people. His formulation consisted of threecategories of revolutionary popular literature and art. (Pickowicz, 153-154.)Nativism Chap. One52Wang Luyan (1901-1944)Wang Luyan is in many ways a typical xiangtu zuojia though Lu Xun, for one,questions whether all the works of this writer fall into the xiangtu wenxue sub-genre.97Wang’s early works, that is, those written during the 1920s are without a doubt nativist inorientation: they describe local customs, the atmosphere of suffocation and stagnation in thevillages and the struggles between the worlords and the landlords which are typical themes inthe works by other writers of the 1920s. The only theme in Wang’s works which isexceptional is the commercialization of Chinese society, which Wang was the only writer inthis group to consider. In the period leading up to the war with Japan, Wang’s works changeddramatically and he began writing stories about the revolution. I do not agree with Lu Xun thatthe politicization of themes in these works ipso facto precludes their classification as xiangtuwenxue. Even so, I discuss these particular works only briefly here.98Wang Luyan is classed as a xiangtu zuojia primarily because, like Lu Xun, he focuseson the local colour, natural scenery and customs of a region, in this case, Ningbo in Zhejiangprovince. Many of his short stories describe the farming villages of Jiangnan, the Jiangnanriver scenes with wooden plank bridges and rice-grinding boats and the areas in Jiangdong9’ Lu Xun remarked: “In looking at the literary topics and style of one portion of Wang Luyan’s works, itseems that he is also a xiangtu zuojia.” (Lu Xun, Introduction, 4: 10.) The critic Hu Lingzhi alsocontends that many of Wang Luyan’s works do not fall into the category of xiangtu wenxue. Lu Xunand Hu Lingzhi are probably referring to Wang’s revolutionary works written after 1937. (Hu Lingzhi’sarguments are found in his article “Wang Luyan yu xiangtu wenxue,” Wenxue pinglun, 3 [19861:139-140.)98 My discussion of the revolutionary aspect of Chinese xiangtu wenxue will take place in a future study.Nativism Chap. One53where the urban and the rural converge.99 Like Lu Xun, these nativist elements constitute thebackdrop for the author’s thematic concerns.“Fishing” (Diao yu, n.d.)100 is a typically nativist story. The author has conflatedhis rural home with the memories of childhood in this work, as is the case in so much ofxiangtu wenxue, starting with “My Old Home.” In “Fishing,” however this conflation isaccompanied by the heroic, idyllic treatment of village life characteristic of Shen Congwen’sworks and contrasts strongly with the ironic presentation of other types of xiangtu wenxue.The heroic treatment in “Fishing,” like the heroic mode in traditional Chinese literature, stemsfrom the author’s praise of China’s farming situation.The I-narrator in “Fishing” is a young boy at the beginning of the narrative who relateshow he loved to go fishing in a river that ran past his home. The detailed description of thedifferent types of sports fishermen grouped along the river embankment, the construction ofthe rods and baits and the different kinds of fish and shellfish and their habits evoke thememories, nostalgia and rusticity of China’s “field and garden” poetic mode. The narratorrelates that the river embankment is constructed of piles of rocks, leaving holes in which theshrimp and fish congregate. When the level of the river sinks in the summer, the waterbecomes very clear and one can see to the river bottom from the top of the embankment. In themorning sun, “even every hair of the shrimps’ whiskers can be clearly discerned.”—j—tjj 101 Later, the narrator returns to visit his country home as anadult after spending a number of years in the city. Though he no longer engages in childhoodpleasures, the narrator continues to hold a romanticized conception of his village.The idyllic quality of “Fishing” contrasts strongly with Wang Luyan’s works whichindict rural realities. The posthumous marriage ceremony in “Marriage,” for example, isShen, “Luyan de xiangtu xiaoshuo tanxi” 84.100 Anthologized in Luyan xuanji 32-43.101 WangLuyan33.Nativism Chap. One54patterned on the cultural iconocolasm of Lu Xun. In this story, the savagery and depravednature of Ningbo rural customs trammel village life and reflect the need for social reform.“Marriage” is more discursive than “Fishing” which is augmented by the inclusion of irony inthe text. 102 This ironic technique invites the reader into an examination of the iconoclasticelements of this text, a technique which is absent in the more heroic “Fishing.”“Little Heart” (Xiaoxiao de xin, )J)Jj n.d.) recounts another kind of traditionalChinese custom, in this case, the sale of children which Wang Luyan contends was especiallycommon in Fujian province.’03 The free barter of children in which one or two hundred yuancould “purchase girls as bond-maids or boys as sons, to be used from a young age as slaves”—J’j —1 iJ’’’iJj1 104 arose from the primacyof the family in traditional China and from the demands of the Chinese patrilineal system.Wang’s emotional treatment of this issue, attributed to his concern for the fate of children, alsostems from this author’s antitraditional attitude and his rejection of traditional culture.The “little heart” in the story refers to A Pin, a young boy whom the narrator befriendswhile he is working as an editor in Xiamen. The narrator inadvertently discovers that A Pincan speak a few words of his own native Ningpo dialect and becomes suspicious. He makesinquiries of the boy’s father, a well-to-do engineer, when the latter comes to visit A Pin who isin the care of his maternal grandmother. A Pin’s father subsequently terminates therelationship between these two, and the narrator uncovers the reason for this only when he istransferred to Quanzhou, Fujian, which is also the engineer’s former place of employment. It102 Discourse assumes a speaker and a hearer. Discursive texts characterized by irony also guarantee moreeffectively the subjectivity of the reader who can participate in the construction of the meaning of the text.(Catherine Belsey, Critical Practice [London: Methuen, 1980]: 72, 79.)103“Little Heart” is anthologized in the collection Luyan duanpian xiaoshuoji 369-388).Wang Luyan, “Wo de chuangzuo jingyan,” Luyan duanpian xiaoshuoji: 6.104 Wang, “Little Heart” 388.Nativism Chap. One55turns out that A Pm is from Ningbo but was abducted and sold to this engineer as a son. Atthe conclusion, the narrative strongly condemns the child slave trade popular in that region.Wang Luyan’s other works of this period focus on the national conditions of China in1920s, such as the conflicts between the warlords and the battles between the landlords whichcreated social unrest. The is the theme of “Pomelo” (Youzi, - n.d.),’°5 Wang Luyan’sfirst creative effort. This story relates an execution that takes place during a battle between theHunan warlords in the region of Changsha. The I-narrator, one of the spectators of theexecution, describes the senseless crowds who trample each other down in order to get a viewof the decapitation. The function of the pomelo as the central image in the story is clarifiednear the conclusion when the narrator and his buddies stop by a pomelo vendor’s stall to enjoya post-execution snack. The cheap, sweet pomelos evoke a comparison for the narrator withthe cheap value of Hunan peasant life. The story concludes with his remark, “Hunan pomeloahh! (Just like) the head of the Hunanese! Ahh!!” -D.! JJ\JU!106Wang Luyan’s unique thematic contribution to this period of twentieth-century Chineseliterature are his works about capitalism and the sociological change in the rural/urban interfaceengendered by the new productive forces. As a writer of realism, Wang acknowledged theentrance of capitalism into China, the change in social and economic relations and the effectthat this had on human relations and psychology. Underlying these themes is the concern thatthe new materialism will gradually erode traditional Chinese culture.“On the Bridge” (Qiaoshang, jJ n.d.)’7 is a story about the bankruptcy of a storeowner, Uncle Yixin, due to the forces of mechanization. This piece opens with the arrival ofthe rice-grinding boat in Xuejia village, which Uncle YiXin watches with anticipation. Theboat can hull rice faster and cheaper than the traditional way, and this takes business away105 Anthologized in the collection Lu Yan xuanji 13-21.106 Wang 21.107 Anthologized in Luyan duanpian xiaoshuoji: 345-366.Nativism Chap. One56from Yixin and his store. Out of desperation, Yixm adjusts his rate in order to remain on a parwith that of the boat but ultimately he cannot compete. In the last analysis, Uncle Yixin’sbankruptcy can be attributed both to his old-fashioned mode of operation and to external forceslying beyond his control.108Wang Luyan’s “Gold” is a more explicit example of commerce and its effects on humanrelations. This story attracted the attraction of Mao Dun who commented that, in contrast to LuXun’s characters who are all from old China, Wang Luyan’s have already begun to feel theeffects of industrialism and commercialism.1 Mao Dun’s position about capitalism is clear:he refers to it as the “destruction of the village economy by industrialized civilization”flJ1jj’. Mao Dun also remarked that “Gold” is one of the few stories of its time todescribe village callousness and the psychology of the petty bourgeois.”°The protagonist in “Gold,” as I mentioned earlier, was once a successful, respected manin his community of Chensiqiao, but today he is destitute. Rushi Bobo has retired from his joband has entrusted his son with the support of himself and of the other members of his family.The son remits money faithfully on a monthly basis until the twelfth month when the expectedcheque fails to arrive. The village buzzes with rumours, and Rushi Bobo and his familybecome the butt of ridicule and derision, all of which is due to the loss of the customaryremittance. Rushi Bobo is denied his usual seat of honour at a village banquet, their youngestdaughter is bullied in school and the family’s faithful dog, Laifa, is killed by a local hoodlum.The village’s pettiness and hypocrisy is summed up by the eldest daughter who points outcaustically: “If one has money, they come to you and respect you like a god. If you’re poor,108 Mechanization and the gradual disappearance of traditional ways are the thematic subject matter of Lu Heruo’s“Oxcart” (Niu che, 1935) which was written during the Japanese colonial period in Taiwan (1895-1945).This story is about an oxcart driver who fmds he has become superannuated by the introduction of themechanized pedicab into Taiwanese society.109 Fang Bi [Mao Dun], “Wang Luyan lun,” Xiaoshuo yuebao, 19:1 (1928): 171.110 Ibid.Nativism Chap. One57they’ll turn their backs on you and laugh coldly at you, ridicule you and insult you heartlesslyto no end.” lIfl th1PJ’, IIT;I1]’,1th1 iW*IJiIn brief, the unhappy denouement of this family isattributed in part to the validation of money over other more traditional values in the newmonetary social system. The fact that this aspect of Chinese society is historically new couldbe called into question; nonetheless, “Gold” represents one of the first few instances in whichthis issue is treated as a theme in Chinese fiction. “Gold” ends with a dream in which RushiBobo finally receives a huge remittance from his son, and the villagers flock to his house toreverently kowtow.The final phase of Wang Luyan’s fiction in which he began writing revolutionaryliterature coincided with the dramatic events in the Chinese countryside in the wake of theKMT-CCP (1927) split. After the failure of the Chinese Communists to ignite a proletarianrevolution in the urban centres, they pursued an independent course in the countryside whichled to the peasant movements in Hunan and Kiangsi. Wang’s works of this period reflect thispeasant revolutionary movement. If there is a trend toward revolutionary realism in his worksit is thus apparent only during this phase.Wang Luyan continued to write during the onset of the war with Japan and into the firstyears of the 1940s. Irony, which was the characteristic feature of Wang’s xiangtu wenxue ofthe 1920s, has been completely subsumed in these novels by the themes of foreign aggression,class contradictions and the national struggle. The appearance of these themes was also a clearsign that Wang Luyan had joined the ranks of China’s leftist writers-- Jiang Guangci, ShaDing, Mao Dun, Wu Zuxiang and Ye Zi-- and had begun writing revolutionary literaturestructured around Mao Dun’s formula of the “struggle against fate.” The themes of these otherwriters, on the other hand-- the violence of Guomindang (KMT) politics, the deepeningimpoverishment of the peasants and the peasants’ organized class struggle-- indicated that111 WangLuyan 123.Nativism Chap. One58Chinese revolutionary fiction of the 1930s was not entirely divorced from the earlier villagethemes of the 1920s, primarily because of the continued use of the rural setting and peasantcharacterization as props for the dramatic concerns of these works. On the basis of this link, infact, one can conclude that the xiangtu wenxue of the 1920s contributed in many ways to thedevelopment of Chinese fiction of the 1930s, and that Chinese revolutionary fiction of the1930s was a new form of expression derived from the xiangtu wenxue of the 1920s. Thisevolution parallels the dramatic fictional development of Wang Luyan and his shift over to therevolutionary camp. At the same time, xiangtu wenxue in other parts of China continued toexhibit the various modes of expression of the earlier period of xiangtu wenxue, such as theheroic mode of Shen Congwen which was established earlier in Wang Luyan’s “Fishing” andthe realist mode of Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue, concerned primarily with the themes ofcommercialism and industrialism and the erosion of traditional values, which were alsoestablished earlier in Wang Luyan’s “On the Bridge” and “Gold.” The reemergence of thesemodes and themes in later periods of xiangtu wenxue signified the continued vitality of theruralist mode in the development of Chinese fiction. I discuss these themes and modes insubsequent chapters of this dissertation.Nativism Chap. Two59Chapter TwoTaiwanese Xiangtu wenxue and the Legacy of ColonialismE’en now, methinks, as pondering here I standI see the rural virtues leave the land.-Oliver Goldsmith, “The Deserted Village”But when amid such pleasing scenes I traceThe poor laborious natives of the place,And see the mid-day sun, with fervid ray,On their bare heads and dewy temples play;While some, with feebler heads and fainter hearts,Deplore their fortune, yet sustain their parts:Then shall I dare these real ills to hideIn tinsel trappings of poetic pride?-George Crabbe, “The Village”Taiwan, separated from China by the one hundred and fifty kilometers of theTaiwan Straits, also experienced a genesis of xiangtu wenxue in the decade of the 1920s.The circumstances surrounding the emergence of xiangtu wenxue in Taiwan, however,were quite different from those in China because Taiwan was a Japanese colony at thistime, and the first forms of this literature were directed primarily at Japanese colonialrule.1 Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue grew out of the vernacular period of Taiwan’s NewLiterature Movement (Taiwan xin wenxue yundong (1920-1937)which overlapped with Japan’s liberal Taishô era (19 12-1926). During this period,stories, poems and plays from the May Fourth period in China were introduced intoTaiwan through the medium ofjournals such as Taiwan minbao This journal,1 Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895 under the Treaty of Shimonoseki following China’s defeat in the firstSino-Japanese war (1894-1895). The Japanese colonial government ruled Taiwan for fifty years until Japanwas forced to renounce its colonies at the end of World War II.Nativism Chap. Two60aptly described as the “Taiwan version of the May Fourth Movement,”reprinted works by Bing Xin, Lu Xun and Hu Shi, among whom Lu Xun wasperhaps the most influential in the formation of Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue trend.2 Thistrend in Taiwan began with the realist works of the Taiwanese writer Lai He1(1894-1943)-- the “Lu Xun of Taiwan”-- and continued with stories by LU Heruo g(1914-1947), Yang Kui j11906-1985), Long Yingzong (1911- ) and Zhong Lihe1 f1J (1915-1960). Lai He and his stories signified that Taiwanese fiction had madethe transition to a socially-engaged literature, one devoted almost exclusively to exposingthe excesses and oppression of Japanese colonial rule. With Lai He, too, xiangtu wenxuebecame the main literary trend in Taiwan during the period from 1926 to 1937.The works by Taiwan’s writers of xiangtu wenxue of the Japanese period arecharacterized by a discourse which is anti-colonialist and nationalistic. The peasant inthese stories figures as a colonized subject, held in bondage by political andsocioeconomic forces typical of colonial power in any subject country. This discourse ledcertain Taiwanese critics to place Taiwan among the ranks of nations referred to inChinese as the “weak and small nations” (ruoxiao minzu guojia specifically,the countries of Eastern Europe such as Poland and Hungary.3 These countries share ahistory of oppression and domination similar to Taiwan, and the peoples of thesecountries likewise struggled for freedom against this oppression. The themes ofnationalism, patriotism, heroism, and the issues of national revolution and national2 Ye Rongzhong, et al, Taiwan minzu yundongshi (Taipei: Xuehai chubanshe, 1979): 544.Jane Parish Yang lists Bing Xin’s short story “The Loner” (Chaoren); Lu Xun’s stories “My Old Home,”“Dairy of a Madman” (Kuangren riji), “The True Story of A Q”; and Hu Shi’s play “Can’t be Spoken”(Shuobuchu) among the first May Fourth works to be reprinted in Taiwan. (Jane Parish Yang, “TheEvolution of the Taiwanese New Literature Movement From 1920 to 1937, diss. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1981: 64-67.)3 This is the opinion of, for instance, Xu Nancun (pseudonym of Chen Yingzhen), “Xiangtu wenxue’ demangdian,” Xiangtu wenxue taolunji (hereafter abbreviated as Taolunji), Yu Tianzhong, ed., Yuanjingcongkan 3 (Taipei:Yuanjing chuban shiye gongsi, 1978): 95.Nativism Chap. Two61identity in the literature of these European countries rang a bell for intellectuals of Chinasuch as Zhou Zuoren who saw in them a means to awaken the Chinese masses into anawareness of China’s plightin the first and second decades of this century. Zhou andother intellectuals were led by these themes in European literature to translate many ofthese works into Chinese for the purpose of making them available for the Chinesereading public and for “transforming society.”4 Though only a few of these works werereprinted in Taiwan journals,5 the images of oppression, awakening and resistance inTaiwan’s xiangtu wenxue can be traced derivatively to May Fourth realist fiction and tothese translated European works. The nationalistic discourse in these works once againreflects the Chinese authorial tendency since May Fourth to privilege the nation above allother interests.Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue of the 1920s is similar in many ways to its counterpart inChina. The peasant and rural motifs in this fiction can be traced to Lu Xun’s use of thesemotifs in his own writing, to his obsessive concerns with rural traditionalism and to hisperception of Chinese village life as constituting the heart of Chinese traditionalism. Moregenerally, these motifs in xiangtu wenxue also stem from the perception on the part of theChinese intellectual of the village as a microcosm of Chinese social and political life.According to this view, everything that happens on the macro or national level-- thedynamics of cultural and social life and the interactions of political and economic power --is telescopically played out in the arena of village life. In short, the village constitutes amini configuration of national life. In Lai He’s fiction, the setting of the village providesthe stage for the fictional dramatization of the operations of colonial power, the recreationIrene Eber, “Images of Oppressed Peoples and Modem Chinese Literature,” in Modern Chinese Literature inthe May Fourth Era: 130.See Bonnie S. McDougall, The Introduction of Western Literary Theories into Modern China, 1919-1925(Tokyo, 1971) for a more complete study of the iranslation and introduction of Western literature into ChinaFor example, Alphonse Daudet’s “La Demier Class” and Guy deMaupassant’s “Deux Amis” were reprinted inTaiwan minbao in May, 1923 and March, 1924, respectively.Nativism Chap. Two62of colonial systems of control and the colonization of the peasant as an imperial Japanesesubject. The issues of national identity and the psychological processes involved in thecolonization of the subject, on the other hand, are themes in the fiction of Long Yingzongand Yang Kui.A final point to be mentioned concerning Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue is the absenceof themes of Chinese cultural iconoclasm such as in Lu Xun’s fiction and in the firstgroup of Chinese xiangtu wenxue stories of the 1920s. The reasons for this lie inTaiwan’s separate historical development as an island frontier on the periphery of theChinese geocultural land mass. Chinese national and cultural forms and institutions cameto Taiwan only during the period of the Qing prior to the island’s cession to Japan. Itscultural development thus took place not just as a part of China but as a colony of Japanand, more recently, as the close “younger brother,” metaphorically speaking, of theUnited States. In Taiwanese realist literature, which includes xiangtu wenxue, Taiwan’sstatus and its relations with the Other, particularly Japan and the United States, is ofgreater concern than issues of culture per se.6 Accordingly, questions of colonial powerand the Taiwanese national identity take precedence over issues of cultural iconoclasm.One of the first major short stories of Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue is Lai He’s“Steelyard” (Yi gan chengzi — l926).’ This stoiy features a vendor by thename of Qin Deshen and his encounter with a Japanese colonial policeman who representsthe Japanese Other in this story. Qin has happily come into possession of a new steelyard6 Taiwan’s exile literature, (by writers such as Yu Lihua or Bai Xianyong who write about life in the ChinaMainland prior to 1949 or about the Chinese living in exile in Taiwan or in the U.S.), Taiwanesemodernism of the 1950s (see fin. 22) and Taiwan’s current post-modernist fiction are more directly concernedwith culture.‘“Steelyard” was first printed in the February 14 and 21, 1926 issues of Taiwan minbao; it is currentlyanthologized in Yi gan chengzi: Guangfu qian Taiwan wenxue quanji, Ye Shitao, Zhong Zhaozheng, eds.,Yuanjing congkan 126 (Taipei: Yuanjing, 1979), 1: 57-70.Unlike some of the other writers during this period, Lai He persisted in writing in Chinese, in spite of thedifficulties this entailed in Japanese colonial Taiwan. His creative process underwent two phases: he firstwrote in the classical language then translated this into the vernacular.Nativism Chap. Two63with clearly-inscribed markings, and he launches upon his new business feeling assuredthat the steelyard complies with the rigorous standards of the colonial-government in therealm of weights and measures. The Japanese colonial government was felt in all spheresof life in colonial Taiwan-- all movement and conduct, the story relates “fell withoutexception into the realm of interference and prohibition by law.”4i8 Thus, Qin is particularly anxious to comply with these regulations where hisbusiness interests are concerned. Later that same day, however, Qin still falls prey to thearbitrary practices of the Japanese colonial police which reinforce the irony andpowerlessness of the colonized subject who attempts to circumvent colonial power. Qinis accused by the policeman of falsifying the markings on the steelyard and is fined threeyuan. When he refuses to pay, he is sentenced to three days in jail. “Steelyard”concludes with the murder of a Japanese policeman and Qin Deshen’s suicide. From apostscript which Lai He appends to the story, the author credits Anatole France’s“Crainquebille” [1904] for inspiration in writing this story.9 The closely interlockingthemes, that is, the intertextual nature of “Steelyard” and this earlier European short storyreflects the influence of European literature on the growth of Taiwanese fiction.Lu Heruo’s “Oxcart” (Niu che [“Gyüsha” in the original Japanese], l935)’° isalso an account of a Taiwanese colonial subject and his ironic encounter with a Japanesepoliceman. The protagonist in this story, like Qin Deshen in “Steelyard,” also symbolizesthe oppressed colonial struggling against the autocratic, arbitrary practices of colonialrule.8 LaiHe6l.Lai He states: “Recently, I have had occasion to mad Anatole Frances’s ‘Crainquebille,’ and I came to realizethat this type of incident is not confined to undeveloped countries oniy but can arise in any place where thepower of force holds sway.” (Lai 67-68.)Anatole France’s story is about a French costermonger by the name of Crainquebile who is fined by aFrench gendarme as he is selling his wares one day and is subsequently sent to prison.10 Originally published in the Japanese journal Bungaku hyôron in 1935; currently anthologized in Niu che:Guangfu qian Taiwan wenxue quanji, 5: 5-43.Nativism Chap. Two64A second theme of “Oxcart” concerns the erosion of Taiwan’s traditional culturethrough the island’s modernization, specifically, industrialism, which was initiallyintroduced into the island during the Japanese colonial period.” The construction ofTaiwan’s comprehensive infrastructure and certain key industries is credited to theJapanese period; however, the Taiwanese also paid a heavy price for this earlyindustrialization, such as uncontrolled urbanization and the deterioration of traditionalvalues. These concerns were increasingly evoked by Taiwanese nativism, and in thedecade of the 1960s the themes of industrialism and commercialism are the exclusivehallmark of Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue. This theme echoes Wang Luyan’s fiction and theincipient nature of industrialism during the 1920s in China.In “Oxcart,” the carter Yang Tianding discovers that he is being slowlysuperannuated by the mechanized pedicab which has just been introduced into Taiwanesesociety along with other signs of industrialization. Yang increasingly finds that he isunable to compete with the faster-moving vehicles in the booming transport business,and, eventually, he coerces his wife into prostitution in a desperate attempt to avoidstarvation. As the couple’s domestic life deteriorates, Yang’s hopelessness also deepens.Totally demoralized, Yang Tianding falls asleep on top of his oxcart one day. He isawakened by a Japanese policeman who fines him one dollar for violating this colonial11 The link between colonialism and modernization is a generally recognized one. See, for instance, The Riseand Growth of the Colonial Port Cities in Asia, ed. Dilip K. Basu ed., Monograph Series No. 25, Centrefor South and Southeast Asian Studies, Berkeley, California (Lanham: University Press of America, 1985)for a study of the genesis and economic development of Asian cities under European colonialism. SeeRamon H. Myers and Mark R. Peattie, eds., The Japanese Colonial Empire (Princeton, N.J.: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1984) for a comprehensive account of the Japanese developmental policies in Taiwan andother colonies during the half-century of the Japanese empire.See ftn. 8, p. xi of the Introduction for my usage of modernization.The fact that the Japanese are credited with laying the founthtions for Taiwan’s post-war, juggernaut-likeeconomy is not meant to discount the earlier efforts to modernize the island under the progressiveadministration of Liu Mingchuan during the Qing period. Liu governed Taiwan from 1885-1889, and duringthis time he reorganized the administration and fiscal systems of the island, rebuilt the coal mining industry,shipping, telecommunications and Taiwan’s railway. (Samuel C. Chu, “Liu Ming-ch’uan andModernization [sic]of Taiwan,” Journal ofAsian Studies 23:1 [November 1963]: 37-53.)Nativism Chap. Two65prohibition, that is, sitting on the cart, and, spurred on by his mounting desperation, hesteals a goose in order to pay the fine. The story closes with Yang and his goose fleeinginto the market place, hotly pursued by another Japanese policeman who, the readerpresumes, will present yet another jail sentence to this victim of colonial rule.Taiwan’s relations with the Japanese Other are intensified in Long Yingzong’s“Village of Papaya Trees” (Thi you muguashu de xiao then 1J,1937),12 which deals primarily with the theme of national identity. The protagonist inthis story experiences an identity crisis as a result of adopting a Japanese lifestyle. Doingthis, he assumes, would make him privy to certain key advantages otherwise denied himif he were to retain his Taiwanese nationality. Under the colonial-government’s policy ofgradual assimilation (zenka), the colonized Taiwanese were compelled to speak Japaneseand to take on Japanese surnames.13 The goal of this policy was to make the Taiwaneseinto loyal Japanese subjects and thus worthy of membership in the Japanese empire. Thispolicy engendered an attitude of subservience on the part of the majority of the colonizedTaiwanese population, many of whom renounced the mores and manners associated withtheir native nationality. This issue and the exaggerated depiction of the “despicable”qualities associated with the Taiwanese nationality is the theme in this story by LongYingzong.“Village of Papaya Trees” opens with the description of a little Taiwanese village.The sole merit of this hot, filthy little town and its crowded, dark alleyways stinking withurine and ravaged by termites is an abundance of tall, graceful papaya trees. The12 Originally published in the Japanese journal Kaizô in 1937; anthologized in Zhi you mugua shu de xiaozhen: Guangfu qian Taiwan wenxue quanji, 7: 5-63.13 This policy was adopted by the Japanese government in 1896 after considerable debate in the Japanese diet.(See Chen Ching-chih, “The Evolution of Japanese Assimilation Policy in Colonial Taiwan,” PaperPresented at the XXVIII Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Toronto, Canada [March 19-21, 1976] for a comprehensive account of the assimilation policy of the Japanese government in Taiwan.)With the move toward Japanese militarism in the 1930s, the gradualist policy gave way to theImperialization or Japanization (kominka undo ) program which aimed to make the Taiwanese loyal subjectsof Japanese imperial rule.Nativism Chap. Two66inhabitants of this town are sunk in sloth and self-indulgence, which is exacerbated by thecopious number of prostitutes in the town. In this environment, upward mobility ispossible only through the adoption of a Japanese lifestyle, and it is toward this end thatChen Yousan devotes his life. Chen vows to study hard and to ascend upward throughTaiwan’s social ranks by way of the civil service examination He wears only Japaneseattire and speaks only Japanese, and thus he avoids identification with the Taiwanese whorank as the despicable natives in the colonial pecking order. Chen lists the “contemptible”qualities of the Taiwanese as follows:They’re a stingy crowd, lacking in cultivation, common and dirty, andaren’t they his compatriots? Those old grannies with bound feet who bitchand curse and fix you with their furious stares, and all because of a dime;those crafty, wheedling businessmen who will go a lifetime withoutspending a penny but when it comes to a wedding or funeral will borrowmoney hand over fist in order to have a good time These people werelike the worst kind of weed, grasping and multiplying in the sordid, uglierparts of existence.14Isolated by his academic aspirations and mocked by his colleagues as a Don Quixote,Chen Yousan eventually undergoes a spiritual decline. Towards the conclusion of “TheVillage of Papaya Trees,” he turns to drink and becomes infected by the inertia of thetown. Gradually, by sinking to the level of bestiality characteristic of his compatriots, he“returns ...to his [Taiwanese] nationality.” 5j.5The last story I include in this discussion of Taiwanese colonial xiangtu wenxue isYang Kui’s “Paperboy” (SongbaofuI*[“Shinbun haitatsufu” in the originalJapanese], 1932)16 This story most exemplifies the epithet of “literature of resistance”14 LongYingzongl9.15 Ibid42.16 Originally published in Japanese in 1932 in Xinminbao; currently anthologized in Yang, Kui, E mamachujia (Taipei: Huagu shucheng, 1978): 77-135.Nativism Chap. Two67which some Taiwanese critics use to refer to this period of Taiwanese literature.17 Thisholds true for “Paperboy” because this story is a rare account of a Taiwanese nationalwho actually attempts to throw off the trammels of colonial rule. In this semi-autobiographical account, the young protagonist by the name of Yang comes to anunderstanding of the plight of his country under Japanese occupation while he is living asa worker-student in Japan. Eventually, he joins an underground resistance movementwhich is organized by a Japanese communist. The narrative process of Yang’spoliticization is intermingled with flashbacks which reveal the tragic events suffered bythe boy’s village back home in Taiwan. The narrative reveals that during the time of hisfather’s generation, their village was destroyed by the Japanese sugar cartel’s practice ofland enclosure. 18 The villagers lost their land and many were killed, including Yang’sfather. The village itself fell apart, and when Yang came of age he felt impelled to travelto Tokyo in order to chart a course for his future life. At the conclusion of “Paperboy,”Yang returns to “Formosa,” which was the island’s name prior to Japanese rule. Thenarrative ends by concluding that, though beautiful on the exterior, Formosa is actually“rotten like a canker” the poison of Japanese imperialism.’9In the year 1937 war broke out with Japan following the Marco Polo Incident inChina. In Taiwan, the Kôminka undo program (Imperialization of Subject Peoples)2°17 The critic Ye Shitao, for instance, maintains that Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue of the colonial period reflects themany experiences of resistance inherent in the political and social movements of this period. (Ye Shitao,“Taiwan xiangtu wenxueshi daolun,” in Taolunji: 87.)18 The various Japanese sugar interests came together in 1909 to form the Taiwan Sugar Association. Thiscartel reaped huge interests from its operations in Taiwan during the colonial period. Jack F. Williams’article entitled “Sugar: The Sweetener in Taiwan’s Development,” in Ronald 0. Knapp, ed., China’s IslandFrontier: Studies in the Historical Geography of Taiwan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1980):219-25 1 is an excellent account of the operations of the Japanese sugar cartel in Taiwan.19 Yang Kui 135. I have given this final sentence a liberal translation.20 The Kôminka undo program accompanied Japan’s launch into militarization. This was, in effect, anintensification of the earlier assimilation policy designed to transform the Taiwanese into “loyal Japanesesubjects” through the promotion of the Japanese language and other programs designed to inculcate loyaltyto the Japanese state. (See Chen Ching-chih, “The Evolution of the Japanese Assimilation Policy inColonial Taiwan.”)Nativism Chap. Two68implemented in that year seriously curtailed the type of themes which had hithertocharacterized xiangtu wenxue, not to mention other forms of dissatisfaction with Japanesecolonial rule. In that year, too, the Chinese literary supplements of local newspapers andjournals such as the Taiwan minbao were banned, making further publication in Chinesenext to impossible. This period of Taiwanese literary and cultural development was briefnonetheless, it was also sufficient to allow the Taiwanese to find their voice, to establishlinks with the social and literary movements of China and to construct a firm foundationfor the later development of Taiwanese fiction. In sum, the tone and many of the issuesarticulated in the fiction of this period provided a model for Taiwan’s subsequent literarydevelopment.Prelude to ModernityDuring the post-war period, after Japan relinquished Taiwan and its other colonies,Taiwanese literature developed in a number of different ways. In one way or another,however, all of this literature, including the xiangtu wenxue which reemerged in the1960s, was associated with modernity.Modernization came to Taiwan relatively early compared to other Chinesegeocultural areas, and this is credited primarily to Japanese colonial rule. When thecolonial period was over, Taiwan experienced a new period of economic growth underthe patronage of the United States. Taiwan today has one of the highest per capita GNPrates in the world, a fact which cannot be overlooked when we examine the existing linkbetween Taiwanese literary expression and the intimate, diverse effects of modernity onpeople’s lives. The referential aspect of Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue allows for itsclassification as a type of Chinese realism.Nativism Chap. Two69The referential aspect of Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue also differentiates this fictionfrom Taiwan’s modernist literary discourse of the 1950s.21 Wang Tuo and otherlikeminded writers and critics disparaged the “wholesale Westernization” (quanpan xihuaof Taiwanese literature under Modernism (xiandaizhuyi IJft ), the byproduct, they maintained, of Taiwan’s neocolonialist status under American patronage.This status, they felt, was to blame for the loss of national dignity, the erosion of nativetraditions and, most importantly, the importation of a “compradore” culture which hadlittle connection with real life in Taiwan.22 Wang Tuo was one of the more vocal criticswho advocated the death of Modernism and the regeneration of a more nativist discourseafter the fashion of that already established during the Japanese period. A nativistdiscourse, Wang maintained, would more closely reflect the lives of the Taiwanesepeople. Wang’s recommendation is as follows:In order to put a stop to this trend of the blind Westernization ofliterature and scholarship, and in order to concern ourselves withthe life of Taiwan’s farmers and labourers, we advocate thedevelopment of our own national literature. We suggest thatliterature must be bound with the soil and with the people. This isthe essential spirit of xiangtu wenxue.21 Modernism was introduced into Taiwan through the urban centre of Taipei; it was thus a result of Taiwan’sincreasing urbanization and urban-rural split. The term “Modernism” applies to a number of Westernliterary modes imported into Taiwan during the 1950s and early 1960s when Taiwan was culturally isolatedand when US-Taiwan relations and cross-cultural exchange underwent an expansion. These “fashionableWestern isms” or “the products of the depraved stage of Western capitalism” as they were designated by thecritic Jiang Xun, were introduced “wholesale and compradore-like” into Taiwan via the Department ofForeign Languages and Literature at National Taiwan University. (Jiang Xun “Taiwan xieshiwenxuezhong xinqi de daode liiang,” Introduction to Wang Tuo’s Wang jun zao guei [Taipei: Yuanjingchubanshe, 19771: ii.) Joseph S.M. Lau defmes these isms as “symbolism, surrealism, existentialism,futurism, modernism, phenomenalism, etc.” and elaborates that, having no idols of their own, the“disinherited Taiwanese writers” made use of these isms in order to create a tradition of their own. (JosephS.M. Lau, “How Much Truth Can a Blade of Grass Carry?’: Ch’en Ying-chen and the Emergence of NativeTaiwanese Writers,” Journal ofAsian Studies, 4 [19731: 623.)22 Many of these sentiments intensified to fever pitch during the late 1970s. The xiangtu wenxue movementand debates (xiangtu wenxue zhenglun) of the years 1977-78 are discussed further in Chapter Five.23 Wang Tuo, “Xiangtu wenxue jiu shi Taiwan wenxue,” Jiushi niandai, 6 (1988): 89.Nativism Chap. Two70Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue did indeed evolve as the dominant trend in Taiwanthroughout the decades of the 1960s and 1970s. Leo Ou-fan Lee affirms that in acomparison with modernism, with “its social and humanistic concerns, its realist mode,[xiangtu wenxue] comes much closer to the tradition of modern Chinese flction.” Atthe same time, however, the development of xiangtu wenxue is in some measure still dueto the fertile medium of Modemism.Modernity initially came to Taiwan with its installation as an agricultural appendageto Japan in line with Japan’s developmental policy.26 Through this policy, Japanacquired a cheap source of foodstuff with which to feed its rising industrial populationand also an export surplus which could then be reinvested into the island.27 As aconsequence of this policy, Taiwan was supplying Japan with between six to sevenpercent of its rice requirement by the end of the 1930s.28The most successful and profitable agricultural industry during Taiwan’s colonialperiod was sugar. Sugar was an excellent means whereby Japan improved itsunfavourable balance of trade, and at the turn of the century, Japan’s imports of sugarexceeded its total exports by ten percent.29 The impact that this industry exerted on locallife is graphically recounted in Yang Kui’s “Paperboy.” As this story pointed out, thecontrol of the sugar industry by the Japanese cartel spelled exclusion for the Taiwanese.24 Leo Ou-fan Lee, “Modernism’ and Romanticism’ in Taiwan Literature,” in Chinese Fictionfrom Taiwan21.25 Wang Zhenhe and Chen Yingzhen, for example, were both graduates of the Department of ForeignLanguages and Literature at National Taiwan University, yet both became writers of xiangtu wenxue.26 Samuel P.S. Ho, Economic Development of Taiwan, 1860-1970 (New Haven and London: Yale UniversityPress, 1978) 29.27 Ibid.28 Samuel P.S. Ho, “The Development Policy of the Japanese Colonial Government in Taiwan, 1895-1945,”in Government and Economic Development, ed. Gustav Ranis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971) 327.29 Andrew Grajdanzev, Formosa Today: An Analysis ofEconomic Development and Strategic Importance ofJapan’s Tropical Colony (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1942) HRAF AD1, 003Nativism Chap. Two71In fact, Taiwanese participation in this industry was limited to that of cane-grower only.3°The sugar-producing parts of the island were divided into supply areas by governmentdecree in 1905 which had the effect of making the sugar companies monopsonistic, and afew years later in 1909, the cartel, the Japanese Sugar Association, was formed.31 Byexercising exclusive power to regulate prices, the Japanese not only earned great profitsfrom their “hothouse industry”-- from twenty to forty percent of paid-up capital-- butthrough the confiscation of land, they also ultimately acquired ten percent of all Taiwanesefarmland.32During the 1930s, Japanese capitalists on the island were motivated by Japan’s warpreparations to diversify Taiwan’s economy. The objectives at this time were to producemanufactured goods previously imported from Japan and to supply industrial rawmaterials for Japan’s heavy industry.33 As Japan’s foreign policy became increasinglyexpansionist in the mid-1930s, Taiwan’s economic relations became redirected towardsouth and southeast Asia. Taiwan, nicknamed the “stone aimed at the south,” becameviewed as a natural stepping-stone southward in Japan’s construction of the Greater EastAsia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The establishment of the Taiwan Electrical Company, theJapan Aluminum Company, the Taiwan Technological Society and the TaiwanDevelopment Corporation all took place at this time.34The implementation and maintenance of Japan’s economic policies in Taiwan wereaccompanied by a harsh system of social and political controls designed to wear downlocal resistance. The primary props of colonial power were the Bandit SuppressionOrdinance, put in place at the outset of colonial rule, the baojia which was a traditionally30 Jack F. Williams, “Sugar: The Sweetener in Taiwan’s Development” 231.31 Ho, Economic Development 38.32 Williams 234.3 Ho, “Development Policy” 324.Ramon H. Myers, “Taiwan as an Imperial Colony of Japan: 1895-1945,” Journal of the Institute of ChineseStudies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 6 (1973): 438.Nativism Chap. Two72Chinese rural community organization aligned along household groups for thepreservation of peace and local control, and the posting of large numbers of police in thecolony.35 While the baojia was a neighbourhood system of mutual spying, the policesystem was a heavy-handed measure designed to eliminate all residual forms of resistanceleft over from the initial period of the Japanese takeover.36 All of these policies-- thepolicy of economic exclusion and the policies of social and political controls on the island,not to mention the fact that the colonized population also suffered a drop in real wages anda lower consumption of rice due to the high export of this product to Japan37 -- constituteevidence that the native Taiwanese sustained heavy social and economic costs brought tothem by the colonization of their island.The Taiwanese population responded to the harsh colonial conditions with demandsfor reform. These demands were channelled through various social and politicalmovements, whose existence was possible only due to the liberalized Taishô atmosphereThe Bandit Suppression Ordinance made the death penalty mandatory for any two persons who acted as agroup to commit violence. (Edward 1-te Ch’en, “Formosan Political Movements Under Japanese ColonialRule, 1914-1937,” Journal ofAsian Studies, 31:3 [1972]: 482.)The baojia was reintroduced into Taiwan in 1898 under the Kodama-Gotô administration, the fourthgovernor-general and his administrator who governed Taiwan from 1898 to 1906. Under this system as itwas practised in colonial Taiwan approximately ten households joined together to form a unit called ajia andten jia made up a bao. (Chen Ching-chih,”The Adaptation of the Pao-chia Systems in Taiwan, 1895-1915,”Journal ofAsian Studies, 34 (1975): 396.The police, called the “hands and feet of the governor-general,” were so numerous that Taiwan caine to becalled a polizeistaat. (Shi Ming, Taiwan ren sibai nianshi [San Jose, Ca.: Pengdao wenhua gongsi, 19801:269.) Prior to 1925 there were one hundred policemen for every five hundred persons, and even in the late1930s, this ratio was much higher than in Japan. (Chen Ching-chih, “The Police and Hokô Systems inTaiwan Under Japanese Administration (1895-1945),” Papers on Japan 4, ed. Albert Craig [Cambridge,Mass.: Harvard East Asian Research Centre, 19761: 154.) Mochiji Rokusaburô, who once served in thecolonial-government in Taiwan, attributed the success of the colony to its development as a police state.(Mochini Rokusabuiô, Taiwan shokumin seisaku [Tokyo: Fuzambo, 19121: 67-68.)36 At the outset of the Japanese Occupation, the local population waged a five-month war of resistance againstthe incoming colonizing forces which was followed by nine major anti-Japanese rebellions during the years1907 and 1915. (See Harry H. Lamley, “The 1895 War of Resistance: Local Chinese Efforts Against aForeign Power,” in Taiwan: Studies in Chinese Local History, ed. Leonard H.D. Gordon, Occasional Papersof the East Asian Institute of Columbia University [New York: Columbia University Press, 1970]: 93-110.)Ho, Economic Development 93, 96.Nativism Chap. Two73of the decade of the 1920s. These demands included a lobby for the repeal of Law 63,38which would terminate the Bandit Suppression Ordinance and the baojia, and later becamea movement to demand a separate legislature on Taiwan. The best-known of the socialmovements was the Taiwan Cultural Association whose mandate was to promote nativeculture on the island and which also attempted to carry out various types of social andeducational reform. The Association struggled throughout its history with policeharassment and arrests and ultimately became involved with the Taiwan PeasantMovement (1923-1932). The literature which emerged during this period was onlyone link in the entire social and political reform movements which characterized theTaiwan New Literature Movement. With the onset of the Pacific war and thereinstatement of military rule on Taiwan in 1937 these movements and Taiwanese-runjournals were forced to disband. However, during the short time in which they existed,they unmistakably signalled the first stirrings of a national identity which, ironically,arose as the product of Japanese efforts to assimilate or “Japanize” the nativepopulation.4° This sense of identity gained in strength throughout the post-war decades.In the post-war period when Taiwan was recovered from Japan, the islandexperienced considerable economic expansion under primarily American patronage. Withthe victory of the Chinese Communists in the mainland of China, the United Statesadministration conceived of a need for a bastion against Communist expansion in thedefense perimeter in the western Pacific. Taiwan, strategically located close to theChinese mainland, was perfect for this role. Accordingly, during the years 1951 to 1965,the United States carried out a 1.4 billion dollar aid program whose aim was to establish38 The governor-general ruled through a system of “delegated legislation” called Law 63 which granted himcomplete legislative powers on the island. (Edward Ch’en 482.)Edward Ch’en 489.40 Taiwan’s situation strongly contrasts with Korea, also a Japanese colony at about this same time, where thefeelings of nationalism and the sense of national identity were much stronger than in Taiwan.Nativism Chap. Two74strong military support on Taiwan.41 As a consequence, this aid abetted the process ofeconomic development which had begun earlier in Taiwan under the Japanese.By 1965 when American aid was terminated, Taiwan’s economy had reached the“take-off’ stage through rapid growth and the increased net domestic saving ratio.42 Theisland’s economy henceforth assumed its present configuration of capitalist free enterprisebased on foreign trade which advanced from an emphasis on food processing and textilesin the 1950s and 1960s to petrochemical and electronic goods in the 1970s and 1980s.Currently, Taiwan is a major world exporter.Taiwan’s political stability43 and economy attracted a large amount of overseasinvestment, particularly from the United States and Japan. Certain critics, however, suchas Wang Tuo and Jiang Xun, objected to the neocolonialist and imperialist nature ofTaiwan’s relationship with these countries and referred to Taiwan’s post-war decades as a“second colonial period.” Anti-imperialist sentiment which was incipient during theJapanese period resurfaced in a strong groundswell in the late 1970s. This sentimentbecame increasingly xenophobic until everything that was associated with imperialistdomination, such as capitalism, was denigrated and vilified.In the 1960s, many members of the Taiwanese community, including Taiwan’swriters of xiangtu wenxue, had already begun to react strongly to the developmentalprocess of Taiwan’s social life and economy under Westernization. Taiwan hadmodernized to such a profound degree that industrialism and commercialism touchedalmost every facet of Taiwanese life; even the countryside, regarded as the last bastion of41 Neil Jacoby, U.S. Aid to Taiwan (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966): 38, 39.42 Shirley W. Kwo, The Taiwan Economy in Transition (Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press, 1983): 1.43 The Nationalist government (GMD) instated martial law soon after its arrival in Taiwan in 1947,ostensibly for the purpose of quelling Communist subversion. In reality, however, Martial Law wasintended to quash any potential opposition to Nationalist rule. The effect of Martial Law was to abrogateconstitutional rights and also to create a stable political atmosphere conducive to overseas investment.44 For example, Wang Tuo refers to Taiwan’s “economic colonialism” under the U.S and Japan. (Wang Tuo,•‘Shi ‘xianshizhuyi’ wenxue, bu shi ‘xiangtu wenxue,” in Taolunji: 2293.Nativism Chap. Two75traditional culture, was also affected by the new productive relations. Nonetheless, thesewriters still turned to the countryside and reproduced it metaphorically in their stories asthe last sanctum against the encroachment of Westernization.45 The countryside, whichwas the one remaining place left relatively undefiled by the outside world, represents inthis decade of xiangtu wenxue an ideal, transcendent China extending far back into theroots of Chinese culture. The countryside in these works is the vision of the truth,wisdom and virtue, and the countryfolk, the only folk in present-day Taiwanese societywho coexist with this vision.It may be easier to understand the polarized urban-rural images in Taiwan’s 1960sdecade ofxiangtu wenxue if we compare this fiction with nineteenth-century Britishliterature, much of which is also concerned with the diminishing English rural landscapeand rural values in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. While Oliver Goldsmith waswriting “The Deserted Village,” for instance, the Industrial Revolution in England wastransforming both city and country, creating urban poverty and bringing deterioration tothe rural world.46 Throughout this time, however, and even while the English werepredominantly urban-dwelling people, English attitudes toward the country persisted, somuch so that even after English society was for the most part urban English literatureremained predominantly rural.47Industrialism was the major factor determining English nostalgia toward countrylife. The destruction of the “timeless rhythm of agriculture and the seasons” and the deathof the “organic community” of Old England are documented in Thomas Hardy’s novelsThe writers of Taiwan’s xiangtu wenxue were not the only writers in Taiwan concerned with the effects ofindustrialism and commercialism on Taiwan’s traditional way of life. A strong anti-urban bias is evident inmany other modem works of Taiwan literature. Sima Zhongyuan, Ya Xian, Luo Men, Qi Dengsheng,Xu Jiashi, and Zhang Jian also write about the erosion of traditional rural values, the environmental qualityof life in the urban centres and the challenge of the West. (See James Chan, The Intellectual’s Image of theCity in Taiwan, Papers of the East-West Population Institute, No. 68 [Honolulu, Hawaii: East-WestCentre, May 1980.])46 Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (London: Chatto and Windus, 1973):1.Ibid. 2.Nativism Chap. Two76which refer back to the period between the 1820s and 1870s, that is, to the period of thegreatest rural change. William Cobbett, a writer of the English countryside who stayed indirect touch with the rural England of his time looked back, too, to the “happier,” oldEngland of his boyhood of the 1770s and 1780s. Cobbett was convinced that thedecisive change in the villages of England had occurred during his lifetime. OliverGoldsmith who spent his childhood in the Irish village of Lissoy also lamented the loss ofthe natural beauties of Lissoy and the warm-hearted manners of Lissoy’s inhabitants.In the works of all these writers, precise historical reference to times past is lacking.Instead, what emerges is an idealization of feudal or post-feudal values which is thenturned into a critique of industrialism. Raymond Williams calls this phenomenon“retrospective radicalism” and points out that the “rural-intellectual radicalism” in Englandwas “genuinely and actively hostile to industrialism and capitalism; opposed tocommercialism and to the exploitation of the environment; attached to country ways andfeelings, the literature and the lore.”49 What is held up for idealization by theseradicalists is the “natural” or “moral economy” which served as the foundation forpastoral happiness and virtue in contrast to the ruthlessness of capitalism.In England, the moral values traditionally ascribed to the urban and rural worldswere heightened by the rise of industrialism. The city, for instance, was satirized as earlyas the second century AD by Juvenal (c. 60-c. 160 A.D.), the Roman satirist. Faultedwith the rise of the lawyer, merchant, pimp and procurer, the city, according to Juvenal,exudes the stink of place and profit and exhibits the danger and noise of crowds.50 Themonied order of the city sinks its surplus capital back into the land, thus perpetuating the48 At the time in which Goldsmith was writing, in 1770, the village of Lissoy had been destroyed bythe enclosure of common land by big estates. This compelled the inhabitants to migrate to thetowns or to emigrate.Williams 36.50 Ibid. 47.Nativism Chap. Two77exploiting processes. The country not only must support the city, but the interlockingrelationship between the two dooms the country as a whole to be forever exploited by thecity. Trotsky theorized that the history of capitalism has been the history of the victory oftown over country. Engels also saw the modem city as a social and physical consequenceof capitalism which, in the process, created the potential for ending capitalism through therise of the urban proletariat. In England, those who were made landless by the enclosuremovement became the working class of the new industrial towns and possessed thepotential for revolution. In European fashion, these theorists also denigrated what theyperceived as “rural idiocy,” and extolled the bourgeoisie for rescuing both a part of thelocal population and the “barbarians” in the colonies from the “idiocy of rural life.”In conclusion, visions of modernity in Taiwan in the 1960s are neither unique nornew, given the quasi-archetypal, universal attachment to the rural world found in othertimes and places. This attachment echoes the sentiment of nostalgia for the countrysidefound among Chinese writers; it also echoes Lu Xun’s “cherishing old ties”-- his deepbonds with the roots of Chinese culture located deep in the Chinese countryside. Inshort, Chinese traditional attitudes toward their culture and the conflation of Chineseculture with the rural world are ongoing motifs in modem Chinese and Taiwanese fiction.Where Taiwan’s writers of xiangtu wenxue part company with Lu Xun is in itsvalorization of traditional culture. During Lu Xun’s time, writers did not yet have to dealwith the vulnerability of Chinese culture in the face of the hard facts of modernity; thusthey could afford to be iconoclastic. Unlike their earlier Chinese counterparts, Taiwan’swriters of xiangtu wenxue had undergone at least one decade of rapid, intenseindustrialization. Caught squarely in the throes of modernity, these writers recognized thefragility of their country’s traditions and embraced them, turning a blind eye to the ruralbonds of oppression. The countryside for the writers of xiangtu wenxue was the“stronghold of ‘Chinese consciousness” which protected and nurtured the legacy of pastNativism Chap. Two78traditions.51 At the time I am writing this, however, this question is already in abeyance:many of the perilous issues the writers of xiangtu wenxue raised have disappeared in theprogressive march of a Westernized time into Asia. For a remembrance of things past,one must turn to the fiction for the best record of a culture and a nation in transition.Taiwanese writers of xiangzu wenxue of the 1960sCompared to the English, the consciousness of the Taiwanese people has onlyrecently emerged from a predominantly agrarian orientation. As a result, the newly-modernized urbanites of Taiwan-- those who moved to the cities to work in the factoriesor to start a business --still retain strong ties of identification with their places of origin,whether these are the farming villages of central and southern Taiwan or the fishingvillages along the coastline. These urbanites return on a regular basis to their countryhomes to celebrate traditional festivals or merely to reaffirm their deep ties with thecountryside in line with the centuries-old Chinese tradition. The country also representstheir escape route from the angst, stress and Westernized lifestyle of the cities. From theperspective of sociology, the consciousness of the new Taiwanese urbanite reflects therural-to-the-urban migration patterns common to all countries undergoing modernizationand industrialization.Like their fellow urbanites, Taiwan’s writers of xiangtu wenxue of the 1960s werealso urban sojourners who. retained a strong rural bias. As writers, they shared the samesojouming perspective as China’s xiangtu writers who wrote about their rural villages inthe 1920s. Wang Tuo points out that a number of Taiwanese writers, such as himself,Hwang Chun-ming and Wang Zhenhe I1ij1(l94O-1988) all came from remote farming51 Jing Wang, “Taiwan’s Hsiang-t’u Literature: Perspectives in the Evolution of a LiteraryMovement, in Chinese Fictionfrom Taiwan, ed. Jeannette L. Faurot (Bloomington: IndianaUniversity Press, 1980): 55.Nativism Chap. Two79or fishing villages in Taiwan.52 Wang Tuo, for instance, comes from the fishing villageof Badouzi in Keelong which is the setting of many of his stories; Hwang Chun-ming’shome is located in Luodong, Yilan county; Wang Zhenhe’s origin lies in Hualian; andanother writer, Taiwan’s “worker-writer” Yang Qingchu (1940- ), hails from ahumble background in the remote area of Qigu Village in Tainan. These writers spenttheir childhood in Taiwan’s rural villages and, after migrating to the capital, they began towrite fiction about their old homes. At the same time, they also wrote about the situationof people who had migrated to the urban areas.53 Xiangtu wenxue is thus not merely“literature about the villages” (xiangcun wenxue jj) but also consists ofnarratives about life in the cities and factories. It is for this reason that Taiwanesecritics refer to xiangtu wenxue as “national literature” (minzu wenxueIn a passage which could also be applied to Taiwanese literature, RaymondWiffiams states of English literature that it celebrates the humble and worthy characters ofthe country setting in contrast to their wealthier counterparts in the city.55 He also statesthat the contrast of city and country provides the atmosphere of lamentation for past ruralvirtues which are irrevocably lost. Both these themes--the celebration of humble, ruralcharacters and the sense of nostalgia over the loss of the rural world-- inform Taiwanesexiangtu wenxue. The world of the “little people” from the lower orders of Taiwan societyis a world peopled by those who are either living out the last vestiges of a traditionallifestyle or who are attempting to contend with the onslaught of industrialism which is fastmaking their rural world a thing of the past. These are themes and concerns in the storiesof Hwang Chun-ming.52 Wang Tuo, “Xiangtu wenxue jiu shi Taiwan wenxue” 89.Ibid.Ibid.Williams 72.Nativism Chap. Two80Hwang Chun-mingHwang Chun-ming was among the first of Taiwan’s native writers of the post-warperiod to begin writing xiangtu wenxue. After an earlier period in his writing career inwhich he wrote a number of “lightweight” stories,56 Hwang turned to writing ruralworks which are slice-of-life narratives about rural life and people. A portion of theseshort stories documents the changes to the rural areas engendered by the encroachingurban spread, and the effect that these changes had on Taiwan’s rural lifestyle. Inherentin these changes is a moral dilemma based on the fact that there are certain materialbenefits which accompany the deterioration of traditional values. The question is, how dothese benefits add up when weighed against the loss of a traditional lifestyle? Hwang’sintention is not to solve this dilemma; he merely evokes it through irony and pathos. Inshort, this writer provides us less with a prescriptive answer than a descriptive, anecdotalaccount of what happens when change occurs to the deepest parts of Taiwan society. Asa result, Hwang’s works of this period of his writing have little didacticism, and theyenjoy a wide, enthusiastic readership.The changes that are depicted in Hwang Chun-ming’s short stories are usuallydisruptive: they exercise adverse, even tragic effects on those involved, and they createsituations of angst. Hwang Chun-ming is far from being a sentimental writer, however.On the contrary, he writes humorously and with a flair for storytelling. It is partially forthis reason that he has been compared to the American southern writer William Faulknerand has earned the title of voxpopuli--the spokesperson of the “little people.”57Hwang resembles Faulkner in more ways than his provinciality, however.Faulkner wrote about an agricultural economy, life in the farms and villages of the56 Howard Goldblau calls these stories “lightweight though not unappealing.” (Goldblatt, “The Rural Storiesof Hwang Chun-ming,” in Chinese Fiction from Taiwan: 110.)Ibid.Nativism Chap. Two81American south, the old-fashioned set of values that accompanied this life and its religionwith its cult, creed and norms of conduct, and he contrasted all of this with the life in thegreat cities.58 Like other writers who are associated with a particular region, such asThomas Hardy with Wessex, Faulkner used his regional difference as a vantage pointfrom which to criticize the powerful metropolitan culture, especially its commercialism.59Hwang resembles Faulkner in all of this, in particular, in his recognition of the erosion oftraditional practices and attitudes in Taiwanese society as a result of the spread of urbanculture. The element of nostalgia for Taiwan’s vanishing traditional lifestyle runs like asubtext through Hwang Chun-ming’s works.Hwang Chun-ming was born in the township of Luodong in Yilan county. Thislittle town is the place he knows best; thus, like Lu Xun, Wang Luyan, and other Chinesexiangtu writers who wrote about their old homes in the Chinese countryside, Hwangnaturally sets many of his stories there. “The Gong” (Luo 1968) is one such story.60In Luodong, according to Hwang Chun-ming’s own accounts, there was a gong-beater who may or may not have been named Kam Kim-ah.61 Kam Kim-ah makes hisentrance near the opening of “The Gong,” lamenting his recent social and economicdowngrading into near-obsolescence. Once the “only remaining practitioner of the uniqueprofession of gong beating,”62 .. Kam Kim-ah has beensuperannuated by the loudspeaker-equipped pedicab. This pedicab, like the pedicabs and58 Cleanth Brooks, William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha Country (New Haven: Yale University Press,1963) 1.Ibid. 1, 2.60 Anthologized in Hwang Chun-ming, Luo, Yuanjing congkan 1 (Taipei: Yuanjing chubanshe, 1974) 107-194.61 Hwang Chun-ming has stated “emphatically” on several occasions that such a person existed in hishometown. (Goldblatt 125.)The romanization of the character’s name in “The Gong” follows standard Hokkien.62 Hwang Chun-ming, “The Gong,” in The Drowning of an Old Cat and Other Stories, Tr. Howard Goldblatt(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980): 61.Nativism Chap. Two82trucks in “Oxcart,” signifies that modernization has fmally come to his little rural village.Announcements about lost children or temple festival days that Kam Kim-ah was oncecalled upon to perform have now been taken over by a young man who pedals hismotorized pedicab up and down the streets, maldng announcements louder and coveringmore ground faster. Kam Kim-ah despairs over his fate and attempts to wheedle his wayinto the good graces of another marginalized group-- the town’s funeral mourners-- inorder to recoup his livelihood. Never fully accepted by the group, Kam Kim-ah comes tonear-grief over a scandal involving the local town lunatic and retreats in even greateranguish to the safety of his air-raid shelter. Soon after, Kam is called out of retirement bythe District Headquarters and is instructed to make an announcement about taxes. Carriedaway by enthusiasm, Kam confuses the word “property” in his announcement about taxeswith “propriety” and is promptly fired. “The Gong” concludes with pathos, heighteningthe existential wretchedness of this marginalized, forgotten figure.Hwang Chun-ming is a more regional writer than, for instance, Lu Xun. By this Imean that he writes exclusively about a geographically small area. At the same time,many of Hwang’s characters are as representational and as typically Chinese as LuXun’s. Kam Kim-ah in many ways resembles A Q, that is, he too is a typical ruralEveryman. He also has A Q’s tendency to prevaricate, and his traits of self-deception andself-rationalization mirror A Q’s dearth of self-knowledge. For example, at one point inthe story Kam Kim-ah responds to an inquiry about the reason for his recent firing. Heprevaricates, hedges, and finally rationalizes that what he was announcing was “not goodnews so I just knocked off for a while.”63 Hethen adds that he quit because “beating a gong doesn’t interest me anymore.”64Like A Q, Kam Kim-ah also turns his defeats into moral victories. Sensing63 Ibid. 73.64 Ibid76.Nativism Chap. Two83his rejection by the group of mourners, they become in his eyes “A bunch of old bums,lower than pigs”65 —J Jand, by implication, he is superior. As faras Taiwan’s rural domain is concerned, Kam is typical of many rural Taiwanese. Histypicality, however, stops short of Taiwan’s westernized, urban population.Like “The Gong,” “Drowning of an Old Cat” (Nisi yizhi lao maoalso concerns the erosion of the traditional Chinese lifestyle through the encroachment ofurban spread. The protagonist of this story, Uncle A Sheng (A Sheng Bo), is also amarginalized villager, in this case, one of a group of superannuated old-timers who passtheir days in idle gossip beneath an old banyan tree beside the Temple of the Patriarch.Up until now, the village of Clear Spring has been protected from the fads of the nearbyurban centre, such as mini skirts and discos, by the intervening distance of two and one-half kilometers. What contact it has experienced has been in the form of the town’s elitewho help themselves to the healthful qualities of the village’s natural spring. It soonemerges, however, that plans are afoot in the town to dig up Dragon Eye, the village’shallowed spot, and to construct a swimming pool for the use of the town’s residents. ASheng and the other oldtimers, such as Cow’s Eye and Earthworm, are now witness tothe beginning of the disintegration of their community.Outraged, Uncle A Sheng decides to act. He begins to spout strange, cryptic riddlesand, in his new role of village shaman, assumes supernatural powers that he believes canhalt the construction. Notwithstanding his otherworldly performance, the constructionproceeds as planned. Soon, children beg to be taken swimming, and revealing, two-piecebathing suits make their appearance in the village. It is apparent that the majority of thevillagers have tuned in to the advantages offered by modernity.65 Ibid. 117.66“Drowning of an old Cat” is anthologized in Hwang Chun-ming, Xiao Guafu, Yuangjing congkan 11(Yuanjing chubanshe, 1975) 17-39.Nativism Chap. Two84“The Drowning of an old Cat” concludes in ambiguity. Driven by the urge toprotest, Uncle A Sheng jumps, stark naked, into the pool. But “a cat is not a dog,”67 as the saying goes, and he is dead by the time he is pulled out. Like his previousmegalomania, Uncle A Sheng’s delusions about his powers can do little to halt modernity;in fact, they are as futile as the arm-waving of the mantis in the parable by Zhuangzi.Uncle A Sheng is driven to this act by anguish, the kind of primordial anguish rooteddeep in the collective terror of the unknown. Ultimately, this anguish has compelledUncle A Sheng and the other old-timers in the story to ask this one, overwhelmingquestion: What will happen to all of us when the life we know now is gone?Any discussion of modernity must concern the individual, specifically, the effects ofalienation on the individual which arises during the process of the exchange of labour formoney. In Marx’s view, alienation arises when the social relations of production denycontrol over the means and ends of production to those who labour. The result is thethwarting of self-consciousness and damage to the purposive consciousness of those wholabour.68 In Marx’s view, all forms of industrialism as we now know, transform humanlabour into a mere commodity whose utility lies in extracting a surplus value for thosewho own the means of production; thus, it exercises a dehumanizing and oppressiveeffect. Marx was concerned not only with the economic and philosophic implications ofalienated labour, but also morally with its destructive effects on individuals and on thecollective consciousness.69 Marx’s concepts are summed up as follows:First, ... work is external to the worker, ... it is not part of hisnature; and ..., consequently, he does not fulfill himself in hiswork but denies himself, has a feeling of misery rather than wellbeing, does not develop freely his mental and physical energies but67 Hwang Chun-ming, “The Drowning of an Old Cat,” in The Drowning ofan Old Cat and Other Stories” 35.68 Michael L. Schwalbe, The Psychosocial Consequences ofNatural and Alienated Labor (Albany: StateUniversity of New York Press, 1986) 11.69 Ibid. 12.Nativism Chap. Two85is physically exhausted and mentally debased.... [Work] is notsatisfaction of a need, but only a means for satisfying other needs.Its alien character is clearly shown by the fact that as soon as thereis no physical or other compulsion it is avoided like the plague.7°The alienation of labour and the “damage to the purposive consciousness of thosewho labour” are the subjects of fictionalization in Hwang’s “My Son’s Big Doll” (Erzi deda wanou f)f)2’ As commercialism-industrialism intensified in Taiwan inthe 1950s and 1960s, the new relations of production penetrated as far as the small ruraltownship. “My Son’s Big Doll” relates the kind of alienation that the protagonist, Khunchhiu, experiences when these new relations compel him to sell his labour as a “sandwichman” (guanggaode J-J). One critic comments that the work Khun-chhiu doesprovides him with “neither dignity nor personal satisfaction.”72 However, the cause ofKhun-chhiu’s misery is not so much the type of work he does, which is indeeddehumanising, as its “alien character” which distances Khun-chhiu from himself and hisenvironment.“My Son’s Big Doll” opens with the preamble that the sandwich man was acommon sight in capitalist North America, and that this occupation one day also made itsappearance in this remote part of Taiwan. The “adman”s job consists in displaying twoadboards, fore and aft, which advertise such products as Hundred Herb Tea, tapewormdrugs and movies. The adman, preposterously overdressed in a costume of a nineteenthcentury European military officer, weaves his way through the byways of the town withhis signboards, mechanically and mentally acting out the effects of his commodiflcation.One of these takes form as the subjectivization of his visual perceptions along his way. Asecond is the regurgitation of recent experiences which the adman also attempts to70 Karl Marx, Early Writings [1844], 1963: 124-5, as quoted in Schwalbe 15.71 Anthologized in Luo 3 3-62.72 Howard Goldblatt, “The Rural Stories of Hwang Chun-ming,” in Chinese Fiction from Taiwan: 124.Nativism Chap. Two86subjectivize by replaying over and over his original role as participant in the event. Hisprocess of subjectivization is accompanied by a play of commentary which is recordedparenthetically in the text; these comments are thereby foregrounded and serve todefamiliarize73and compel the reader into an examination of the adman’s unusualcondition. The result of all this narration is a pyrotechnic display of literary devices suchas interior monologue and stream-of-consciousness in a flashback mode, all of which aredevices inherited from Taiwan’s period of Modernism.Like the eye of a camera, Khun-chhiu records visual impressions as though theywere cinematic effects and comments on them through a mode of simultaneousnarration.74 Khun-chhiu’s main preoccupation on his lonely journey, however, lies inthe random regurgitation of recent events: a quarrel on separate occasions with his wifeand uncle and dialogues with his boss. In one instance, a dialogue that took placebetween Khun-chhiu and his wife on the topic of their son, A-long, is replayed in thenarrative. As usual, Khun-chhiu makes his subjective and unvoiced comments in thepresent time on what happened. The narration relates this dialogue as follows:Khun-chhiu was happy. This work allowed him to have Ahong; having A-long gave him the patience to endure the work.“Idiot! Do you think A-hong really likes you? Do you think thischild is aware that such a person as the real you even exists?”(At the time I nearly misunderstood what A-chu was saying.)“When you go out in the morning, if he’s not asleep, he’s on myback and I’ve gone out washing. Most of the time when he’sawake, you’ve got your make-up and costume on. When youcome back in the evening, he’s asleep again.”(It couldn’t be! On the other hand, though, the child is gettingmore shy of strangers these days.)‘“Defamiliarization” is a technique used by the Russian formalists to “estrange” the reader through theforegrounding of the linguistic utterance. By disrupting the ordinaiy modes of linguistic discourse, literature“makes strange” the world of everyday perception. (M.H. Abrams, A Glossary ofLiterary Terms 236.)74 Hwang Chun-ming is credited with two film documentaries about Taiwanese festivals. The author’scinematic experience is probably the source for this narrative mode.Gerard Genette defines simultaneous narration as the narrative in the present which is contemporaneous withthe action. (Gdrard Genette, Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method, tr. Jane E. Lewin [Ithaca, NewYork: Cornell University Press, 19801: 217.)Nativism Chap. Two87“He likes your painted face and your clowning. Do I need sayit? Your his big doll!”(He he! I’m A-hong’s big doll. Big doll?!!)75At this point, I temporarily take leave of the small parameters of Taiwan fiction andtake the reader on another intertextual excursion, also to the world of nineteenth centuryFrench literature. In the works of Charles Pierre Baudelaire, there is a comparable figureto Hwang’s adman who, while his occupation is different, reaps a similar arsenal ofepistemological and sensory experiences as he strolls through the streets of his Frenchtown. This is the figure of the flaneur, or Ragpicker, who, half a century later, reappearsas a leitmotif in the Arcades project of Walter Benjamin (l892l94O).76 Susan Sontagcomments about Benjamin’sflaneur that he is like a photographer or poet who indulgesin a kind of pack-rat activity of collecting, cataloguing and internalizing everything that noone else wants. Sontag describes the flaneur as follows: “Everything that the big citythrew away, everything it lost, everything it despised, everything it crushed underfoot, hecatalogues and collects.”77 While for Baudelaire, the flaneur is the man of the crowd, inBenjamin’s Arcades, the flaneur merely aimlessly strolls through the crowds in the bigcities, in studied contrast to their hurried, purposeful activity. As he does so, “thingsreveal themselves in their secret meaning,” and he is privy to the meaning of the past. Heis transfigured by the “angel of history” who both sees the ruin of the past and ispropelled forward by history’s progress.78 As he strolls through the streets of his town,the adman, too, is propelled forward by history. At the same time, his unique perspective‘ Hwang5l.76 The Arcades project, which Walter Benjamin began in 1927, was the author’s projected book aboutnineteenth-century Paris. This project centred on the investigation of historical forms of culture, proceedingfrom historical and literary texts (Baudelaire). The metropolitan topography is treated as if it were arevealing record of historical forces. (Peter Demetz, “Introduction,” Walter Benjamin, Reflections: Essays,Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings (New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989); xxxviii.‘ Susan Sontag, “Melancholy Objects” in On Photography (Hainmondsworth: Penguin, 1979) 78, as cited inLloyd Spencer, “Allegory in the World of the Commodity: The Importance of Central Park,” New GermanCritique 34 (1985): 74.78 Walter Benjamin, Illuminations (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1955): 12, 13.Nativism Chap. Two88makes him aware of the “ruin” brought to Taiwan’s social and economic life by thehurried launch into progress.The flaneur knows the city; so, too, does the prostitute: the rise of the city and itslabyrinthine character is closely linked with prostitution. As Benjamin puts it: “Thelabyrinth, whose image had passed into flesh and blood in the flaneur, is at the same timecolourfully framed by prostitution.”79 The adman in “My Son’s Big Doll” is like theflaneur who picks his way through the labyrinthine streets of the town, collectingeverything the town had “lost, despised and crushed underfoot,” and as he does so he isalso privy to the town’s “first arcanum,” as Benjamin refers to prostitution.80 In “MySon’s Big Doll,” the red-light district is beside Yuying Elementary School where theprostitutes, dressed in pyjamas and wooden clogs, are grouped about the roadside stalls,eating snacks. Some sit in doorways, applying cosmetics while others lean against thedoorway or read comics. When the adman approaches, the serenity of the scene isshattered. The prostitutes attempt to lure him away from his perambulations, but theadman walks off, then laughs long and loud once he reaches the end of the alley. He thencomments to himself in another one of those interpolated asides which so successfullyforeground his thoughts: “Sure, I’d go. If I had the money, I’d go like a shot. I’d havethe one from Fairy Happiness leaning against the doorway with that far-away lookIn sum, Hwang Chun-ming’s stories are about the underprivileged and marginalizedof Taiwanese society-- the gong-beater, the adman, prostitutes and other outcasts. This“Faullcner of Taiwan” peopled his stories in the same way that the American writer createdhis Yoknopatawpha from the “yeoman farmers, sharecroppers and white trash” of the‘ Walter Benjamin, “Central Park,” New German Critique 34 (1985): 53.80 Ibid.81 Hwang39.Nativism Chap. Two89American Old South. In the American literary tradition, Faulkner was alive to the comicpossibilities of the poor white. But he also sympathized with them, recognizing in theman integrity, dignity and values which correspond little with their linguisticinadequacies.82 It was in this light that Hwang Chun-ming viewed his lower-classcompatriots, recognizing in them traditional virtues which, historically, have always beenascribed to the Chinese lower classes. These virtues came to light again in the 1960s withthe “discovery” of the Taiwanese people.Wang ZhenheWang Zhenhe’s “Dowry--One Oxcart,” (Jiazhuang yi niuche II 1967)83is also about a marginalized group which, in this case, has refused to make the adjustmentto Taiwan’s industrialized society. Wanfa the oxcart driver, his wife A Hao and the“Luganger,” the garment merchant from Lugang, are ghetto figures who are not merelymarginalized to the lowest ranks of society, they are also, in effect, society’s castaways.Doomed forever as misfits, this trio represents the inevitable few who, thrown off by thewheels of social and economic change, are unable or unwilling to change their lifestyle toadjust to the changing times. Ghettoized by their dearth of skills, their unattractivenessand their existential isolation, they play out a little drama which combines all the elementsof the theatre of the absurd. In short, this little drama is senseless, nonconsequential andridiculous.Wang Zhenhe delineates his characters with skill and compassion; at the same timehe also satirizes and mocks them for, ultimately, their existential uselessness. As a satire,“Dowry--One Oxcart” is supremely ironic and is characterized by “bondage, frustration,82 Brooks 11.83“Jiazhuang yi niuche” was first published in Wenxue jikan, 2 (April, 1967); it is currently anthologized inWang Zhenhe, Jiazhuang yi niuche (Yuanjing congkan 13 (Taipei: Ynanjing chubanshe, 1975): 7 1-97.Nativism Chap. Two90[and] absurdity” typical of the ironic mode. One commentator classifies this text aslow burlesque which he defines through a borrowed analogy of “squat, obese goblins” inthe trick mirrors of the amusement park.85 This classification, however, fails to take thetragic elements of the drama into account; thus I prefer the stylistic comparison of‘Dowry--One Oxcart” with the plays of Beckett. The utter meaninglessness of Wanfa andA Hao’s existence results from their place in an alien, unkind universe which confersupon its inhabitants a life which is both anguished and absurd.Near the beginning the narrative outlines the dramatic setting of “Dowry--OneOxcart” which consists of a hut bordering on a cemetery somewhere in rural Taiwan.This setting allows the three figures of the drama to carry on their tragicomicmisadventures far from the intervention of the real world. Their residence is described asfollows:On the right-hand side of the little roadway leading to thecemetery stood a little grass hut: their home. It reminded one of anold man cringing out in the freezing cold, so shrunken andwizened it was! It was no lone wolf, however, as at a distance ofabout ten feet, there was a second, thatched hovel standingcrookedly. A family had lived there at one time, but eventuallythey could no longer stomach the strange anomalies which defmesthe cemetery at night, and one year ago they had removedthemselves to fairer climes: an area of regular people and things.86As the narrative unfolds, it introduces the three characters, one by one. It turns out thatall of them possess some deformity or defect which defines their ghettoized identity butwhich the narrator also uses to comic effect in the story. Wanfa suffers from deafnesswhich resulted from an infection from dirty water during the war. His recourse at the84 Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays 34.85 Robert Yi Yang, “Form and Tone in Wang Chen-ho’s Fiction” in Chinese Fiction from Taiwan: 136.Robert Yang is quoting David Worcester from The Art of Satire (New York: Russell and Russell, 1960):41.86 Wang Zhenhe 74-75.Nativism Chap. Two91time to treatment by a gynecologist did little to alleviate his condition which became thesource for his nickname of “stinky deaf-ears” The narrative intimates that healso suffers from impotence which ultimately leads to his cuckolding.A Hao, on the other hand, is so thin that with “her hands placed on her hips sheresembled a pair of parentheses with a number inside. This number was only a single,skinny ‘1,’ however, there was nothing more curvaceous to make the heart race.”I fljJf87 A Hao’s prize possession is a Western-style dress the colour of butter which wasthe victory she had scored after attending church one day the previous year. This dress isdecorated with a fetter-like ornament which resembles a lock strung up on a tin-platechain, a decoration which is repeated across her lower abdomen. The sexual subtext ofthe narrative is revealed by the narrator’s ironic insinuation that these two locks “weremeant to form a blockade to defend the secret, private parts of her person!1IJ!88The coprological description extends next to the Luganger who is afflicted withbody odour. This affliction forces him to “scratch and scratch in the cavern of his aimpit,as though lice had taken up residence.”89 The omniscient narrator shares Wanf&s discomfiture when he states: “Theymust have defaulted on the rent for many years, and now the time had come to drive themout! It was truly unbearab1e.”-* JJ1Ifi,T ftt39°The farcedoes not stop here, however. The narrative continues to relate that the garment merchanthails from Lugang, and the dialect of Taiwan’s oldest port makes it sound as though “a87 Ibid. 75.88 Ibid. 83.89 Ibid. 77.90 Ibid.Nativism Chap. Two92big steamed bun had been shoved into his mouth.” )ç ii:i 91 For poordeaf Wanfa, it was impossible to make out even one word of what the man was saying.At one point, the Luganger moves in with his lover and Wanfa, and a family of vegetablepicklers then moves into the vacated hut next door. To Wanfa, the nasal quality of thevoice of the pickle-vendor sounds as though his mouth was “projecting into a picklecrock--Hwuuang!“jIjIJO, — _lII12 Wherever the pickle vendor went, hewas invariably in command of a squadron of red-headed flies. With this description, thenarrator comments in an ironic aside that “He who calls has nothing to offer but trouble.”The tragic aspects of “Dowry--One Oxcart”-- Wanfa’s cuckolding by A Hao and theLuganger-- is highlighted by the presence of an all-seeing, all-knowing crowd whichfunctions as a kind of Greek chorus in the story. The chorus is privy to all the details ofthe story and, like its Greek predecessor, passes judgement on them. All his life, Wanfahas wanted nothing more than his own oxcart, and, at last, he comes into possession ofone. This cart is a gift, no more no less, from the Luganger in exchange for his wife.94After assenting to the exchange, Wanfa obligingly absents himself from the house for afew hours a day and makes his way to a local country eating-house to enjoy ligusticumduck and beer--his “Balm of Giiad,” also paid for by the Luganger. “Dowry--OneOxcart” concludes with the jeering, carousing chorus of villagers who, having finishedtheir meal in the eating-house, saunter outside and begin staring in. The pitiable figure ofWanfa, bent over his ligusticum soup, is the butt of their joke. The narrator relates thescene as follows:91 Ibid.92 Ibid. 93.Wang, “An Oxcart for Dowry,” Tr Wang Zhenhe and Jon Jackson, in Chinese Storiesfrom Taiwan: 1960-1970, ed. Joseph S.M. Lau (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976): 96.9 This exchange is the source in the story for the saying: “For a virgin bride--one box of cakes; for a twice-wedded hag--one oxcart!” (Wang 96) and also for the title of the story.Nativism Chap. Two93Several pairs of eyes fixed shamelessly on Wanfa. Then there wasmore talk and hilarity. It seemed as though they were saying thatWanfa’s ass was growing on his head!Like Hwang Chun-ming, Wang Zhenhe is a regional writer. He writes about thestagnation of his community and the social effects of change. Wang’s works are closelybound with the soil and the people; thus, they are nativist by virtue of the fact that theyduplicate the mores, social customs and attitudes of Taiwan’s rank and file. As such,they are a direct expression of the Taiwanese cultural locale.96 His works are also atypical example of the independent development of xiangtu wenxue from Taiwan’s“compradore” literature. This, in a nutshell, sums up many of the works, the writers ofTaiwan’s xiangtu wenxue of the 1960s and their ethos.Chen YingzhenChen Yingzhen is another writer ofxiangtu wenxue who wrote about rural changeand the superannuation of cultural and social institutions which resulted fromindustrialism. “Family of Generals” (Jiangjun zu l964), one of ChenYingzhen’s best-known short stories, is about this theme.“Family of Generals” fails into the first phase of Chen’s writing career which lastedfrom 1959 to 1965 and which is characterized, in Chen’s words, by a “Chekhovian”Ibid. 97.96 This should not be confused with cultural separatism which Taiwanese political groups, especially thoseadvocating independence, projected onto this literature a decade later. There is little political ideology in the1960s decade of xiangtu wenxue. Even when Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue became more ideological in thelate 1970s, there is little evidence to support the claim that this literature embraced a political viewpointeither for independence or for reunification.“ Anthologized in Chen Yingzhen, Jiangjun zu, Yuanjing congkan 25 (Taipei: Yuanjing chubanshe, 1975):99-118.Nativism Chap. Two94melancholy.98 The stories of this phase differ both from his “humorous”99 secondphase and from his more ideological works of the 1970s and 1980s. “Family ofGenerals” represents Chen’s period of experimentation with rural and urban themes priorto the author’s political realignment.’°°The central theme of “Family of Generals” concerns a traditional Taiwaneseinstitution-- the drum and gong funerary band-- which in current Taiwan reality hasdisappeared under the onslaught of industrialism. The manufacture of stereos andrecorded music which began with Taiwan’s shift to technology in the 1970s has graduallymade this band obsolete, though at the time Chen wrote this story, it was in all likelihoodstill in existence as part of Taiwan’s rural or suburban social life. Chen’s fictionalrecreation of this band stems from nostalgia for a community which is fast disappearingand from a collective memory of a bygone life, which, when examined through thedistorting, rosy lens of time, appears attractive and romantic. Chen Yingzhen’s nostalgiafor this bygone life, which is somehow better than the present life, is a replay of thenativist mentality we have examined already in “Oxcart” and “The Gong.” Thedisappearance of this old institution in “Family of Generals,” along with the customs andmores it represents, constitutes a xiangtu wenxue leitmotif.The characters in “Family of Generals” are two members of the drum and gongband, nicknamed Triangle Face and Skinny Yatour. Triangle Face is a Mainland Chinesewho came to Taiwan from China in 1949, and Skinny Yatour, a young Taiwanese girl98 Xu Nancun, “Shilun Chen Yingzhen,” in Xiangru wenxue taolunji 171.Ibid.Chen’s second phase is represented by “Tang Qing de xiju” (The Comedy of Tang Qing, 1967); his third,ideological phase is represented by the collection Huashengdun dalou: yun• di yi bu (WashingtonMansions: Clouds: Part One, 1983).100 Chen Yingzhen was charged with sedition in 1968 in a secret military trail and sentenced to ten years inprison. This was the first leftist political case of post-1949 GMD-ruled Taiwan. This sentence wascommuted at the death of Chiang Kai-shek in 1975, at which time Chen was released along with the othermembers of the case. He had served seven years of his sentence. After his release from prison, Chengathered his two stories into two collections and began writing fiction about the corporate world.Nativism Chap. Two95with a sordid family past. These two figures are drawn together from their equalpositions of powerlessness-- both are disenfranchised and both have little power tochange their life. This equity defmes not just their social disenfranchisement but also theirgender relations-- neither exhibits power over the other-- and is maintained unchangedthroughout their anguished life together. This is an unusual situation in the fiction ofChen Yingzhen in which women are usually represented as the victim of male powerrelations. 101Chen Yingzhen is unusually sensitive about the ethnic mix on Taiwan where aboutfifteen percent of the population are Mainland Chinese.102 Often, he exhibits profoundcompassion for these exiles who, in a number of his works, are fictionalizedempathetically alongside their Taiwanese compatriots. Certain critics have criticizedTaiwanese xiangtu wenxue for its regional emphasis; Chen’s profound sympathy for theMainland exiles, on the other hand, is the reason, according to one critic, that he is not a“bigoted regionalist.”°3 Though I would hesitate to label stories such as “Dowry--OneOxcart” “bigotry,” the intermingling of Taiwanese and Mainlanders in Chen’s fiction,minus the exile motif usually present in stories about ethnic Chinese in Taiwan, implies anexpanded national focus and the blurring of cultural distinctions.Triangle Face in “Family of Generals” is a trumpet player in his forties while SkinnyYatour, a young teenager, is the band’s baton twirler. Both lead lonely lives and areisolated by their experience of personal misfortune. Triangle Face is entrapped by hismemories of World War II, the Japanese, and a wife left behind in China; Skinny Yatour,for her part, is marginalized by her stigma as a one-time prostitute. Drawn together by101 The representation of women in this way is the source for the sordid dynamics of Chen’s “Night Freight”(Ye xing huoche, 1979), for example, which is examined in a later chapter.102 That is, those who came to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek in 1947 after the Nationalist defeat in China.103 Yen Yuanshu, “Social Realism in Recent Chinese Fiction in Taiwan,” Asian Culture Quarterly, 4:2 (1976):23.Nativism Chap. Two96misery, the two exchange whispered conversations at night through the partition wall oftheir sleeping quarters. Skinny Yatour informs Triangle Face over a number of occasionsthat she was sold into prostitution by her family and that she ran away from her owner.Her family must now sell their farmland in order to compensate him for his loss. TriangleFace offers her money with which to redeem herself from her family’s persecution but,misinterpreting his intentions, Skinny Yatour refuses. One day Triangle Face places hislife savings under her pillow and leaves the band. Five years pass, at which time the pairis joyously reunited. With this reunion, “Family of Generals” draws to its surrealistic,modernistic conclusion.When they meet, Triangle Face proposes marriage to Skinny Yatour. SkinnyYatour refuses, however, because she feels that her body is unclean and thus unfit formarriage. Triangle Face laments that “In this life it seems there is some force constantlypropelling us toward tragedy, shame and defeat....,” tijj,b04 adding that perhaps their union would be possible in their next lifetime.Yatour replies, “That’s right. Our next lifetime.... When that time comes, we’ll both beas clean and pure as new-born babes.” Jj,105 The two get up from where they are seated and march stiff-legged along the dike,he whistling the “Procession of Kings,” and she beating time with her baton. The nextmorning their bodies are found by some labourers:Male and female were dressed in the uniform of the funeral band,their hands clasped primly on the front of their chests. A little hornand a conductor’s baton were placed very neat and straight at theirfeet, shining and glinting in the light. The two bodies lay there,tranquil and absurd, touched by a hint of sobriety.’06104 Chen Yingzhen, “Jiangjun zu,” in Jiangjunzu, Yuanjing congkan 25 (Taipei: Yuanjing chubanshe, 1975)118.105 Ibid.106 Ibid.Nativism Chap. Two97The source for the title of the story appears in the form of a brawny peasant who rides byon his bicycle at this moment. Seeing the couple lying stiffly on the ground, hecomments: “The pair of them are lying there very straight and correct-- just like twomighty generals.” 1çfbO7The conclusion of “Family of Generals” is defined by its lack of closure, that is,there is no established meaning for these two mysterious deaths. This open-endednessallows not only for speculation on the part of the reader but also for the assigning ofsymbols or the reading of “signs” in order to explain the meaning of the text. Accordingto one critic, Triangle Face and Skinny Yatour have committed a type of double suicidewhich, however, is accompanied by no visible mark of violence.’08 On the other hand,this segment in the text could also be read as a fantasy or dream sequence which hasresulted from the author’s personal intervention in the realization of his characters’desires. Ultimately, Triangle Face and Skinny Yatour are in a state of suspendedanimation; as such they symbolize the culture, ethos and consciousness of a life that isrightly past. They also signify that the past is never severed, and in some shape or form itcontinues into the present, to live on in the present and to remind us of the life that oncewas. This extension of the past into the present and the rural into the urban constitutes avital set of dynamics typical ofxiangtu wenxue. In Taiwan, in particular, these dynamicssignify the recherche, retrospective nature of Taiwanese life of the 1960s.In conclusion, Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue of the decade of the 1960s is defined bythe themes of industrialism and the disappearance of traditional culture and norms whichcommenced with colonialism. The colonial legacy left its mark in the engendering andrestructuring of social and cultural life which took place alongside the initial forms of107 Ibid.108 Lucien Miller, “A Break in the Chain: The Short Stories of Ch’en Ying-chen,” in Chinese Fiction fromTaiwan: 104.Nativism Chap. Two98industrialism. Many works of Taiwanese xiangtu wenxue deal with life in abeyance asthese norms struggled for redefmition, first under colonialism, then under the tide ofwesternization. Time and again, characters such as Yang Tianding, A Sheng Bo, KamKim-ah and even the narrator in “Family of Generals” watched fearfully as the old lifegently slipped away, and no one among them could predict what the new life wouldbring. With hindsight we could say that many of these changes were for the better;nonetheless, at the time the authors grieved over the loss to the life as they knew it, andreconstructed this life with a strong sentiment of nostalgia. The conflation of the past inthese works with the rural world is an ongoing motif in the history of Chinese literatureand signifies that no amount of urbanization will ever entirely eradicate the rural elementin the contemporary Chinese consciousness.Nativism Chap. Three99Chapter ThreeChina’s RegionalXiangtu wenxueIn his every movement I saw so many of his rural fellow-countrymen, all uneducated, but at the same time all so very goodand honest. Time had uprooted the peace-loving soul of an oldeastern race, and thrust it into a world of wars with which it had noempathy. Life had compromised itself, with a touch of melancholyand much restraint, in order to survive in this new world, but itsdreams retained the lights and colours of a bygone world.--Shen Congwen, “The Lamp”Within the corpus of twentieth century Chinese fiction there is a type ofxianguwenxue which is defmed by its strong association with a particular geographic region.This regional xiangtu wenxue has already been discussed in connection with the works ofHwang Chun-ming; in China, however, it can also be found in the works of Lao She* (1899-1966) of Beijing, Shen Congwen of Hunan, Xiao Hong of China’s Northeast,and many other Chinese writers to a greater or lesser degree. These writers can beconsidered regional writers because of their fidelity to the folklore, customs, dialect andhistory of their native place. At the same time, they are also xiangtu zuojia because theytend to celebrate “the poor as opposed to the rich, the declasse [sic] rather than therespectable, rural folk instead of urbanites.”1 The roots of this type of characterization canbe traced back to the movement to popularize literature during May Fourth which was amovement to create a national literature reflecting a broad base of interests. The interestsinvested in this type of “national literature” conflict only minimally with the sectionalism ofa writer such as Shen Congwen or the regional and gender differences of a writer like Xiao1 Jeffrey C. Kinkley, “Shen Congwen and the Uses of Regionalism in Modern Chinese Literature,” ModernChinese Literature, 1:2 (1985): 157.Nativism Chap. Three100Hong.2 The reason for this lies in the fact that China’s regional writers also use theirregionalism to express universal concerns, such as the life of China’s masses and the plightof the common person during a time of great national disunity. In sum, regional xiangtuwenxue contributes in its own special way to the development of Chinese nationalliterature, and this contribution is all the more valuable for its unique depiction of regionallife.Regionalism in Chinese history has existed in several guises: economically, theregion has been linked with the administrative functioning of capital cities; politically, it hasbeen associated with the Taiping Rebellion, cliquism and warlordism.3 Culturally,regionalism has always existed in China’s south where resentment against themandarinization of the north runs high, and in the hinterland where there has similarly beenopposition to the “shanghaization” of Chinese culture from littoral China. Regionalism hasalso existed as a social force in China since the 1 890s when imperialism was at a peak.Local initiative to rebuild the nation was popular among Chinese nationalists at that timeand served to hold Chinese society together at the local level when all else failed. Themajor obstruction to regionalism is nationalism; however, for the Chinese nationalists,focus on and love for one’s region did not necessarily invalidate love of nation.4 On thecontrary, nationalism, like sectionalism, can foster regional pride. Finally, one might askwhether regions could serve as building blocks in the creation of a new China? The2 The attempt to develop a Chinese “national literature” was closely linked with the concept of “dialectliterature” or regional literature (fangyan wenxue or dfang wenxue) during the folksong-collecting campaign.Zhou Zuoren, for one, stressed the relationship between an area and its arts and wrote that all the arts, not justxiangtu wenyi, should be embued with rural elements. (Zhou Zuoren, “Difang yu wenyi,” in Tanlongji[Shanghai: Kaiming shuju, 1931]: 15.)G. William Skinner, “Introduction: Urban and Rural in Chinese Society” 254.See Diana Larry’s study on cliquism: Region and Nation: The Kwangsi Clique in Chinese Politics, 1925-1937 (Cambridge, England, 1974) and Donald G. Gillin’s Warlord: Yen Hsi-shan in Shansi Province, 1911-1949 (Princeton, NJ, 1967) for studies of these phenomena.Jeffrey C. Kinkley 159Nativism Chap. Three101answer is certainly yes, except for the military regionalism associated with warlordismwhich was anathema to Chinese national unity.During the first few decades of the twentieth century, the region was associated withcultural de-centralism, perhaps for the first time in Chinese history. This was a period ofgreat disunity: China had grown dispirited, and regional identity became inseparablylinked with the search for national self-identity. Chinese intellectuals turned away from thedead ritualism of Confucianism to the region, and especially the rural areas in the region, asthe site in which to carry out a national revival. During the folklore movement, ZhouZuoren, Gu Jiegang, Liu Bannong and Lu Xun studied Chinese regional folklore andbeliefs with the goal of preserving the features of the region and fmding a solution toChina’s national problems.5 Shen Congwen was also creatively inspired by thismovement, and the reason he turned back to his native region of West Hunan (Xiangxi)was to search for the means for China’s cultural revival. There in West Hunan, Shenunearthed a colourful and spiritually young cultural ethos which made the ritualism ofConfucian China seem time-worn. In sum, the contribution of China’s regional culture toChina’s national regeneration indicated that regionalism constituted a defining characteristicin the search for modern China.Traditionally, certain works of literature have been associated with the region, forexample, the Shijing is associated with the region around the Yellow River and the Chu ciwith present-day Hunan. In the twentieth century, the concept of regional literature grewslowly due to the prevalence of nationalism which tended to subsume other interests.6Writers such as Shen Congwen and Xiao Hong, however, eschewed the deep feelings ofnationalism and national loyalty embraced by other intellectuals in favour of a deeper senseof loyalty to their region. Their feelings of nostalgia and their deep personal knowledge ofChang-tai Hung, Going to the People 456 Shen Congwen once remarked on the impoverishment of regionalism and local colour in the literature of histime. (Ling Yu, “Shen Congwen tan ziji de chuangzuo,” Wenjiao ziliao jianbao, 112 [April, 19811: 21-36.)Nativism Chap. Three102their locale rendered them disinclined to identify with larger national interests. Thetendency to privilege the nation which is the pervasive characteristic of modern fiction andwhich is also a factor in the slow growth of regional literature is thus not so readilyapparent in their writing. Only Shen Congwen, however, went so far as to expresssectional feelings in his writing: in the main, the Chinese intellectual’s training to valueuniversal over particular concerns by and large tended to preclude this type of politicalsentiment. As the Chinese state becomes increasingly less centralized in the last decade ofthis millennium we may see more examples of regional literature.The defining feature of Chinese regional literature lies in its documentation of thefoildore, customs, dialect and history of a region. The use of local dialect was cultivatedby both the abovementioned writers and those who had no strong regional orientation,such as Lu Xun. Dialect clashed with the ideal of linguistic unity promoted by the literaryrevolution of May Fourth; nonetheless, it was also the only available building block for anew national language besides foreign languages. China’s regional writers were motivatedto use dialect in their fiction either because of the inadequacies of the national vernacular orbecause of their desire to augment the regional associations of their works, though many ofthose who initially made extensive use of dialect for the latter reason also ultimatelydropped it in order not to alienate their national readers.7 In short, the use of dialect toexpress or link a piece of literature with the local colour, the landscape, geography andcustoms of a region or locale is the ultimate detenninant in cultural regionalism, and this isalso where Chinese regional literature dovetails with xiangtu wenxue which has alsoalways tended to use dialect.8 In the final analysis, however, the co-mingling of nativist7 The use of dialect in twentieth-century Chinese literature ranges from the exclusive to the sporadic. There areinstances of regional literature from the area of Guangdong which is written exclusively in dialect. Writerssuch as Lao She, Shen Congwen and Lu Xun made moderate use of dialect, though Shen Congwen made lessuse of it as his works matured. Lu Xun also eventually eliminated all dialect from his work in order tomaintain its national appeal.8 The use of dialect in Chinese xiangtu wenxue was briefly discussed in Chapter One. Taiwanese xiangruzuojia of different periods also tend to use dialect. During the years 1922- 1937 of the New LiteratureMovement in Taiwan, the question of literature, the locale and dialect were the subject of a debate. TaiwaneseNativism Chap. Three103interests with those of the region at this juncture attests primarily to the universal quality ofxiangtu wenxue as a fiction about the poor, the disempowered lower orders of the Chinesesocial classes and the rural. And this, in short is the defming attribute of Chinese regionalxiangtu wenxue.The Regionalism of Shen CongwenShen Congwen is known by his nickname of “Little Miaozi,” an epithet whichreveals his origins in the heart of West Hunan. His family was ethnically-mixed9andbelonged to the military gentry class which influenced the course of his professional careerand the creative cast he gave to his ideas and sentiments. This family participated in themilitary rule of West Hunan, and Congwen himself decided at an early age to undertake amilitary career as his father and grandfather had done before him. His hatred of violence,however, which intensified with his exposure to the ideas of home rule and SocialDarwinism washing into West Hunan with the other currents of May Fourth prompted himto leave the military several times throughout his life and, ultimately, to devote himself towriting and teaching. As a pacifist, Shen rejected both Communist and Nationalistsolutions for China; his lifelong refusal to pay allegiance to any political ideology isreflected in the non-didactic nature of his writing, which is romantic and idealistic in hisearly works and pantheistic in his later ones. After 1949, Shen Congwen’s steadfastnationals argued that only the language of daily speech-- Taiwanese-- could adequately record experiences onTaiwan and was the only suitable language for literary forms. (Zhang Wojun, “Xinwenxue yundong de yiyi”rpt. in Zhang Wojun wenji, ed. Zhang Guangzhi, Chun wenxue congshu, no. 63 [Taipei: Chunwenxue,1975]: 52.) The unique regional qualities of Taiwan and the Taiwan dialect were brought together in theconcept of xiangtu wenxue which formed the ultimate link between the locale and the literature of that locale.(Huang Shihui, “Zenyang bu tichang xiangru wenxue?” in Woren bao [Aug. 16, 1970], quoted in LiaoYuwen, “Taiwan wenzi gaige yundong shilue” rpt. in Wenxian ziliao xuanji, vol. 5 of Rijuxia Taiwan xinwenxue: Mingji, ed. Li Nanheng [Taipei: Mingtan chubanshe, 1979]: 488-489.) The implications of thesetheories and debates in Taiwan are universal, that is, they could also be applied to other areas of China.Shen’s mother was Tujia and his grandmother was a Miao. Shen himself was non-Han.Nativism Chap. Three104refusal to adopt the Communist cause led to his decision to lay aside writing and to devotehimself to the research of China’s material cultural.Shen Congwen’s fiction is closely linked with his home in West Hunan and withWest Hunan history. This latter point accounts for the description of his work as a“roman-fleuve” embodying a political apology for the cause of China’s Southwest.’0Shen began to write about his region in the early 1920s after he left Hunan in 1922 andtravelled first to Beijing and then to Shanghai. His early works of the 1920s, whichcomprise typical pieces ofxiangtu wenxue about family life, fishing scenes, scenes at themarket, local plants and animals and cuisine are all based on his childhood memories ofHunan. As we have seen, the use of childhood memories in the descriptive narration ofone’s native place is commonplace among Chinese and Taiwanese writers ofxiangtuwenxue, and Shen Congwen was no exception to this. Later, however, Shen Congwen’sworks became more engaged, that is, they became tightly bound with the history andsecularist sentiment of his region. Ultimately, West Hunan history served as the key linkin Shen Congwen’s evolution to a full regional writer.West Hunan has a history of militarism and central Chinese colonialism which datesback to the Qing period. The Qing established frontier military outposts in the Miaouplands of Hunan where a town was founded in 1700 to govern the Miao of the ZhenStream of the Yan plain.” This town was called Zhen’gan (Congwen’s native home,known as Fenghuang after 1913), and it became the focus of Han and Manchu powerwhen the circuit taking in all of West Hunan was headquartered there in 1704.12 Seventhousand soldiers were quartered outside Zhen’gan’s walls in order to pacify the Miao andYuan River lowlands and neighbouring provinces.’3 These soldiers symbolized the type0 Jeffrey C. Kinkley, The Odyssey of Shen Congwen (Stanford, Ca.: Stanford University Press, 1987): 5.1’ Ibid. 13.12 Ibid.13 Ibid.Nativism Chap. Three105of imperial invasion and colonialism from littoral China which many of China’s frontiergarrison towns experienced at one time or another. West Hunan’s regional secularismasserted itself in the Revolution of 1911 which took place in West Hunan as a kind of asecret society revolt against the yamens of the Manchu circuit intendant and brigadecommander.14 To the West Hunan mind, the yamens were the symbols of imperial powerwhich thwarted their search for self-determination. The domination of West Hunan by thecentral government was also reflected in the control of the local economy by merchantsflooding in from Jiangxi, Guangdong and Fujian. These merchants symbolized the adventof commerce which Shen Congwen equated with the corrupting effects of the city and“civilization,” and which, in his view, brought depravity to West Hunan. Like many otherxiangtu zuojia, Shen Congwen embraced a hatred for the city which for him wasrepresented by Shanghai and which his regional pride and prejudice caused him to view asreactionary and compradorial. Shen also tended to link Shanghai with capitalism andimperialism, biased publishers, the demeaned status of writers since May Fourth and theself-serving interests of certain well-known writers.15 In sum, Shen Congwen’sregionalism and his attitude toward littoral China stem from a basic Hunanese fear ofdomination by Jiangnan, and this fear is the primary ingredient fuelling West Hunaneseand other types of Chinese regionalism.Besides its history of militarism and domination, West Hunan also possesses ahistory of banditry, warlordism and violence which took place against the backdrop of thecivil war between the Nationalists and Communists. As China prepared for war withJapan in the l930s, more soldiers were sent into Hunan, and their presence intensified theexisting instability. Warlordism was at its height at the time Shen Congwen was writing,14 Ibid. 29.15 Shen Congwen embraced a long.term dislike of Lu Xun whom he linked with the dominant culture ofJiangnan. This changed only when, through the intermediary of Ding Ling, Lu Xun began to assist ShenCongwen in the publication of his work. (Kinkley 82, 85.)Nativism Chap. Three106and one militarist after another conquered the area during the 1920s and 1930s with gunspurchased through the revenues from opium.’6 Ultimately, warlordism contributed to thedevelopment of a West Hunanese regional self-consciousness which culminated in itspolitical autonomy. This autonomy, however, only lasted until 1935 at which timecontinuous violence and anarchy returned to West Hunan, earning for the region itsreputation for barbarianism, banditry, dueling, ethnic uprisings and violence. Thisreputation has remained with Hunan today.Shen Congwen’s decision to write about his region was in part motivated by a desireto tell the true story about Hunan.17 He explained West Hunanese refractoriness by virtueof its oppression by outsiders, governmental and military forces, military suppression,ruthless taxation and economic exploitation, loss of legitimate leadership and rebellionagainst national (or provincial) attempts to integrate the region.’8 His development as aregional writer began with a visit back to West Hunan during the years 1933-1934 after anabsence of eleven years. This visit inspired him to embrace a pessimistic view of hishome. Increasingly, Shen came to explore the rights and wrongs in the relationshipbetween the Chinese region and the central power which he conceptualized as anoppressive one, and against this background, he also explored the fundamental problemsof the Chinese state. A greater degree of sectionalism crept into his works during thisperiod. Shen’s writing evolved further with a second trip back to Hunan in 1937 when hebegan to write more exclusively about the regional decay characterizing his home province.Shen Congwen’s full development as a regional writer at this time is comparable to HwangChun-ming. Both writers tended to depict their rural community in terms of its stagnationwhich was inflicted upon it by the outside world.16 Kinkley65.17 This decision is recorded in Shen Congwen’s Discursive Notes on a Trip Through Hunan ( Xiang xing sanji,1936).18 Ibid. 134, 237.Nativism Chap. Three107Shen Congwen’s obsession with West Hunan was not only historical but alsocultural. The West Hunan region is the modem descendant of the ancient kingdom of Chu,and the vanishing nature of Chu culture and traditions was a vital source for Shen’screative vision, just as it similarly inspired more contemporary Hunanese writers.19 Chuthought is conceived in Shen Congwen’s stories as a state of equality and harmonioussocial relations, though this concept can also be traced to other Chinese traditions whichwere precursors to Shen’s art.20 In the main, however, Shen’s fiction belongs to theeremetic tradition of Tao Yuanming-- the “field and garden” poetic tradition-- whichaccounts for his tendency to idealize.Chu culture also provided Shen Congwen with other aspects of his writing, inparticular, the subject matter of his romances. These romances are peopled by the Miao-the modem descendants of ancient Chu--and are structured around Miao customs,legends, lore and myths. They are filled with Miao singing masters, star-crossed loversand all the sights and sounds of the Yuan River which Shen made use of to augment theregional flavour and eroticism of his works.21 More importantly, Shen borrowed theMiao cultural tradition for the purpose of casting aspersions on traditional Chinese cultureand the moral basis of Confucianism. Shen Congwen believed that the old in China, bywhich he did not mean Confucianism but the type of culture associated with the Chu, couldbe the model upon which a new China could be constructed. This construction, he19 Shen Congwen’s influence and the Chu history and culture found in Hunan province has inspired the writingsof Gu Hua, Wang Zengqi and Han Shaogong. This is the subject matter of Jeffrey C. Kinkley’s “ShenCongwen and the Romance of Chu Culture: Their Legacy in Chinese Literature of the 1980s,” an upublishedconference paper given at a Harvard University Conference on “Contemporary Chinese Fiction and its LiteraryAntecedents” (May 11, 1991).20 These other iraditions include the utopianism of Tao Yuanming’s “Taohuayuan” which was based on theimage of a harmonious society of humans and nature; the ideal of peace and hamiony separate fromConfucianism found in the Huainanzi; and the Laozi with its idealized life of the xiaoguo kuamin whichwas projected onto a primitive society.21 The type of eroticism found in Shen Congwen’s writing reminds one of the extraordinary sensuality of QuYuan’s Jiu ge which is descended from Chu cultural traditions.Nativism Chap. Three108believed, could also take place without fear of Westernization-- the normal by-product ofmodernization. Accordingly, Shen Congwen depicted the Miao in an eternally youthful,pristine state, untrammelled by the type of repressed sexuality associated both with thestifling code of Confucianism and with Shen Congwen’s own family background. Insum, Shen’s attention to this psychological dimension of modern life, that is, sexuality,reflects his role as a new intellectual of May Fourth who has been exposed to readings inFreudianism and Western theories of abnormal psychology, and one who was alsoengaged in revolting against upper-class Chinese society and his own Confucian heritage.Finally, the rural element is another important aspect of Shen Congwen’s fiction.This element reflects Shen’s reference to himself as a “countryman” (xiangxiaren j1J),though this had little to do with his actual class standing. The walled settlements of WestHunan symbolically divide the Hunanese population into urban dwellers and those “in thecountry” which includes not just the Miao hilifolk but also all those who lived upstreamfrom the larger cities of Changde and Changsha.22 In Shen Congwen’s stories, the Miaotend the fields outside the city wall, run shops making beancurd and peddle buckwheatbiscuits. The Miao, however, are only one of a number of disempowered character typesfrom the lower orders of West Hunan’s rich cultural mix as it is represented in Shen’sstories. Others are are soldiers, officers, boatmen, peasants, shopkeepers, stevedores,prostitutes, bandits and mill owners whom Shen came to know and understand during hisperegrinations as a soldier through the interior of China during the years 1915-1922.Where Shen Congwen differs from other writers of xiangtu wenxue is his heroicrepresentation of these types, especially the Miao, peasants and boatmen. This heroicrepresentation contrasts strongly with the ironic mode which I discussed previously inconnection with the representation of the Chinese peasants in China’s xiangtu wenxue ofthe 1920s, and it led Shen to ascribe moral virtues to the peasants, such as dignity and self22 Kinldey 14.Nativism Chap. Three109determination which are absent in the earlier fiction. More importantly, it also led him tocharacterize their life with ease, rusticity and loftiness. The ideology of the “happy farmingfamily” (nongjia le in this type of characterization reflects his view of a “natural”economics of self-sufficiency, a concept which can also be found in the works of certaintraditional Chinese poets and modem writers.23 In brief, Shen’s paternalism-- both as anintellectual of May Fourth and as a member of the gentry class-- and his sentimentalismcoloured his objective observation of peasant life. Had he observed the peasants moreobjectively, he would have found their lives to be filled with the miseries typical of Chinesepeasant life. It goes without saying that these miseries would also have been exacerbatedbecause of the national disunity of this period. This, if the reader recalls, was certainly thecase in China’s xiangtu wenxue of the 1920s. In conclusion, Shen’s idealization ofpeasant life was closely linked with his rejection of his own cultural tradition and hisdiscovery of another past cultural and psychological tradition which served to reinforce hisintellectuals predispositions.Shen Congwen’s most nativist works are his early stories of the 1920s. Asmentioned above, these stories were written while he was in Beijing and were based on hisrural childhood memories. They reflect the influence of Lu Xun, especially “VillageOpera,” which, Shen maintains, was the first piece of fiction to show him how ruralthemes could be treated in literature.24 In brief, these pieces of xiangtu wenxue areextended local colour mood pieces in which he romanticizes country life and people.23 An example of this type of self-sufficiency is found in this line of verse from Wang Yucheng’s “Yutianci”: “In the self-sufficiency of planting and harvesting, they know of neither Yao nor Shun.” Thereference to Yao and Shun presumably reflects the poverty of these two sage-kings. (The reference toWang Yucheng is quoted from Xu Zhiying, Ni Tingting 73.)The heroic mode characterizes the works of the short story writers Fei Ming and Feng Wenbing. TheChinese critic Dai Guangzhong maintains that this mode is adopted by a minority of xiangtu zuojia dueto China’s political climate at the time and the increasing influence of Lu Xun’s realistic type ofrepresentation. He also maintains that these writers should not be blamed for their idealization whicharises from the difficulties of the times and from the pressures of urban life. (Dai Guangzhong 66.) Myargument against this is that this type of idealization results from Chinese paternalism.24 Kinldey 85.Nativism Chap. Three110One of Shen Congwen’s nostalgic reminiscences about his home is “Events GoneBy” (Wang shi , n.d.). The setting is Fenghuang during a pestilence, and thenarrator is the author’s childhood personna by the name of Yun’er. Yun’er runs aboutwild, eating at will from roadside stands. Fearing that he or other members of the familywill fall victim to the pestilence, Yun’er’s mother loads him and his elder brother into abasket on Fourth Uncle’s back, and the family makes the trek to Tongren in the Miaocountry. This little narrative differs stylistically from the other works of Chinese xiangtuwenxue written in the 1920s by virtue of the fact that the latter are often schematicallystructured around a simple image or set of images. There is no such image in this story byShen Congwen; instead, the nativist elements of “Events Gone By” are provided bydescriptive details of food, climate, flora and fauna, and superstitions. The narrator relatesthat when Yun’er and his family pass through the Tangtong Mountains, for instance, theytake a rest by a little shrine erected to the tutelary god of the mountains. This is locatedunder a tree whose branches are weighted down by stones, placed there by travelers in thebelief that this will provide “relief from fatigue.” 26 This is the type ofsuperstition which is typically found in xiangtu wenxue beginning from that of Lu Xun.After arriving in Tongren, Yun’er admires the large species of bamboo growing in thecountry, gathers fresh-water mussel shells and watches his uncle fish with the use of onlya torch and a sickle. He also watches in awe as his Fifth Uncle operates the grist mill andas his cousins play in and about the bamboo water mill which lifts water for irrigation. Insum, “Events Gone By” is a typical nativist sketch, short in its execution and filled withnostalgic recollections of childhood life.25 Anthologized in Shen Congwen wenji (Hong Kong: Huacheng chubanshe, 1982), 1: 5-9.26 Shen6.Nativism Chap. Three111Shen Congwen’s “New Year’s Congee” (Laba thou 1925)27 is anotherconsummate, plot-less local-colour piece. The narrative commences by stating that nomatter what age a child may be all of them love this type of sweet congee. The ingredientsthat go into the making of this holiday fare are: millet, lentils, dates, chestnuts, sugar andpeanuts which are “boiled up all together in a mush.” _. 28 Thenarrative states that “just watching the hissing and simmering and smelling the sweetness isenough to make the mouth water in anticipation.”JJ[1 fl jD.,*329 Evening falls and the patience of Ba’er, the young boyin the narrative, is finally rewarded-- he is served up with a big bowl of the sticky mess.At this point, the topic of the piece switches with little apparent connection to that of thefamily Pekingese. The haba gou DI])1, which the careful reader notices rhymesmeaninglessly with laba zhou, is the subject of the second half of the story in which thedialogue of the adults confers little more than a phatic quality to the narrative-- asmeaningless as the “sticky mess” of the la ba zhou. In short, “New Year’s Congee”evinces Shen Congwen’s special brand of word-play and, as a narration, describes asuspended moment in time of one day in the life of a Hunanese family.Several of Shen Congwen’s early pieces of xiangtu wenxue concern the Miao. Thetitle of “Dai gou” (Dai gou ft , n.d.),30 for instance, is taken from a Miao term ofendearment for a child. The boy, presumably a Miao in this short piece, is compelled byhis father to steal firewood from the local hillside in order to support the father’s drinkinghabit. The father muses over the pros and cons of the risks involved for his ten year-oldson, who, he is convinced, is sufficiently clever to avoid getting into trouble. All this is27 Anthologized in Shen Congwen wenji, 1: 23-27.28 Shen23.29 Ibid 23.30 Anthologized in Shen Congwen wenji, 1: 19-22. The term daigou along and other obscure usages of localdialect are explained by the author in annotated footnotes attached to the stories.Nativism Chap. Three112weighed against the greater difficulties posed for him if his son were arrested and he werehe forced to procure a load of pine needles worth two hundred qian in order to obtain hisrelease.“At the Butcher’s Block” (Tuzhuo bianç, 1925)31 comprises a more colourfulpicture of the Miao tribespeople and all the goings-on