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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A thematic study of Lu Xun’s prose poetry collection Wild grass Li, Tianming 1998

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A T H E M A T I C S T U D Y O F L H XUN'S P R O S E P O E T R Y C O L L E C T I O N W I L D G R A S S by TIANM1NG LI M . A . , The University of Ilcnan, 1086 M . A . , The University of British Columbia, 1994 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S FOR T H E D E G R E E O F D O C T O R OF P H I L O S O P H Y in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of Asian Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the rexiuired standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A September 1998 © Tianming L i , 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) tt Abstract This thesis is a comprehensive thematic study of the unique prose poetry collection Wild Grass by the famous modern Chinese writer Lu Xun. It provides a general survey of previous Wild Grass studies both in China and abroad in the past 70 years in Chapter 1. The survey clarifies the achievements and defects of those studies, and finds that they are still insufficient and can and should be further expanded. By employing a comprehensive methodology, including close reading, rhetorical analysis, intertextual interpretation, and some standard psychoanalytic insights, the thesis explores the themes of Wild Grass on three different levels. In Chapter 2, on the historical level, the thesis reveals the theme of social and political criticism of the dark reality of mid-19208 China. In Chapter 3, some Wild Grass poems are interpreted on the philosophical level to show the theme of Lu Xun's meditations on the ego, will to life, and the meaning of human existence. In Chapter 4, the thesis examines some Wild Grass poems on the emotional level to display Lu Xun's dilemma of love and moral responsibilities at a crucial juncture of his life when he contemplated deserting his old-style wife and accepting a young lady's love. Some poems are informed by a strong awareness of repentance, which is essentially an embodiment of Lu Xun's sense of morality and responsibility. In its conclusion, the thesis summarizes the intellectual and artistic values of Wild Grass, deeming it a magnificent book marking a creative peak in Lu Xun's career and an achievement in modern Chinese literature of the twentieth century. Lu Xun's spirit of struggle, awareness of repentance, and subjective emotion and lyricism that are incorporated in Wild Grass have become an important legacy for Chinese literature and the Chinese people. The symbolic and surrealistic features, the expressionistic characterization, the structure of the logical dilemma, and elegant language make Wild Grass a great modern masterpiece. T A B L E OF C O N T E N T S Abstract ii Table of Contents iii Acknowledgment v INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter 1, A Brief Survey of Wild Grass Studies 13 Wild Grass studies in mainland China 13 Wild Grass studies outside China 22 Chapter 2, Social and Political Criticism of a Dark Reality 28 "Autumn Night" 29 "Revenge" and "Revenge II" 35 "The Lost Good Hell" 39 "The Vibration of the Decrepit Line" 46 "Such a Fighter" 48 "Amid Pale Bloodstains" 50 "The Awakening" 52 Summary 53 Chapter 3, Philosophical Meditations on the Ego, Meaning of Life, and the World 56 "Shadow's Leave-Taking" 67 "The Beggars" 73 "Hope" 77 "The Kite" 80 "The Passerby" 85 "Dead Fire" 96 "The Dog's Retort" 98 "After Death" 100 Summary 103 Chapter 4, Emotional Dilemma of Love versus Moral Responsibility 108 "Autumn Night" 115 "Shadow's Leave-Taking" 120 "My Lost Love" 122 "Revenge" and "Revenge II" 127 "Hope" 133 "The Good Story" 136 "The Passerby" 140 "Dead Fire" 146 WILD GRASS, T A B L E OF CONTENTS iv "Tombstone Inscriptions" 150 "Dry Leaf 156 Summary 160 CONCLUSION 169 Glossary 180 Bibliography 182 Appendix 191 Acknowledgments V. Dur ing the per iod o f more than two years' wr i t ing o f this doctoral dissertat ion, 1 have prof i ted greatly f rom the academic guidance o f m y professors. I w o u l d l ike to express m y pro found gratitude to Professor M i c h a e l S. D u k e , m y supervisor, w h o encouraged me to begin this chal lenging topic and helped me to structure this work to be what it is today. I owe a part icular debt to h i m for his cr i t ica l reading o f my drafts, patient correct ion o f m y expressions, inspi r ing comments and suggestions, and, i n general , for the strict intel lectual t raining that I received i n the last s ix years. I am deeply grateful to Professor Jerry Schmid t for h is generous encouragement. E v e n though he was as far away as C h i n a i n the summer vacat ion o f 1998, he k ind ly f in ished reading m y dissertat ion and prov ided me by ma i l w i th new ideas, w h i c h inspired me to th ink more deeply about some o f m y arguments. I w o u l d also l ike to express m y profound gratitude to Professor George M c W h i r t e r , who k ind ly and careful ly read m y work and helped me to improve the expression o f m y ideas. I benefi ted immeasurably f rom his suggestions and encouragement. M y specia l gratitude is to M r s . V e r a Bu rnham, m y E n g l i s h teacher, who k ind ly and generously proofread the second draft o f m y dissertation and corrected m y grammat ica l and spel l ing mistakes. Sincere thanks are also due to Dr . Y a n g Chang , my f r iend, w h o read the who le o f the first draft, and M r . James Keefer , P h . D . candidate and m y classmate, who read part o f the first draft. They also offered me valuable advice and wa rm support. I w o u l d l i ke to express m y part icular thanks to Professor Y a n g Y o n g l o n g and Professor J i n Z h a o x i a i n the A r t Facu l ty at Henan Un ivers i ty i n C h i n a , both o f w h o m helped me to f ind and photocopy many necessary references, and ma i led them to me f rom C h i n a . Wi thout their he lp , m y work w o u l d be imposs ib le . I also owe especia l appreciat ion to m y w i fe L i N i n g , who typed the who le o f this dissertat ion and, more important ly, f rom beginning to end o f m y long per iod o f studies, tenaciously and sel f lessly supported me and the fami ly , even i n the most d i f f icul t days. INTRODUCTION Wild Grass (Yecao, i f ^ ) is a unique co l lec t ion o f prose poetry (sanwenshi, f ^3 t i ^F ) by the famous modern Chinese wri ter L u X u n ( H - i f i , 1881-1936). Prose poetry, as a subgenre s imi la r to the short poet ic essay, first emerged i n 1920s C h i n a . In the 1930s it was formal ly cal led prose poetry. L u X u n ' s Wild Grass contains twenty-three pieces o f prose poetry. A l l were wri t ten dur ing the per iod f rom 1924 to 1926 and publ ished successively in the l i terary week ly Talking String (Yusi, In Ju ly 1927 after L u X u n wrote an inscr ip t ion to them, these prose poems were republ ished as a co l lec t ion under the tit le Wild Grass. A t present this co l lec t ion is contained in vo lume two o f the 1987 edi t ion o f The Complete Works of Lu Xun (Lu Xun quanji, # 3 S ^ : f t ) . Compared i n size w i th other col lect ions i n L u X u n ' s Complete Works, Wild Grass is a short book o f on ly seventy pages. The length o f each prose poem varies f rom three hundred to three thousand Chinese characters. However , ow ing to its admirable artistic d is t inct ion, styl ist ic or ig inal i ty , and the impressive thematic complex i ty , Wild Grass is very s igni f icant in L u Xun ' s creative output as we l l as in the who le o f modern Chinese literature. It has become an indispensable text in studies o f L u X u n and o f modern Chinese literature as we l l . L u X u n h imse l f cherished a special fondness for Wild Grass. In its " Inscr ipt ion" (Tici, MM), he declared: "I myse l f love my Wild Grass."1 In 1929 he expressed his sorrow to a fr iend for being unable to write prose poetry l i ke Wild Grass any more . 2 In 1931 L u X u n 'Lu Xun, "Tici" JMS? (Inscription) to Wild Grass, Lit Xun Quanji #31^:11 (Complete works of Lu Xun), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1987, vol. 2, p. 159. Hereafter LXQJ. In this dissertation, unless otherwise noted, English translations are my own. Others' translations may be slightly changed wherever I think it's necessary. 2Feng Xuefeng iSr=P$, Huiyi LuXun 0tZ,#ifi (Recollections of Lu Xun), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1953, p. 23. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 2 mentioned it again in his "Preface to the English Edition of Wild Grass" (Yecao yingwen yiben xu, m w$txi&*m? These twenty some short essays were all written in Beijing between 1924 and 1926, as indicated at the end of each piece, and published one after another in the periodical Yii-ssu. For the most part they are only small reflections of the moment. Since it was difficult to speak out directly at the time, occasionally the phrasing is very muddled. Now I would like to raise some examples. Because I was critical of the sentimental poetry then widely current, I wrote Wo-ti shih-lien f^ri^^^Jv (My lost love), because I hated the numerous sideline-observers of society, I wrote the first Fu-ch'ou M.W (Revenge); and because I was alarmed by the despair of youth, I wrote Hsi-wang ^"M (Hope). Che-yang ti chan-shih 3^ #(r-J$<ldr (Such a fighter) was written because of a feeling that men of letters and scholars were assisting the warlords. La-yeh $§nf (The dry leaf) was composed for the person who loves me and wants to preserve me. After the Duan Qirui Government fired upon the unarmed populace I wrote T'an-t'an ti hsueh-hen chung t^i^fy^M.^ (Amid pale bloodstains), at which time I had already fled to other quarters. When the Feng-t'ien and Chih-l i warlord factions joined in battle I wrote I-chueh —jst (The awakening), and after this I could no longer remain in Beijing. Therefore, this much can be said, the larger proportion of [these essays] are small and pale blossoms growing on the rim of deserted Hell , and for that reason cannot be considered as objects of beauty. A n d yet, this Hel l is also bound to be destroyed . . . Afterward, I wrote no longer this kind of thing. The era, which is changing daily, doesn't allow this kind of writing and even this kind of thought to exist. I think that perhaps this is fine. 4 The preface is the most detailed, and also public, explanation of the genesis of Wild Grass by the author himself. In 1932, Self-Selection of Lu Xun (Lu Xun zixuanji, H-iS £3 T&M) was published. In it L u X u n selected a total of twenty-two pieces of short fiction, prose, and prose poetry. Wild Grass poems numbered seven, almost one third of the book. In the preface, L u X u n also specifically mentioned Wild Grass: 3This English edition of Wild Grass was translated by Feng Yusheng m^k^E. The project failed when the print was destroyed during the Shanghai Anti-Japanese Campaign starting on January 28, 1932. 4Lu-Xun, "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" Sf ^ ^Jti^M^J? (Preface to the English edition of Wild Grass), LXQJ, vol. 4. p. 356. The first three paragraphs are William Schultz's translation in "Lu Hsiin, The Creative Years," unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1955, p. 296. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 3 W h e n I had some minor impressions and thoughts, I wou ld wri te a few short composi t ions. M o r e pretentiously, they were ca l led prose poetry. Later on they were pub l ished in one vo lume under the title o f Wild Grass.5 In this preface, L u X u n also to ld that he had w i thdrawn f rom the Self-Selection some Wild Grass pieces that might convey "a feel ing o f heavy oppress ion" to h is readers. A s for the reason, he sa id : "I am unw i l l i ng to transmit the lonel iness that I myse l f felt so bitterly to the young people who are hav ing a rosy dream l ike I d id when I was y o u n g . " 6 The book does not inc lude the most grotesque and g loomy poems such as "Revenge" (Fuchou, 3CJA) and "Tombstone Inscr ipt ions" (Mujiewen, H $ § 3 t ) , w h i c h are perhaps, i n L u X u n ' s v i ew , among the pieces that might convey "the feel ing o f heavy oppress ion." In 1934 L u X u n once again ment ioned Wild Grass i n a personal letter. H e said: The technique o f m y book Wild Grass is not bad, but the m o o d is too dejected. Because the book was wri t ten after I suffered many hardships. I hope you w i l l be able to break away f rom the inf luence o f this dejected m o o d . 7 In v i e w o f L u X u n ' s o w n comments, two points become clear. F i rs t , L u X u n tended to treat Wild Grass i n a tone o f understatement. H e ca l led it "smal l essays" (xiaopin, 'hm), "sma l l ref lect ions o f the moment " (suishi de xiao ganxiang, "short compos i t ions" (duanwen, and finally "prose poetry." Second, L u X u n wor r ied that the subject matter and artistic effect o f Wild Grass, w h i c h are usual ly perceived as despair ing and n ih i l i s t ic , might depress the readers, especial ly China 's youth in the h istor ical context o f the 1930s, a t ime for the Ch inese people to resist the Japanese invas ion. Therefore L u Xun ' s o w n 5"Zixuanji xu" f| fl rf (Preface to self-selection of Lu Xun), LXQJ, vol. 4, p. 456, Leo Ou-fan Lee's translation in Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 91. 6Ibid. P. 457. 7 L u Xun, a letter to Xiao Jun i f ? dated October 9, 1934, in LXQJ. vol. 12. p. 532. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 4 comments should not be understood as a self-denigration, as a critic declared: "The author was . . . to become disenchanted with his work [of Wild Grass]."* Seventy years have passed since Wild Grass was first published as a collection. Wild Grass has not only survived the twentieth century, but also been recognized as a great work in modern Chinese literature. Wild Grass studies in the past seventy years witnessed a particular phenomenon, that is, no matter who the literary critics are, and what ideological attitudes they take toward L u Xun , they almost unanimously compliment the artistic achievement of Wild Grass. For example, the renowned critic Jaroslav Prusek once enthusiastically lauded the aesthetic value of Wild Grass: Undoubtedly his greatest work of art, which corresponds exactly to the concepts of what modern poetry should be, is the collection of his poems in prose in Yeh-ts'ao ISfjfE Wild Grass. Here L u Hstin created a work of art which, in relation to the period and environment it was created, is almost a miracle. 9 Another highly regarded critic, Tsi-an Hsia also praised L u Xun's art that is embodied in Wild Grass, although his study focused on its "dark side": The rest of the book (referring to all the poems in Wild Grass except for " M y Lost Love") is genuine poetry in embryo: images imbued with strong emotional intensity, flowing and stopping in darkly glowing but oddly shaped lines, like molten metal failing to find a mold . 1 0 Su Xuel in is perhaps the only scholar who entirely denied L u Xun's political and moral qualities, sometimes by quoting certain pieces of Wild Grass like "Revenge" and "Amid Pale Bloodstains" as evidence to illustrate L u Xun's "ferocity and ruthlessness," and "malignity in his mind." 1 1 But she too could not but admit the artistic merit of Wild Grass: 8Charles, J. Alber, "Wild Grass, Symmetry and Parallelism in Lu Hsiin's Prose Poems," in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, William H. Nienhauser, Jr. ed., The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1976, p. 2. 9Jaroslav Prusek, The Lyrical and the Epic, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980, p.56. 1 0Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1968, p. 150. u S u Xuelin ^ l f # , Wo lun LuXun f £ i £ # : i f i (I comment on Lu Xun), Taizhong: Wenxing shudian, 1967, p. 12. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 5 The language [of Wild Grass] is calm, sharp, accurate, and epigrammatic as well as sophisticated, precise, profound, and beautiful. It fuses the sentences of Buddhist classics with the Western color to achieve a distinctive style. . . . Inside there are many poetic and picturesque descriptions of nature, which are not only absent in classical literature, but also seldom seen in new literature.12 However, compared with the unanimous compliments on the artistic achievement of Wild Grass, the interpretations of and comments on its themes, significance, effect, and the author's intention vary greatly from the 1920s to the present. In Chapter One of this dissertation, I shall offer a general survey on the history of the seventy years of Wild Grass studies, especially its thematic studies, both in China and abroad. This survey will clarify the achievements and defects of those studies. Also based on this survey, I have decided on the subject, goal, and methodology for the dissertation. Through this general survey, I found that previous studies of Wild Grass within China and abroad demonstrate different features. In China, Wild Grass studies have been constantly impacted by ideology in different historical stages. In the late 1920s, Wild Grass was severely attacked by leftist writers and theorists during the discussion of "revolutionary literature" (geming wenxue, j=j£-pj?3t^). They tended to quote some passages from Wild Grass that they felt were pessimistic or nihilistic to denounce Lu Xun and his thought. This sort of attack ceased with the end of the discussion in the second half of 1929. In the 1930s and the 1940s, the value of Wild Grass was gradually recognized, but the commentary on it was not adequate. During the period from the 1950s to the 1980s, the mainland China authorities strove to make use of Lu Xun as a tool to strengthen Maoist ideological control. Wild Grass studies became a continuous process to find Lu Xun's "fighting spirit." Although numerous critical essays and more than half a dozen books were written interpreting Wild Grass during this time, most of them were shaped basically under the influence of government ideological censorship. 1 2 Su Xuelin J^U^C, Zhongguo ersanshi niandai zuojia ^B— H+^ftfPi? (Chinese writers in the 1920s and the 1930s), Taibei: Chunwenxue chubanshe, 1983, p. 294. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 6 Therefore many of the studies do not have high academic value. In the 1990s, with the Chinese government policy on literature and art gradually becoming tolerant, Wild Grass studies in mainland China began to flourish. Outside China, Wild Grass remains a relatively peripheral work and needs many more studies. For instance, there have already been two specialized books published in English on Lu Xun's poetry in the classical style.13 By contrast there is no specialized book in English on Wild Grass, and even a complete English translation is not yet available. Except for Leo Ou-fan Lee's study of Lu Xun, which contributes a prominent chapter analyzing Wild Grass, very few specialized articles are found in English. Many comments on Wild Grass are general and introductory, seen in books and articles which deal with topics related to Lu Xun and/or modern Chinese literature, but not specifically to Wild Grass. The survey of Wild Grass studies leads me to the conclusion that the studies are still insufficient and can be further expanded. Especially at present, Wild Grass has proven itself to be a long-lasting work of creative intelligence, emotional sincerity, and imaginary power that has shaped one particular aspect of Lu Xun's legacy and become a rare specimen of modern Chinese literature. The time for a comprehensive study of Wild Grass has finally come. Based on the importance of Wild Grass and the inadequacy of previous studies, I chose Wild Grass as the topic of my dissertation. Because the most significant disagreements in Wild Grass studies concern its themes, my study will be mainly a systematically thematic study. I shall provide interpretations for most poems in Wild Grass, and also offer necessary analyses of their aesthetic characteristics, wherever they are helpful, to reveal Lu Xun's intention or the themes of the poems. In order to make my interpretation valid, accurate, and acceptable, I shall utilize a multi-level interpretation. It is inspired by some relevant methods of particular scholars. When Lin 1 3They are David Y. Ch'en's Lu Hsiin Complete Poems, Arizona State University, 1988 and Jon Kowallis's The Lyrical LuXun, A study of His Classical-style Verse, Honolulu: U. of Hawaii Press, 1996. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 7 Yu-sheng delineates Lu Xun's complex consciousness, he classifies it into three levels: the conscious and explicit level, the conscious but unexplicated level, and the subconscious level. He considers Wild Grass as an important source for fathoming the nature of Lu Xun's subconscious during the period from 1924 to 1926.14 As far as Wild Grass itself is concerned, Leo Ou-fan Lee points out: "We can easily detect in the collection three interwoven levels — the evocative, the imagistic, and the metaphorical."15 Because of the complexity of Lu Xun's consciousness and art, I shall treat Wild Grass as a multi-theme collection of prose poetry and attempt to illustrate its three major themes on different levels: the historical level, the philosophical level, and the emotional level. In Chapter Two, I shall deal with the first theme of Wild Grass on the historical level, that is, the social and political criticism of reality. As shown in the brief survey in Chapter One, many scholars have explicated this theme to underline the significance of Wild Grass as social and historical criticism. Some scholars also examine Lu Xun's motives in the composition of Wild Grass on the historical level. For instance, Jaroslav Prusek argues: The impulse for Lu Hstin to create this poetry did not stem from any morbid moods and feelings, but on the contrary, these personal confessions are proof of how Lu Hsiin's thinking was dominated by one single thought: anxiety for his nation and the fight for its future.... Its impulse is in the need for new and exact expressions of the feeling of the revolutionary epoch.16 Based on this understanding, in Chapter Two, placing Wild Grass in the historical context of its production, I shall interpret a number of Wild Grass poems to demonstrate Lu Xun's social criticism and his spirit of resistance against the warlord politics in the mid-1920s. l 4 L i n Yu-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979, p. 105. 1 5 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987, p. 93. 16Jaroslav Prusek, The Lyrical and the Epic, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980, p. 57. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 8 In Chapter Three, I shal l reveal the second theme o f Wild Grass, that is , L u X u n ' s ph i losoph ica l meditat ions on some universal issues, such as the ego, w i l l to l i fe, and the meaning o f human existence. A s early as 1925, L u X u n exp l ic i t l y to ld a fr iend that "h is ph i losophy was a l l inc luded i n his Wild Grass."17 X u Shoushang ( i T ^ H ) , L u X u n ' s l i fe t ime f r iend, also considered the book a general out look on his l i fe and the wor ld : " Wild Grass can be said to be L u Xun ' s ph i l osophy . " 1 8 W i l l i a m L y e l l is perhaps the first Western scholar to examine Wild Grass on the ph i losoph ica l leve l . H e says: " F r o m an abstract point o f v i ew , L u H s i i n was wr i t ing a b o u t . . . the ult imate quest ion o f l i fe , death, and meaning. . . . H e expressed this wonder most openly in the prose poems o f Wild Grass. " 1 9 L e o Ou- fan Lee recently gives an op in ion about h o w an interpretation o f Wild Grass should be done. H e says: "I consider that, in order to be honest to L u Xun ' s art, an analyst shou ld raise h is interpretation to a more abstract, ph i losoph ica l level and need not make po l i t i ca l exp l ica t ion on hearsay e v i d e n c e . " 2 0 W h e n deal ing w i th the theory o f interpretation, Steven M a i l l o u x dist inguishes two different strategies: h is tor ic iz ing and a l legor iz ing. The former is " a strategy o f p lac ing the text i n the h istor ical context o f its product ion" to find its soc ia l and histor ical meaning, wh i le the latter is " a strategy that assumes poetry can refer to a second, more universal level o f mean ing beyond its part icular h istor ical re ference." 2 1 A c c o r d i n g to M a i l l o u x ' s theory, I shal l analyze Wild Grass, especia l ly those pieces composed in a f ramework o f log ica l d i l emma, at the ph i losoph ica l leve l to i l lustrate L u X u n ' s 17Zhang Yiping ^^fx#, "Yemiao zatan" SflS^iife (Miscellaneous talks in a wild temple), no. 5. in Jingbao fukan frWtWl (Supplementary of Beijing Herald), March 31, 1925. 1 8 Xu Shoushang i T ^ ^ I , Wo suo renshi de LuXun ^MiWKWII ifi (The Lu Xun that 1 knew), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1952, p. 42. ,9William Lyell, Lu Hsiin's Version of Reality, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1976, p. 309. 2 0Leo Ou-fan Lee, "Lu Xun yu xiandai yishu yishi" #ifi-^IJEft;1t^1liR (Lu Xun and the consciousness of modern art), in Tiewuzhong de nahan fkM^fftPfliE (Voices from the iron house), Taibei: Shidai fengyun chubanshe, 1995, p. 297. 2 1 Steven Mailloux, "Interpretation," in Critical Terms for Literary Study, Frank Lentrichia and Thomas McLaughlin ed. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1990, p. 124. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 9 personal philosophical vision — "a second, more universal level of meaning beyond its particular historical reference" — that is, to value the will to life and personal responsibility, to challenge the troubled human life, and to progress forever. In Chapter Four, I shall explore the third theme of Wild Grass, that is Lu Xun's emotional dilemma between love and moral responsibility. This interpretation is mainly made on the emotional level, a level that has been generally ignored in previous Wild Grass studies in mainland China. Jon Kowallis has a good idea on the effect of different interpretive levels. He asserts: "Interpretation of Lu Xun's work can be done at various levels of meaning, and this is a worthwhile undertaking for all, not merely the domain of the specialists."22 But he attempts to base his studies of Lu Xun's classical-style poetry "on an emotional level." because studies on the emotional level "might bring us closer to knowing the 'real' Lu Xun." 2 3 Wild Grass was written during the time when Lu Xun started his romantic association and established his love relationship with his student and later common-law wife Xu Guangping (iPf-f^^f, 1898-1968). This affair significantly influenced Lu Xun's life and writing. For a long time, Lu Xun's sorrowful, old-style, arranged marriage with his wife Zhu An (^;£c, 1879-1947) and later his cohabitation with Xu Guangping were intentionally or unintentionally ignored by many mainland China scholars.24 They hoped not to "tarnish" the image of Lu Xun, who was once defined by Mao Zedong (^M-yf., 1893-1976) as "an unprecedented national hero on the cultural front, who is the most correct, the bravest, the firmest, the most loyal, and most zealous hero."25 William Lyell first points out that the change in Lu Xun's private life, or to put it concretely, his romantic involvement, love, and 2 2 Jon Eugene von Kowallis, The Lyrical LuXun — A Study of His Classical-Style Verse Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996, p. 5. 2 3 Jon Kowallis, The Lyrical LuXun, p. ix. 2 4 Many scholars view Xu Guangping as Lu Xun's legitimate wife, calling her Lu Xun furen A (Lu Xun's wife). A few serious scholars cautiously use a vague term to call her Jingsongfuren f 5 ^ ^ A (Madam Jingsong, Jingsong is a pen name of Xu Guangping). In Lu Xun museums in both Shaoxing and Beijing, Zhu An's bedroom is still closed as a forbidden area to visitors. See Wang Runhua I'/lI^, Chongxin renshi LuXun SSfi^iRllffi (Re-understand Lu Xun), in Ershiyi shiji ZL-f—"tfi^E (The 21st century), no. 12, 1992, p. 109. 2 5See Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Bombay: People's Publish House, 1954, vol. 3, p 144. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 10 personal warmth of the cohabitation with X u Guangping greatly influenced his writing career.2 6 This affair certainly left a mark on Wild Grass. Leo Ou-fan Lee argues: "I always consider that Wild Grass is a symbolic incorporation of L u Xun's inner conflict and turmoil — according to Kuriyagawa Hakuson's definition. It represents a surrealistic dream and has little relationship with outer social and political reality." 2 7 The so called Kuriyagawa's definition refers to the Japanese literary theorist Kuriyagawa's viewpoint about the genesis of literature, that is, an author's inner turmoil, resulting from suppressed anguish, becomes the root of all artistic creativity. 2 8 Based on the above suggestions, in Chapter Four I shall treat Wild Grass primarily as a confession of the private feelings of L u Xun , who, consciously or unconsciously, revealed his emotional and moral state of mind in the prose poems. I shall attempt to pay particular attention to the texts which contain L u Xun's private allusions and richly suggest his profound emotional dilemma between love and moral responsibility at the critical juncture when he contemplated deserting his wife Zhu A n and accepting X u Guangping as his lover. This interpretation is a new attempt, for few scholars have explored the theme of personal emotion and morality in Wild Grass poems before. In the process of my interpretation, both what the textual object offers the reader to interpret and what the reading contributes to the interpretation are equally emphasized. The multi-level interpretation does not necessarily interpret each Wild Grass piece on only one particular level. On the contrary, the same poem may be examined successively on different levels to reveal its different themes from different perspectives. This approach differs 26William Lyell, Jr., Lu Hstin's Vision of Reality, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1976, p. 310. 27Leo Ou-fan Lee, Tiewuzhong de nahan t&iM'P (Voices from the Iron House), 1995, p. 295. 28Kuriyagawa Hakuson JUJl| fifcT, Kumon no shocho ^m^MM. (Symbols of mental anguish), Lu Xun's translation is in LXQJ, 1973, vol. 13, p. 18. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 11 f rom what has often been used by many main land C h i n a scholars to c lassi fy each and every piece o f the twenty-three prose poems into different discreet thematic categor ies . 2 9 The second way I shal l d iscuss the poems is a comprehensive interpretation, that is , to treat the poems on different levels as different coherent series. E a c h poem in a series is supposed to express a relevant theme, to present mutual ly-related characters, and, somet imes, to achieve a s imi lar artistic effect. L u X u n h imse l f once stated that his miscel laneous essays are essential ly a comprehensive entirety: What each o f m y miscel laneous essays presents is often one nose, or one mouth , or one piece o f hair. T o combine them, they become almost the entirety o f a certain i m a g e . . . . I also write postscripts. . . . They become a complete v i sua l i za t i on . 3 0 A l t h o u g h L u X u n ' s statement concerns his miscel laneous essays, it is also appl icable to the poems in Wild Grass. Ev idence shows that L u X u n h imse l f treated Wild Grass co l lec t ion as an integrated entirety. E a c h poem in the co l lec t ion was or ig ina l ly publ ished under an ord inal number such as "The first piece o f Wild Grass" or "The twenty-third piece o f Wild Grass." In v i e w o f this we k n o w that L u X u n had already formed a general idea about the themes and aesthetic characterist ics o f Wild Grass before he init iated the project. Therefore I shal l try to pay special attention to the thematic relat ionship o f the poems. C h i e f images w i l l be c lass i f ied and analyzed as diverse chains. The achievement o f this comprehensive interpretation w i l l be d isplayed in the three summaries to the three ma in chapters and in the conc lus ion o f the dissertation. In this comprehensive methodology, I shal l also apply i n my analysis a l l possib le strategies such as c lose reading, rhetorical analysis, and some standard psychoanalyt ic insights. I shal l refer to L u Xun ' s b iography, his other works , and any related external materials that can 2 9 F o r example, as Xue Wei i f ^ , Feng Xuefeng MM^-, and Sun Yushi ?>diS did. 3 0 L u Xun, "Zhun fengyue tan houji" fUJ^l^ ijfc/piE (Postscript to Quasi-Romances), LXQJ, vol. 5, p. 382. WILD GRASS, INTRODUCTION 12 be appl ied as evidence to explore a variety o f aspects o f these poems f rom form to content to support my dist inct ive arguments. M y goal is to produce some nove l results that previous studies have not been able to achieve. 13 Chapter One. A Brief Survey of Wild Grass Studies I shall start my dissertation with a general survey of Wild Grass studies in the past seventy years. This survey will help us to obtain a general concept about the past and current situation of Wild Grass studies and understand better the advances that this dissertation attempts to achieve. In this survey I found that Wild Grass studies in mainland China displayed different characteristics from those overseas, therefore I introduce them separately as follows: Wild Grass studies in mainland China According to the different developments in different historical eras, this survey will discuss Wild Grass studies in mainland China in terms of three stages: the period from the 1920s to the 1940s, from the 1950s to the 1980s, and the 1990s. The period from the 1920s to the 1940s is the first stage in Wild Grass studies. One of the earliest comments, which is still somewhat influential in critical circles today, is Gao Changhong's (r^f^Sl) opinion. In 1926, Gao said: "When I read 'Autumn Night' (Qiuye, $C$£), the first piece of Wild Grass in Yusi issue three, I felt surprised and it made me wonder. What surprised me was that Lu Xun never produced this kind of writing before. What made me wonder was this history penetrating his mind."1 Although Gao Changhong's comment focused on only "Autumn Night," he was the first to speak out that Wild Grass is different from Lu Xun's other writings and it reflects Lu Xun's deep inner mind. Gao Changhong's argument of a "history penetrating his mind" may be correct in my understanding, but it has been criticized time and again for more than half a century.2 With a careful scrutiny I found two reasons that could account for this. The first reason is that Gao 'Gao, Changhong iSjixfi , "Zoudao chubanjie" ^IlJtbliS^r- (Walk to the circle of publication), in Kuangbiao (Hurricane), no.5, November 11, 1926. 2One example is Sun Yushi #3E5. See his Yecaoyanjiu i f ^ f i j f ^ {WildGrass study), 1982, p. 279. CHAPTER 1, A BRIEF SURVEY 14 Changhong's comment contains his personal resentment and arrogant attitude towards L u X u n . L u X u n himsel f , and many scholars as w e l l , didn't l i ke it. In a private letter L u X u n once cr i t i c ized G a o Changhong and his comment , saying that "he pretends to be m y int imate f r iend and comments on the bone by l i ck ing the s k i n . " 3 The second reason perhaps l ies i n that ma in land C h i n a scholars tend to v i e w Wild Grass as a wo rk protesting against the outer wo r l d rather than a work "penetrating his o w n m i n d " i n order to underl ine L u X u n ' s " f ight ing spiri t ." It was not unt i l the beginning o f the 1990s that a few scholars started to accept G a o Changhong's argument as somewhat reasonable in so far that Wild Grass is a work that both cr i t ic izes the outer wo r l d and penetrates his o w n inner m i n d . 4 G a o Changhong's comment is actual ly not a fo rmal l i terary cr i t ique o f Wild Grass, but something l i ke a reading impress ion. F o r m a l commentary on Wild Grass appeared i n 1928 when L u X u n became invo lved in the d iscuss ion o f "revolut ionary l i terature" (geming wenxue, ^ - p f p ^ t ^ ) . In the d iscuss ion, a group o f leftist writers who were centered around The Creat ion Society (Chuangzao she, ' f r j j a l i ) and The Sun Society (Taiyang she, ^cP0?i) launched an attack on L u X u n i n their series o f po lemica l essays a l leg ing L u X u n ' s thought to have lagged beh ind "the revolut ionary era" and c lass i fy ing h i m as " a non-revolut ionary wr i ter . " 5 Wild Grass became one o f their major targets o f c r i t i c ism. Q ian X ingcun ' s "The E r a o f A h Q That Has D i e d " (Siqule de Ah Q shidai, 7 r f t H Q B T f t ) is an example o f this sort o f c r i t i c ism. A f te r he quoted some paragraphs f rom a number o f Wild Grass poems, Q i a n conc luded: The l i fe that L u X u n observed is on ly l ike this. Therefore no sooner is the book Wild Grass unfo lded, than you feel oppressed by its co ld atmosphere, just l i ke stepping on a dark and scary ancient road. I f what is descr ibed is not anguished human l i fe, it is gray 3 L u Xun, "Haishang tongxin" M±M\U (A letter from the sea), in LXQJ, 1981, vol. 3. p.398. 4Wang Yao 1EM and Li Helin ^ { S f # , Zhongguo xiandai wenxue ji Yecao GushiXinbian de zhengming M\\X^&^^W^W\WiW)^% (Modern Chinese literature and the debates on Wild Grass and Old Tales Retold), Shanghai: Zhishi chubanshe, 1990. 5About the discussion, see Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, 1968, Chap. 3. CHAPTER 1, A BRIEF SURVEY 15 and d i m destiny; i f it is not cruel slaughter, it is host i l i ty towards society; i f it is not the death o f hope, it is the destruct ion o f human l i fe ; i f it is not the k i l l i ng o f spirit, it is the worsh ip o f dreams; i f it is not to curse human beings to death, it is to exp la in the demonizat ion and beast l izat ion o f human being. . . . A l l o f these are to lead the young people towards the road o f destruct ion and to excavate numerous graves for the youth w h o are f o l l ow ing h i m . 6 Obv ious l y , Qian 's c r i t i c i sm o f Wild Grass was not sincerely grounded on a scholar ly foundat ion. H e s imp ly enumerated the unusual subject matter, g loomy atmosphere, and n ightmar ish images i n some Wild Grass poems as evidence to i l lustrate the so-ca l led backwardness o f L u X u n ' s thought wi thout exp lor ing the real s igni f icance o f these symbo l i c poems. A c c o r d i n g to the leftist theorists, revolut ionary literature should manifest the essential tendencies and determinants o f the epoch and should be fu l l o f pos i t ive, opt imis t ic , and progressive spirit. A n y passive elements such as pess im ism and disappointment are intolerable i n revolut ionary literature. Th is is the fundament o f their c r i t i c ism o f Wild Grass. Q i a n X ingcun ' s radical c r i t i c i sm has proven incorrect today. Howeve r , his op in ion at least threw some l ight on the fact that the mot i fs presented i n Wild Grass, such as darkness, v o i d , despair, death, meaninglessness, and the g loomy m o o d throughout the who le book, establ ished a part icular ly dist inct ive attribute that was rarely seen i n the new literature dur ing the M a y Four th era. Therefore, since the very beginning o f Wild Grass studies, h o w to analyze and evaluate its themes and aesthetic effects has become a cruc ia l issue. W i t h the change w i th in the Commun is t leadership i n its literature and art po l i cy , the attack on L u X u n staged by Shanghai-based leftist wri ters ceased i n the second ha l f o f 1929. In M a r c h 1930, the League o f L e f t - W i n g Wri ters o f C h i n a (Zhongguo zuoyi zuojia lianmeng, ^ @ £ j t f f ^ l & j l ) was establ ished and L u X u n , ow ing to his nat ionwide reputat ion, was 6Qian Xingcun, "Siqule de Ah Q shidai" JE iWrWQBTf t (The era of Ah Q that has died), in Taiyang yuekan MR ft f J (The sun monthly), 1928, no. 3. C H A P T E R 1, A BRIEF S U R V E Y 16 pushed to the position of its leadership.7 In the 1930s China entered the era of resisting Japanese invasion outside and demanding democracy and human rights from the Guomindang Nanjing Government inside. Under these circumstances, the 1930s and 1940s witnessed a hesitation and stagnancy in Wild Grass studies. The reason for this is perhaps related to Lu Xun's own understatement of Wild Grass and the historical context of that period. Many critics and scholars kept a cautious silence towards Wild Grass. In 1935, in order to record the achievements of the new literature in its first decade from 1918 to 1927, The Grand Series of Chinese New Literature (Zhongguo xin wenxue daxi, 41 SllPf ^ - T ^ ^ O , a sizable collection of Chinese new literature with ten volumes in total, was published. Volume six and volume seven are prose. More than two hundred pieces of outstanding prose produced during these ten years were selected and reprinted in these two volumes. Yu Dafu ( f P ^ ^ , 1896-1945) took charge of the editing of Lu Xun's prose. He selected twenty five pieces of Lu Xun's prose, among them six from Wild Grass. In the preface to volume seven, he gave a general comment on Lu Xun's prose writing, claiming that his achievement in prose, together with Zhou Zuoren's, "is the most colorful and greatest."8 But he did not refer to any poems from Wild Grass. Some literary historical books published in the early 1930s also left Wild Grass untreated, while their authors usually complimented Lu Xun as "the greatest fiction writer."9 The critic who first attached a high value to Wild Grass was Li Subo. In his book A Study of Small Essays (Xiaopinwen yanjiu, A^m~Xffl%), which was published in 1932, Li Subo analyzed a number of Wild Grass poems and gave a general acclamation: 7New study indicates that the top leading group of the Communists tried to make use of Lu Xun's reputation to establish a unified literary front in the 1930s. See Li Hui ^M, "Ningwang Xuefeng" (Look at Xuefeng with reverence), in Xinhua wenzhai |)f^3ttil (Xinhua abstracts of essays), 1995, vol. 11, pp. 130-1. ^Zhongguo xin wenxue daxi "fBlft^t^^j^ (The great series of Chinese new literature), Zhao Jiabi MM%£, ed., Hong Kong: Wenxue yanjiushe, 1935, vol. 7, p. 15. 9One example is found in Wang Zhefu's I l f f l Zhongguo xin wenxue yundongshi ^SUf^t^fe^i (A history of Chinese new literature movement), Beijing: Jiecheng yinshuju, 1933, pp. 296-298. CHAPTER 1, A BRIEF SURVEY 17 What needs to be mentioned seriously is the author's precious and rare gift, the collection of extremely poetic small essays — Wild Grass. It is a wonderful blossom in the bleak garden of China's literature and art. Just as what is drawn on the front cover of this little book, between the gray, dark sky and ground, there are a few stems of grass, green, pleasing to the eye, and quite l o v e l y . . . . We only perceive its beauty, but cannot say why it is beaut i ful . . . . From it wise readers can obtain real and unusual strength.1 0 Prior to L u X u n himself calling Wild Grass prose poetry, L i Subo defined it as poetic prose (shi de sanwen, i^ff-Jrlfc^t).1 1 This term, like prose poetry, also reveals the aesthetic essence of Wild Grass. L i Subo first associated Wild Grass with Charles Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du mat) and made a brief comparison between them. The statement that "We only perceive its beauty, but cannot say why it is beautiful," is perhaps, to some degree, a common perception of Wild Grass critics in the early 1930s. A t that stage, the now widely shared and lasting intellectual and aesthetic values of Wild Grass had not been fully realized. Generally speaking, the responses to Wild Grass directly evoked from the critics in the 1930s were inadequate. In the 1940s several critical articles specifically on Wild Grass appeared. Among them Xue Wei's "On Wild Grass" (Lun Yecao, i^M^-) was perhaps the most important one. Both his critical method and opinion should be noted. He divided the poems into two categories. The first category, beginning with "The Passerby" (Guoke, xt^r), mainly "anatomizes the author h imsel f by displaying the dark side of his own mind; while the second category, beginning with "Autumn Night," mainly calls for "a direct attack against the darkness" of contemporary society. 1 2 By making a comparison between Wild Grass and L u Xun's social commentary essays written during the same period, he also pointed out that L u Xun's essays mainly protest the outer environment, while Wild Grass is mainly "a book 1 0 L i Subo ^Miti, Xiaopinwen yanjiu A^vm'Xffii'fL (A study of short essay), Xin Zhongguo shuju, 1932, pp. 112-3. "Ibid., p. 89. l 2 X u e Wei =iM, "Lun Yecao" -f£Sf^ (On Wild Grass), in LuXun sanlun #ifiiSttfc (Miscellaneous comment on Lu Xun), Shanghai: Xinwenyi chubanshe, 1953, pp. 71-2. CHAPTER 1, A BRIEF SURVEY 18 that describes the dark corner of his own mind at that time."13 Both Xue Wei's method and his conclusion were widely adopted in laterWild Grass studies for several decades. Following Xue Wei's model, many later students classified WUd Grass poems into different thematic categories. Some emphasized more Lu Xun's spirit of struggle against social injustice; some emphasized more his inner conflict; others attempted to strike a balance between the two. The period from the 1950s to the 1980s is the second stage in Wild Grass studies. It is a slowly evolving stage. In 1954, Wei Junxiu's Exploration of Lu Xun's Wild Grass ( LuXun yecao tansuo, # f f lSf W-^M) was published. It is the first specialized book on Wild Grass. The author analyzed all the twenty-three prose poems. Abundant relevant materials from Lu Xun's other writings and from memoirs concerning Lu Xun's life were recommended in his exploration of the significance of each poem. The book becomes a helpful reference for later studies of Wild Grass. However, the tendency to sanctify Lu Xun and to overstate the significance of social criticism in Wild Grass began to emerge in the 1950s. The preface to Wei Junxiu's book was written by Zhang Y u who, after quoting Mao Zedong's description of Lu Xun as "not only a great writer, but also a great thinker and a great revolutionary," declares: The period when Wild Grass was written was a high point in Lu Xun's whole career. . . . At that time, Lu Xun had shifted from general criticism of certain thoughts or phenomena to vigorous and consistent attack against the reactionary ruling class more directly, and shifted from ideological criticism through literature to a desperate fight by means of face-to-face and even bloody violence, (original emphases)14 He defines Lu Xun as a staunch social revolutionary. In his opinion, no matter what kind of material Wild Grass employs, it is never a "pessimistic work," but "a revolutionary's 1 3Ibid., p.70. 1 4Zhang Yu "Yecao zhaji, daixu" U ^ f l i E , ft!? (Reading notes of Wild Grass, in lieu of a preface), in Wei Junxiu H ^ ^ , Lu Xun yecao tansuo, # i f i i f ^ l S ^ (Exploration of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1953, pp. 4-5. C H A P T E R 1, A BRIEF S U R V E Y 19 l y r ica l poetry o f s t rugg le . " 1 5 Here Zhang Y u first m ing led literary discourse w i th ideo log ica l discourse and then ident i f ied soc ia l cr i t ique w i th pract ical soc ia l struggle. Zhang Y u ' s argument actual ly d iverged f rom the academic attitude and became a c lumsy footnote to M a o Zedong's pol i t ica l ly-or iented appraisal o f L u X u n . In 1956, the twentieth anniversary o f L u Xun ' s death, Feng X u e f e n g (^3"^) , L u X u n ' s student and d isc ip le , publ ished his book On Wild Grass (Lun Yecao, r&Sr*^ L). F o l l o w i n g X u e Wei ' s strategy, Feng d iv ided the twenty-three Wild Grass poems into three categories: The first category inc ludes " A u t u m n N igh t " and s ix others, w h i c h are "poet ic," "healthy, pos i t ive, and combat ive, " though they also contain some "pessimist ic elements." F i v e i n the second category are "sharp sat ir ical p o e m s . " 1 6 The third category, inc lud ing the remain ing e leven pieces, Feng said, "obv ious ly reflects the author's mood o f emptiness and disappointment, and the deep contradict ion in his thought . " 1 7 W h e n Feng X u e f e n g located the "healthy, posi t ive, and combat ive" feature in some pieces, he also correct ly pointed out the depressed mood in others. Bu t his op in ion became a target o f c r i t i c ism after 1957, when he was condemned as a "r ightist" (youpai fenzi, 'feW-ft-f-), a po l i t i ca l charge against "d issidents." S ince then Chinese scholars tended to schematize the co l lec t ion and exp la in away its predominant ly depressing mood . F o r example , in the later 1950s and the beginning o f the 1960s, X u Q i n w e n (i^^KSX), another student and d isc ip le o f L u X u n , wrote several art icles deny ing any "pess im ism and skept ic ism" in Wild Grass. H e maintained that "the f ight ing spirit in Wild Grass, needless to say, is ardent . " 1 8 X u Q i n w e n even argued that Wild Grass was not wri t ten dur ing the same t ime as Wandering (Panghuang, Wi^k), L u Xun ' s second story co l lec t ion , but later — in spite l 5Ibid., p.7. 1 6Feng's judgment is not accurate. Strictly speaking there is no standard piece of satire in Wild Grass. I will provide my argument about this in the conclusion. 1 7Feng Xuefeng '$M^, Lun Yecao i£Sf#: (On Wild Grass), 1956, p. 15. l 8 X u Qinwen i^ tfc^ t, "Yecao chutan" Sf^WS (A tentative exploration of Wild Grass) in Wenyi Bao 3t2JR (Literary Gazette), 1959, no. 24. pp. 32-33. C H A P T E R 1, A BRIEF S U R V E Y 20 o f the general agreement among scholars as to the simultaneity o f their wr i t ing. In this way he attempted to i l lustrate that L u Xun ' s " f ight ing spir i t" contained in Wild Grass is stronger than that in Wandering. Wi thout analyz ing themes and effects o f Wild Grass by referr ing to its subject matter, techniques, style, and tonali ty, X u Q i n w e n mechan ica l ly adhered to the Mao i s t l i terary theory and made every effort to deduce that Wild Grass is a revolut ionary and opt imist ic work fu l l o f eternal f ight ing spir i t , s ince it is a product o f the soc ia l and ideo log ica l determinants speci f ic to the war lo rd era by " a great revolut ionary" L u X u n . Thus his argument p rov ided an extreme vers ion o f po l i t ica l interpretation, bear ing obv ious marks o f the Mao is t era. D u r i n g the long per iod o f two decades f rom 1957 when M a o Zedong launched the Campa ign against R igh t -Oppor tun ism (Fanduiyouqingjihuizhuyi, ixXT^MtH.^? Jr.SL) to h is death in 1976 when the Great Cu l tura l Revo lu t i on (Wenhua da geming, jtf-fc ^J$-iw, 1966-76) was brought to an end, C h i n a was under severe M a o i s t ideo log ica l contro l . There was no tolerance o f d issension in the academia. C h i n a lacked the free atmosphere necessary for a l l intel lectual studies. A c a d e m i c studies o f Wild Grass became imposs ib le at the t ime. D u r i n g this per iod few were w i l l i n g to engage in the t roublesome Wild Grass studies. Excep t for some papers, on ly one book, L i He l in 's Annotation and Explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass (LuXunyecao zhujie, #ifiif^3:ff), appeared in 1973. There was actual ly no s igni f icant progress on the study o f Wild Grass at that t ime. A f te r the Cu l tu ra l Revo lu t i on ended in 1976, Wild Grass studies entered a f lour ish ing stage in the 1980s. F i v e speci f ic books , a co l lec t ion o f academic essays, and a great number o f articles were pub l i shed . 1 9 Sun Yush i ' s Wild Grass Study (Yecao yanjiu, i f ^-Wi%) can be 1 9These books are Min Kangsheng's |5J#L^ E Diyu bianyan dexiaohua ftMJCjM&fi^hS: (Small flowers at the rim of hell.), Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 1981; Xu Jie's Yecao quanshi i f ^ i ^ p (Annotation and interpretation of Wild Grass), Tianjin: Baihua wenyi chubanshe, 1981; Shi Shangwen jp|^C and Deng Zhongqiang's >t|5,S3S Yecao qianxi IfJ^ Ss^ lf (A simple explanation of Wild Grass), Changjiang wenyi chubanshe, 1982; Sun Yushi's Yecaoyanjiu Sf^#f^E (WildGrass study), Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1982; Yecaoyanjiu lunwenji If^iff^Eife^H (A collection of Wild Grass study essays), edited by CHAPTER 1, A BRIEF SURVEY 21 viewed as a representative work in this period. It is comprehensive with treatment on the content, form, artistic genesis of Wild Grass, and an informative summary of Wild Grass studies from the 1920s to the 1970s. However, a general examination of Wild Grass studies in the 1980s will show there were no significant breakthroughs, especially in the thematic study of Wild Grass. The prevalent methodology of many critics at that time was still the Maoist theory of reflection used by Xue Wei in the 1940s. Frequently asserted were still "the fighting spirit," "social reproach" of Wild Grass, and Lu Xun's "self-anatomy."20 Lacking alternative critical approaches and viewpoints, Wild Grass studies seem to have entered an impasse during this period — many scholars were repeating what others had said. The 1990s can be considered the third stage. During this period, the academic atmosphere in China gradually becomes free. In Wild Grass studies, a number of new students appear. They try to explore Wild Grass from many new perspectives with alternative methods. As a result, plenty of academic papers have been published. Many of them provide new insights to varying degree on its whimsical subject matter, expressive mode, visionary effect, elegant rhetoric, and so on. New interpretations of the themes of Wild Grass and the author's intention are frequently put forward. For example Jing Hui's 1992 reading of "The Passerby" (Guoke, i i ^ ) offers a brilliant insight. He argues that the passerby, the little girl, and the old man in the poem represent Lu Xun's three distinct egos, and symbolize the emotional and intellectual fluctuation of his inner mind. Each of the egos acts as a judge to interrogate the other two.21 Another essay which analyzes four poems of Wild Grass and views them as "a special series" is also important and novel in its argument. Although the author does not specify the Association of Lu Xun study of Jiangsu province, published inside the association, 1984; Wang Jipeng 3E pf Yecao lungao Sf^vkf j f (A treatise of Wild Grass), Chunfeng wenyi chubanshe, 1986. 2 0 Sun Yushi#3£Si , 1982, p. 1. 2 l J ing Hui "Linghun de zixing: cong wenbei de xiangzheng yiyi xi 'Guoke'" 0<.i%, i A J t ^ W ^ l i E H.SU&X i i ^ r (The self-examination of the soul: to explain "The Passerby" from the symbolic meaning of the text), LuXunyanjiu # i f i § f ^ (Lu Xun studies), 1992, no. 4, pp. 30-2. C H A P T E R 1, A BRIEF S U R V E Y 22 explicitly what kind of series they are, his argument that these poems are related to Lu Xun's experience of love is still clear. He declares that "The Good Story" (Hao de gushi, MtfytXt-) can be read as "feelings of longing for a beautiful and harmonious life of love," and "The Passerby" (Guoke, "Dead Fire" (Sihuo, ~fc'X) , and "Dry Leaf (Laye, ji^Pf) characterize the different stages of love that Lu Xun underwent from initiation to maturity.22 This is a totally new vision that has not been attempted before, but it has received little attention from scholarly circles. Even though the essay has been neglected, it is among the few essays that I have found to echo some of the arguments that I shall provide in Chapter Four. With the prosperity of Wild Grass studies in the 1990s, even some senior scholars have started to revise their previous viewpoints by "re-interpreting" Wild Grass.23 Many of the papers that appeared in the 1990s focus on a single poem or a few pieces, or examine Wild Grass from a particular angle or in a particular aspect. Ambitious and comprehensive studies are rare, and no new book on Wild Grass is published at this time. Wild Grass studies outside China Since the 1950s Wild Grass has become an international topic. As early as 1955 William Schultz wrote in his Ph. D. dissertation, entitled "Lu Hsiin, the Creative Years," a concise but insightful comment upon Lu Xun's prose poetry: Yeh-ts'ao (Wild Grass) is an altogether different matter. These half-poetic, half-critical comments on diverse events observed in Peking between 1924 and 1926 are unusual among the works of an imaginative character. None of the habitual genres are employed, and they are a thing apart as to form, mood, manner of expression, and overall artistic effect. A distinctive spirit of critical reproach identifies them as coming 2 2Youyang "Yecao: yige teshu de xulie" Sf^: — ^ WffifflrfM (Wild Grass: a special series), LuXun yanjiuyuekan #ffl5Jff:EJEj fj (Lu Xun study monthly), 1993, no. 5, pp. 21-4. 2 3 Sun Yushi # 1 5 , for example, published a series of "Yecao chongshi" if^Sf$(Re-explanation of Wild Grass) in the magazine LuXunyanjiu %T$M% (Lu Xun studies) in 1996. But it is a pity that the "re-explanation" has not given many new insights. CHAPTER 1 , A BRIEF S U R V E Y 23 f r om L u Hsi in 's hand, but, when contrasted w i th the short stories, there is seen to be a stark, even a barren mood not a pecul iar feature o f his works o f f ic t ion, al though suggested perhaps in the poetic story Yao. L igh t l y sketched impressionist ic wo rd pictures, they derive f rom a spirit suspended ha l fway between hope and despair. Freer here under a symbol ic imagery and a poetic style, the author was able to speak out w i th greater force and clari ty. A l m o s t every select ion grew out o f a posi t ive, pragmatic belief, but the mood under wh i ch they were wri t ten was t inged w i th hesitancy, indec is ion and despair. E v e n the few w h i c h employ a com ic si tuat ion cannot escape a ho l l ow , bitter r ing; and not one disappoints the reader who has learned to expect the sardonic laugh or the censorious jab. C o m b i n i n g a pract iced sk i l l in inc is ive c r i t i c i sm w i th a decided genius for precise, pointed expression, this co l lec t ion , when taken as a unit, reveals an excel lent b lending o f his greatest g i f t s . 2 4 In order to demonstrate the variety o f subject matter and artistic characterist ics o f the co l lec t ion, Schu l tz translated nine prose poems f rom Wild Grass and inc luded them in his d isser tat ion. 2 5 B o t h his comments and translations are among the earliest i n the E n g l i s h language. H e cal ls Wild Grass "an altogether different matter," and notes L u X u n ' s inaugurat ion in it o f an unprecedented genre, subject, style, and artistic effect. H i s op in ion is reveal ing even today. In 1956 a Chinese magazine printed an article " L u X u n and his Wild Grass" (Lu Xun he tade yecao, #jfiWfi}rJijSf^) by a Czechos lovak ian scholar, who , by compar ing the evocat ive descr ipt ion in L u X u n ' s first story co l lec t ion Call to Arms (Nahan, P|*)5|£) and the radical attitude in his soc ia l commentary essays w i th the indecis ive feel ings i n Wild Grass, argues that Wild Grass is ma in ly a work expressing L u Xun ' s inner psyche 2 6 Th is op in ion seems to be an expansion o f G a o Changhong's v i ew , so it was later refuted by X u Q i n w e n . 2 7 2 4 William Schultz, "Lu Hsiin, The Creative Years," unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, U. of Washington, 1955. pp. 293-4. 2 5 They are "Inscription," "Autumn Night," "Ying de gaobie" i£(f>) cfS'J (The shadow's Leave-Taking), "The Beggars," "Gou de bojie" $\#}Wm (The dog's retort), "My Lost Love," "Hope," and "The Passerby." 2 6Berta Krebsova, "Lu Xun he tade Yecao" #ffifnftkttfjSf#: (Lu Xun and his Wild Grass), in Wenyi bao ^tltflx (Literary Gazette), special supplement to 1956 vol. 20, p.33. 2 7 X u Qinwen i^XX, "Yecao chutan" i f J^$rj}£ (A tentative exploration of Wild Grass), In Wenyi bao XzlM (Literary Gazette), no. 24, 1959. CHAPTER 1, A BRIEF S U R V E Y 24 Another early commentary on Wild Grass i n the Eng l i sh language is found in Ts i -an Hsia 's book The Gate of Darkness, i n wh i ch one chapter was focused on the dark side o f L u X u n ' s thought and art. Ts i -an H s i a examines the soc ia l and cultural genesis o f L u X u n ' s "darkness" and uses Wild Grass as evidence to show the inf luence o f the Chinese tradit ional culture on L u X u n . H e lauds Wild Grass as "genuine poetry" w i th "unique interest" and "strong emot ional in tens i ty . " 2 8 H e h igh ly appreciates the nove l language o f Wild Grass, point ing out that "he let pai-hua do things that it had never done before — things not even the best c lassical wri ters had ever thought o f do ing in wen-yen." In this sense, he says, " L u Hst in was a truly modern wr i te r . " 2 9 M o s t important ly Ts i -an H s i a observes the non-real ist ic characterist ic in Wild Grass. H e cautions: Those who admire L u Hst in as a great realist should be reminded o f the d imensions o f h is rea l ism. H e began several pieces in The Wild Grass w i th the statement "I had a dream . . . " and those dreams have such a bizarre beauty and del i r ious terror that they are real ly nightmares. E v e n pieces not marked out as dreams have that n ightmar ish qual i ty o f inconsequence and the shock o f misp laced reality. In The Wild Grass, therefore, L u Hst in glanced into the unconsc ious . 3 0 A l t h o u g h Ts i -an Hs ia 's book is not speci f ica l ly on Wild Grass, his v i e w is o f great s igni f icance for the later Wild Grass studies in the Eng l i sh-speak ing wor ld . H i s psychoanalyt ic insight that " L u X u n glanced into the unconsc ious" inspi red, and was iterated by, later scholars such as L e o Ou- fan Lee and L i n Yt i -sheng. Th is insight asserts a pr iv i leged access to the int imate mental and phys ica l experiences o f L u X u n ' s o w n l i fe. In 1972, Char les J . A l b e r presented a paper on Wild Grass at a panel d iscuss ion on L u X u n at the annual meet ing o f the Assoc ia t i on for A s i a n Studies in N e w Y o r k . Its final draft was publ ished in 1976. Th i s is an important and t imely paper, the purpose o f w h i c h , 2 8 Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1968, p. 150. 2 9Ibid., p.151. 3 0Ibid.,p. 152. C H A P T E R 1, A BRIEF S U R V E Y 25 accord ing to A l b e r , was "to arouse interest in L u Hsun's prose p o e m s . " 3 1 In the paper, he expressed his dissat isfact ion w i th Wild Grass studies i n ma in land C h i n a : M a n y cr i t ics have looked back on the co l lec t ion w i th a certain distaste, a certain sense o f displeasure. M a n y f ind in the poems thoughts and emot ions w h i c h are paradox ica l , contradictory, and above a l l , depressing. N o r have contemporary cr i t ics, for that matter, altered past j udgments . 3 2 A l b e r was also disappointed to find that Selected Works of Lu Xun, translated by Y a n g X i a n y i and G ladys Y a n g and publ ished in 1956, d id not inc lude Wild Grass poems " Inscr ipt ion," "Revenge, " and "Tombstone Inscript ions," the last two o f w h i c h , i n A lber ' s op in ion , are among "the most grotesque" and "the most important" p i eces . 3 3 In order to remedy this defect, he h imse l f translated these two poems and pr inted them, together w i th the Yangs ' translat ion o f "The Beggars" and W i l l i a m Schul tz 's translat ion o f " Inscr ipt ion," as an appendix to his paper. A s for the studies o f Wild Grass outside C h i n a , A l b e r points out that the first E n g l i s h language book devoted to L u X u n by Huang Sung-k 'ang avoids any d iscuss ion o f his prose poetry. In the then Soviet U n i o n , cr i t ics almost total ly ignored Wild Grass, a l though a complete translat ion o f the co l lec t ion d id appear i n 1971. E v e n though A lber ' s paper deals ma in ly w i th symmetry and para l le l i sm, a leading structural characterist ic o f Wild Grass, he also prov ides his d ist inct ive idea concern ing the theme o f these prose poems. H e says: The cosmos w h i c h L u H s i i n creates for Wild Grass is , admit tedly, rather overs imp l i f ied and romant ic. Essent ia l ly , the wo r ld is a batt leground o f two oppos ing forces, the forces o f good and the forces o f ev i l . O n the one side there is creat ion, on the other destruct ion. L igh t struggles against darkness, love against hate, hope against 3 1Charles, J. Alber, "WildGrass, Symmetry and Parallelism in Lu Hsun's Prose Poems," in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, William H. Nienhauser, Jr. ed., The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1976, p.l. 3 2Ibid., p.2. 3 3Charles, J. Alber, p.3, William Schultz's translation also does not include these two poems. CHAPTER 1, A BRIEF SURVEY 26 despair. The poet is trapped, as it were, between the two forces, i n a no-man's- land — somewhere "between dark and l ight, l i fe and death, past and future." H e is caught between act ion and inact ion, i n a semi-consc ious state o f emot ional and psycho log ica l para lys is . 3 4 Without mak ing any reference to others' op in ions, A lber ' s idea is nove l and dist inct ive. Emphas i z i ng L u X u n ' s psycho log ica l impasse f rom the emot ional and mora l perspect ive, A l b e r defines the conf l ic t i n "Beggars" (Qiuqizhe, JJt 'z i .^f) between the narrator "I" and the beggars as an "emot ional conf l i c t " and "Revenge " as a "quasi -moral i ty p l a y . " 3 5 A l t h o u g h some o f A lber ' s arguments seem not to be absolutely accurate, h is d ist inct ive interpretation is based on the text o f the poems and his o w n understanding, and can serve as a parad igm o f or ig inal i ty in the 1970s. S ince the 1950s some Japanese scholars have successively pub l ished their studies o f Wild Grass. There also appeared two complete Japanese translations, by Takeuch i Y o s h i m i ( T t r t ^ f ) and I ikura Shohei (tJbtrM^f ). 3 6 The Japanese scholars' v iews are to some extent based on the Ch inese scholars' op in ions. In 1991 A Complete Explanation of LuXun's Wild Grass, (Rojinyaso zenyaku, # i E S f ^ ^ : # ) , a spec ia l ized book i n Japanese, was pub l ished. It prov ides not on ly the third complete Japanese translat ion o f Wild Grass, but also a complete interpretation. A l t h o u g h many o f its interpretations f o l l o w L i He l in 's and Sun Yush i ' s studies, the book does offer a few new v iewpoints that are worthy o f note. The author pays appropriate attention to the relat ionship between the mot ivat ion o f the compos i t ion o f Wild Grass and certain important events in L u X u n ' s personal l i fe , such as L u Xun ' s estrangement f rom his younger brother Z h o u Zuoren (MffA.) and his romant ic invo lvement w i th his student X u G u a n g p i n g . 3 7 3 4Charles, J. Alber, p. 3. 3 5 I b i d , p. 5 and p. 8. 3 6 See Katayama Tomoyuki >^  ill | ? fir, Rojinyaso zenyaku # x & S f ^ ^ : f f (A complete explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1991, p. 278. 3 7Ibid., pp. 253-6. C H A P T E R 1, A BRIEF S U R V E Y 27 In h is Voices from the Iron House, Leo Ou- fan Lee contributes a who le chapter to the d iscuss ion o f Wild Grass. Lee's pr inc ip le v iewpoin t on the theme o f Wild Grass, as shown in the tit le o f the chapter "The Impasse between Hope and Despa i r , " was actual ly formed in h is previous paper entit led "The Trag ic V i s i o n s o f L u H s i i n : Hope and Despa i r i n Wild Grass" wh ich was presented at a panel d iscussion on L u X u n in 1974. Regard ing Wild Grass as "l i terary crystal l izat ions o f his dark moods and tortured feel ings w h i c h compr ise a surreal ist ic wo r l d o f the subconsc ious , " 3 8 Lee declares that the poems in the Wild Grass co l lec t ion "br ing out not merely his dissat isfact ion w i th the soc ia l environment but a lso, more important ly, certain conf igurat ions o f his inner tensions w h i c h certainly go beyond the real ist ic conf ines o f po l i t ics and pol i t ica l i deo logy . " 3 9 In his conv inc ing analysis o f a number o f Wild Grass poems, he consistent ly traces the intel lectual and psycho log ica l predicament in L u X u n ' s deep m ind , and locates some private morb id feel ings such as anguish, self-doubt, pess im ism, and n ih i l i sm in the poetry, wh i ch had been, to different degrees, intent ional ly or unintent ional ly ignored by many Chinese scholars around the t ime Lee's book was publ ished in 1987. Lee's book has profoundly affected the study o f Wild Grass in the 1990s, and has prov ided a so l id foundat ion to further and comprehensive Wild Grass studies. Based on previous achievements o f Wild Grass studies both in C h i n a and outside C h i n a , I shal l explore the different themes o f Wild Grass f rom var ious perspectives and hope m y study w i l l produce some new results. 3 8 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 89. 3 9Ibid.,p.91. 23 Chapter Two: Social and Political Criticism of a Dark Reality Wild Grass was written during the period from 1924 to 1926. It was a time when warlords of different factions controlled China. Constant civil wars took place among these warlords, drawing China into a dark era full of political, military, and economic chaos. In 1924 after the defeat of Wu Peifti (HM^-, 1873-1939) and the removal of Cao Kun (W*S, 1862-1938) from the presidency, the victorious Feng Yuxiang (743E#, 1882-1948), Zhang Zuolin (? f^1=lf, 1875-1928), and other powerful military chiefs in the lower Yangtze provinces, reached a compromise to inaugurate Duan Qirui ( S ^ ^ , 1865-1936) as the Provisional Chief Executive (Linshi zong zhizheng, l|fiBT/&?AB&) of the Beijing government. As a senior member of the Beiyang militarists, Duan Qirui enjoyed considerable prestige, even though he did not command much military strength of his own. The Duan Qirui reign (1924-1926) proved to be an atrocious dictatorship. His government excluded the formal participation of the Guomindang. On March 18, 1926, his army opened fire on a large crowd of peaceful petitioners, killing forty-seven and wounding one hundred and fifty. After the massacre Lu Xun wrote a series of articles denouncing the cruel slaughter of civilian lives by the Duan Qirui government and called March thel 8th "the darkest day since the Republic."1 The last two pieces in Wild Grass were written after the massacre. At that time he had taken refuge in a German hospital, because he was said to be on the list of those wanted by the government.2 Literary works are always created within a particular social context at a particular moment of history, and it is beneficial to understand literary works by connecting them with 'Lu Xun, "Wuhua de qiangwei II" %'fo$MW, — (Rose without flowers II), in LuXun Quanji I r i f i ^ ^ (Complete works of Lu Xun), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1987, vol. 3. p. 264. Hereafter LXQJ. 2Rumors spread via Beijing's newspapers that over fifty people including Lu Xun were ordered arrested. Actually only Li Dazhao and another four were listed as wanted by the government. See Xue Suizhi and others ed., Lu Xun shengping shiliao huibian, #ifi4'slI5Ei$4?DS (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p. 395. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 29 the socia l and histor ical background in w h i c h they were produced. The above introduct ion provides the m i n i m u m necessary background for a better understanding o f the theme o f soc ia l and po l i t ica l c r i t i c i sm in Wild Grass. A l t hough L u Xun ' s c r i t i c ism o f society and pol i t ics is ma in ly incorporated in h is miscel laneous essays, it is also evident in Wild Grass, especial ly in such p ieces, whose subject matter is somewhat related to the harsh and dissonant reali ty under war lo rd rule, as " A m i d Pale B loods ta ins" (Dandan de xuehen zhong, ffi$kffitoM*¥) and "The A w a k e n i n g " (Yijue, — " A u t u m n N igh t " (Oiuve. % M ) 3 " A u t u m n N igh t , " the opening piece, has become the most we l l k n o w n prose poem o f Wild Grass and even o f modern Chinese literature in the sense o f both its popular i ty and aesthetic merit. It is often inc luded as an indispensable piece in secondary school and/or col lege literature courses, and var ious l iterary selections. The poem can be d iv ided into two parts. The first part describes the first person persona's garden under the autumnal dark night. A number o f tangible images are depicted in this part to construct the natural scenery o f the garden. A m o n g them, two date trees are the most conspicuous: A s for the date trees, they have lost absolutely a l l their leaves. Before , one or two boys st i l l came to beat down the dates other people had missed. Bu t now not one date is left, and the trees have lost a l l their leaves as w e l l . . . They may have lost a l l their leaves and have only their branches left; but these, no longer we ighed d o w n wi th fruit and fo l iage, are stretching themselves luxur ious ly . A few boughs, though, are st i l l d rooping, nurs ing the wounds made in their bark by the st icks w h i c h beat down the dates: wh i le , r ig id as i ron, the straightest and longest boughs si lent ly pierce the strange, h igh sky . . . 4 3This poem was written on September 15, 1924 and published in Yusi ia&, vol. 3, December 1, 1924. ^LXQJ, vol. 2, pp. 162-3, The translation is in LuXun Selected Works, translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1956, vol. 1, p.317. Hereafter LXSW. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM 30 Besides the date trees, there are also some wild flowers and wild grass in the garden. Above the garden is the night sky, which, accompanied by the moon and stars, "dusts the wi ld plants in my courtyard with heavy frost."5 The landscape of the garden is not necessarily presented for its own sake but as a visualization of the author's feelings and meditations. The chief natural images in the poem are endowed with anthropomorphic forms, thus the natural scenery is subtly woven with L u Xun's feelings and emotion. The sky is "strange and high." It seems wil l ing to detach itself from this mortal world, so that people w i l l not be able to see it again. It has scores of eyes, eyes of stars, which are blinking coldly. A smile appears at the corner of the sky's mouth, as though deep in contemplation. When the date trees silently pierce the sky with their iron-like boughs, the sky feels more and more uneasy, as i f eager to escape. The date trees, "silent still and as rigid as iron, are resolved to inflict on it a mortal wound, no matter in how many ways it winks all its bewitching eyes."6 The little pink flowers are having a "dream of spring" under the heavy frost. The date trees also have a dream — in the autumn they w i l l be weighted down with bright foliage and dates again. A garden of fantasy full o f dreams and imaginations is vividly presented in the first part. It is so fantastic that even the I persona himself seems to be lost in it, or more accurately, lost in his own reverie. With a shriek, a fierce bird that is wandering at night passes. The "fierce bird" (eniao, ^-S,) is L u Xun's private designation that refers to an owl. Its shriek suddenly breaks the silence of the fantastic garden and draws the I persona back to reality. Then, at midnight, he hears a laugh, the only sound in the poem that accompanies the shriek of the owl. Hal f lingering in fantasy, the I persona realizes that the laughter comes from his own mouth. 5Ibid., p. 163, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 317. 6lbid., p. 163, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 318. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 31 In the second part the I persona returns to his study. W i t h the dreams o f the litt le p ink f lowers and date trees st i l l haunt ing his m i n d , he admir ing ly watches several t iny green insects f l y ing against the lampshade. Enter ing the room f rom the garden through a hole i n the w i n d o w paper, they thrust themselves towards the fire o f the lamp. " A u t u m n N i g h t " is a decept ively easy piece w i th ordinary images i n a seemingly natural garden. Bu t when the fantastic nature o f the garden and the anthropomorphic fo rm o f the ma in images are ident i f ied, the a l legor ica l and symbol ic attributes o f the poem are shown. Its interpretation therefore becomes intricate. In a dark, co ld , and inauspic ious atmosphere, a silent confrontat ion is perceptible between two ranges o f images: the date trees, the l itt le p ink f lowers, and the litt le green insects versus the sky, the m o o n , and the stars. The confrontat ion behind the distorted setting reveals an inv is ib le tension i n the author's inner m ind . U s u a l l y there is a consensus i n scholar ly c i rc les about the symbo l i c meaning o f the leading images i n " A u t u m n N igh t . " The date trees are a symbo l o f L u X u n h imsel f , whose sober and i r reconci lable personal i ty is f igurat ively expressed i n the poem. The litt le p ink f lowers symbo l i ze China 's youth, who , al though t r iv ia l in strength in contrast w i th the harsh environment, st i l l cher ish a dream- l ike faith i n the future, wh i le the sky, the moon , and the stars are an incorporat ion o f the oppressive reality or, more concretely, the war lo rd reign. Howeve r , the ambigui ty o f the a l legor ica l context o f the poem generates interpretive variat ions upon some mino r images. F o r instance, the image o f the o w l has long been debated. Some scholars c lass i fy it into the range o f the sky, arguing that it f l ies to the garden and cries out to assist the ev i l power represented by the sky, and the I persona laughs to ho ld its va in endeavor i n contempt. 7 A contrary op in ion comes f rom other scholars. W i l l i a m Schu l tz , for instance, wri tes: 7 L i Helin LuXun yecao zhujie ^ i f i S f ^ f l : ^ (Annotation and Explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 1973, p.29. Sun Yushi # 5 5 holds a slightly different opinion. He remarks that the owl is flying to escape, and the I persona's laugher is a victorious one, broken for the owl's defeat. See Sun Yushi # 3 £ 5 Yecaoyanjiu i f ( W i l d G r a s s study), Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1982, p. 22. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM 32 Among others of a positive nature may be mentioned the cry, sounding either like a wounded wolf in the wilderness or a wandering owl, which rings out in ku-tu-che, ("The Misanthrope," Mtik^t) and ch'iu-yeh ("Autumn Night") respectively. It is the voice of protest, a lonely cry amidst depressing silence.8 Schultz does not examine the owl image in isolation, but associates it with other relevant images in Lu Xun's fiction. This intertextual association helps to bring out a convincing interpretation. The owl image actually frequently appears in Lu Xun's various writings. A comprehensive observation will make its symbolic meaning more understandable. In traditional Chinese culture, people eye the owl as "a bird of ill-omen" — its emergence or cry heralds disaster.9 Therefore Lu Xun calls it a "fierce bird" and its cry a "fierce voice" (esheng, MF^)- But in his writing he changed its "ill-omen" nature by endowing it with a rebellious meaning. For instance, in 1924, the same year he composed "Autumn Night," Lu Xun was dissatisfied with the inactivity in contemporary Chinese literary circles and hoped for a powerful voice to awake the people and society. He wrote: "Where is the true fierce voice of the monster owl, only one cry of which is able to shock the people?!"10 By associating the owl's cry with other symbolic sounds such as the wounded-wolf-like cry of the autobiographical protagonist Wei Lianshu (Il&j^ii) in Lu Xun's fiction, and by identifying the metaphorical nature of the owl image, Schultz's interpretation that "it is the voice of protest, a lonely cry amidst depressing silence" is quite logical and reasonable. Controversy also exists over the interpretation of the little green insects. In the poem they are described as pitiful in appearance: "Like sunflower seeds with their large heads and small tails, they are only half the size of a grain of wheat, the whole of them an adorable, 8William Schultz, "Lu Hsiin, The Creative Years," unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1955, p. 373. 9Wolfram Eberhard, A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols — Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought, G. L. Campbell, Routledge, and Kegan Paul trans., London and New York, 1986, p. 221. 1 0 L u Xun, "YinyueV (Music?) in LXQJ. vol. 7. p. 53. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 33 pathetic green." A l t h o u g h they are sma l l , they bo ld ly dash themselves against the ch imney o f the lamp. "One hurls i tsel f into the ch imney f rom the top, fa l l ing into the flame. T w o or three others rest on the paper shade o f the lamp, pan t ing . " 1 1 In the 1950s some scholars considered the little green insects as symbols o f ordinary, brave people, who struggle to seek brightness or hope. A l t hough they may fa i l i n their endeavor, they never retreat. 1 2 In the 1970s, a different interpretation was put forward by other scholars. One argued that the little green insects are too ins igni f icant to symbo l i ze those ordinary, brave people who seek brightness at the expense o f their l i ves , because "their image is ugly rather than beaut i ful and the author's feel ings towards them is not admirable but i r on i c . " 1 3 Af terwards a more extreme v i e w was imparted, arguing that the litt le green insects are never images o f "heroes" but "egoists." " O n l y because they fear darkness and coldness o f the autumn night, and want to seek safety, do they struggle to squeeze into the h o u s e . " 1 4 This sort o f argument was der ived f rom the literary cr i ter ion preva i l ing in the Mao is t era, accord ing to wh ich a literary "hero" should be a complete ly v ir tuous image f rom its appearance to its mot ive for act ion. Otherwise it is not. The scholars w h o ho ld this v iewpo in t ignored that Wild Grass was hot created i n the so cal led "revolut ionary real ist ic mode" that was harshly advocated by the authorit ies i n the Mao i s t era. L e o Ou- fan Lee provides a different v iewpoint . H e regards the little green insects as " a subtle reminder, perhaps, o f the tumultuous flights o f his o w n fantasy. " 1 5 Th is v iewpo in t is appl icable. It also can be extended i n terms o f what k ind o f " tumultuous flights o f his o w n fantasy" it cou ld be. 1 yLXQJ. vol. 2. p. 163, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 318. 1 2 Wei Junxiu J2f$f|, LuXunyecao tansuo, #fflif#TH? (Exploration ofLuXun's WildGrass, 1953), 1953, p. 63. 1 3See Li Helin ^{Bf#, 1973, pp. 32-3. 1 4 M i n Kangsheng l'*ltr[^L, Diyu bianyan dexiaohua JfKKj&fci W/bffi (Small flowers at the rim of hell.), Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 1981, p. 18. 1 5 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1989, p. 105. C H A P T E R 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM L u X u n h imse l f once observed the phototaxis o f insects i n his essay: 34 A s for the insects that dash to the lamp, somebody says that they are to admire l ight; somebody says that they are to seek heat; somebody says that they are for sexual desire. A l l w i l l do. I on ly w i s h they wou ld not go around and a round . 1 6 A l though L u Xun ' s remark is not part icular ly on " A u t u m n N igh t , " it can st i l l be used as a reference to his feel ings. A t the end o f the poem, he wri tes: "I y a w n , l ight a cigarette, and pu f f out the smoke, pay ing silent homage before the lamp to these green and exquisi te he roes . " 1 7 A s an imp l i ed authorial presence, the I persona's praise o f the litt le green insects guides the reader's rat ional and emot ional response to achieve an aesthetic consent. The authorial vo ice in the text should not be ignored in the interpretation. C o m b i n i n g L u Xun ' s o w n observat ion o f the insects i n the essay and the authorial vo ice in the poem, we k n o w that it is their courage that makes the I persona pay "si lent homage before the lamp to these green and exquisi te heroes." They are not just "go ing around and around." N o matter what they are seeking, they real ly dash toward the fire. E v e n though their pursuit might be fatal, they st i l l persist, not consider ing the possib le tragic result. In this sense they are total ly different f rom the fly i n L u X u n ' s story "In the W i n e s h o p " (Zai jiuloushang, tSiM^Jl), wh i ch flies in a smal l c i rc le and f ina l ly returns to its or ig inal p lace. A s an important symbo l , L u X u n created it to reflect the hesitat ion and hopelessness o f some Chinese intel lectuals. L u X u n describes the litt le green insects w i th sustained lament and sympathy, and treats them in a sincere tone, even though they do not manifest decency and power. They are i n his m i n d "heroes," who bear a strong tragic meaning due to their dauntless sacr i f ice. In short, the l itt le insects can be taken as a symbol o f the tenacious spirit to act. It may we l l be understood 1 6 L u Xun, Wuti %M> (No title), in LXQJ. vol. 8, p. 102. X1LXQJ. vol. 2. p. 164, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 319. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 35 as an incorporation of one significant aspect of L u Xun's own spirit and can be found in many Wild Grass poems, especially in "The Passerby" (Guoke, i i ^ ) . "Autumn Night" has been cherished for a long time by readers owing to its elegiac diction, fantastic imagery, lyrical tone, and profound significance. The date trees have erected in readers' mind perhaps the most admirable image in Wild Grass, which represents righteousness, sobriety, tenacity, maturity, and selflessness. They epitomize Lu Xun's most precious intellectual quality: never compromise with dark power and always seek for a bright future. This intellectual quality, to varying degrees, penetrates many Wild Grass poems. "Revenge" (Fuchou, Mill) and "Revenge II" (Fuchou qi'er, H^TL^H) 1 8 The only two poems which share the same title in the collection are "Revenge" and "Revenge II." They may be regarded as variations of the same theme. In "Revenge," two naked lovers stand face-to-face in the open wilderness, each holding a sharp, pointed dagger in hand, and each about to hug or kill the other. Onlookers rush over from all sides like swarms of larvae or ants and stretch their necks high to expect an exciting sensation. But the couple eventually neither hug nor kill. There is not even the least sign that they intend to hug or kill. The onlookers' appetite for lust or violence cannot be satisfied. In the stalemate, they finally lose interest and dry up. Although the couple also dry up during the stalemate, they are intoxicated in "great pleasure" for their grotesque "revenge" on the crowd: At length only the vast wilderness remains and this dried couple, completely naked, standing in the middle; with dead men's eyes they enjoy the pedestrians to dry up, the great bloodless massacre, and are eternally plunged into life's giddy, excruciating bliss. 1 9 1 8These two poems were written on the same day of December 20, 1924, and both published in Yusi icf££ no. 7, December 29, 1924. ]9LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 173. Charles, J. Alber's translation in "WildGrass, Symmetry and Parallelism in Lu Hsiin's Prose Poems," in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, William H. Nienhauser, Jr. ed., The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1976, p. 24. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM 36 In "Revenge II," L u X u n adopts Christ 's c ruc i f i x ion f rom the Book of Matthew as its subject matter and translates this ancient b ib l i ca l story into a modern text directed at contemporary Ch inese pol i t ics . A t the moment the Son o f G o d is nai led on the cross, a c rowd gathers to enjoy the exc i t ing spectacle. A l l around is hate, p i t iable, execrable . . . A l l the passers-by insult and curse h i m , the ch ie f priests and the scribes also mock h i m , the two thieves being cruc i f ied w i th h i m r id icu le h i m t o o . 2 0 Chr is t refuses to dr ink the w ine m i x e d w i th myrrh. H e wants to stay sober to see how the Israelites treat the S o n o f G o d . In great agony f rom his broken bones, "he savors the sorrow o f the pi t iable creatures who are cruc i fy ing the S o n o f G o d , and the j o y o f the execrable creatures who are c ruc i fy ing the Son o f G o d . " E v e n though the pa in shoots through his heart and marrow, he is intoxicated in "great ecstasy and compass ion" for h is more grotesque "revenge" on the c r o w d . 2 1 A n g u i s h at the spir i tual ly paralyzed c rowd o f C h i n a is a reiterated theme o f L u Xun ' s wr i t ing , not on ly in prose poetry, but also in his stories and essays. F o r example , i n 1923, one year before he wrote "Revenge" and "Revenge II," he wrote i n an essay: The masses, especia l ly i n C h i n a , are a lways spectators at a drama. I f the v i c t i m o n the stage acts hero ica l ly , they are watch ing a tragedy; i f he shivers and shakes, they are watch ing a comedy. Before the mutton shops in Be i j i ng a few people often gather to gape, w i th evident enjoyment, at the sk inn ing o f the sheep. A n d this is a l l they get out o f it i f a man lay d o w n his l i fe. Moreover , after wa l k i ng a few steps away f rom the scene they forget even this m o d i c u m o f enjoyment. There is nothing you can do w i th such people; the way to save them is to g ive them no drama to w a t c h . 2 2 20LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 174, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 324. 2 1 Ibid.,p. 175. 22LXQJ. vol. 1, p. 163, Leo Ou-fan Lee's translation in Voices from the Iron House, 1987, P. 72. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 37 At tempt ing to launch an enl ightenment to change the minds o f the c rowd was what several generations o f Ch inese intel lectuals wanted to do after the midd le o f the Q i n g dynasty when C h i n a gradual ly became the target o f aggression by power fu l Western countr ies and Japan. Bu t even after the Revo lu t i on o f 1911 and the M a y Four th M o v e m e n t in 1919, the enl ightenment achieved litt le and the c rowd changed l itt le. Th i s made L u X u n very pessimist ic . Th is pess im ism concern ing the ignorant Ch inese c rowd is power fu l l y v i sua l i zed i n the str ik ing scenes in "Revenge" and "Revenge II." W h e n L u X u n cr i t ic izes the apathy and cruelty o f the c rowd , h is feel ings are paradoxica l . The protagonists' target o f revenge is precisely the people L u X u n wants to save spir i tual ly. Th is paradox determines that the revenge can only be "a passive revenge . " 2 3 In "Revenge" the protagonists neither hug nor k i l l in order not to g ive the c rowd " a drama" to watch. In "Revenge II" L u X u n protests the majori ty 's tyranny over an awakened ind iv idua l , w h o can on ly sacr i f ice his o w n l i fe i n the hope that the c rowd may awaken i n the future. 2 4 Bo th poems are compact in structure. They are wri t ten without l ine breaks, but they are h igh ly poet ic in that convent ional modes o f vers i f icat ion such as pronounced rhythms, sonorous words, and repeated verses are employed to achieve a poet ic perfect ion. A l t hough these two poems bear some simi lar i t ies in the aspects o f theme and structure, a number o f dif ferences can st i l l be found in artistic expression and effect. F i rst , the subject matter o f "Revenge" is v isua l ly ero t ic , 2 5 wh i le the subject matter o f "Revenge II" is phys ica l ly v io lent . "Revenge" is quiet and st i l l — no vo ice is exhib i ted i n the scene. Excep t for the si lent swarming o f the larvae- l ike or ant- l ike onlookers, there is no act ion either. 2 3 This is a term used by Su Xuelin to criticize "Revenge," in Su Xuelin Wo lun LuXun (I comment on Lu Xun), Taizhong: Wenxing shudian, 1967, p. 12. 2 4 This argument evolves from Charles Alber's viewpoint. He maintains that the protagonist "enjoys suffering on the cross, because he knows that his own anguish will cause the Israelites much greater anguish in the future." See Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, p. 9. 2 5Charles Alber, in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, p. 9. C H A P T E R 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM 38 F r o m beginn ing to end, the couple stand st i l l i n the open wi lderness, l ike a sp lendid sculpture h igh above the hor izon. The descr ipt ion o f the " th ick layers" o f larvae- l ike or ant- l ike onlookers and o f their stretching necks to watch v isua l ly enhances the sculptural effect o f the scene. B y way o f contrast, "Revenge II" is agitated and noisy. In a tu rmoi l , the soldiers beat, mock , and insult the Son o f G o d . They w i l d l y hammer nai ls through his pa lms and the soles o f his feet. The c l i c k i ng sounds o f the hammer ing and the curses o f the c rowd m i x w i th Chr ist 's pa in fu l moans. The who le poem is presented in a v isua l ly and audib ly d isturbing scene. Its effect is s imi lar to a stage play. Secondly , in "Revenge" the confrontat ion between the protagonists and the c rowd is presented on the emot ional leve l and in the author's unintrusive attitude. Wi thout any emot ional indulgence, L u X u n narrates the confrontat ion in a total ly ca lm tone. H e even gives up the pr iv i lege o f descr ib ing the protagonists' inner feel ings and mot ives. B y contrast, the conf l ic t in "Revenge II" invo lves b loody v io lence. A l l the descr ipt ions o f Chr ist 's suffer ing are rendered w i th the author's strong emot ion. A t the end o f the poem, he cannot help but intrude to present a didact ic comment : "Those who reek most o f b lood and filth are not those who cruci fy the S o n o f G o d , but those who cruc i fy the son o f m a n . " 2 6 The author's intrusion w i th a direct comment is not often seen in the Wild Grass poems that are wri t ten in a third person narrat ion. A few other examples can be found on ly in " S n o w " (Xue, If) and " A m i d Pa le B loodsta ins . " The verse quoted above became a w e l l -k n o w n epigram, w h i c h profoundly encompasses L u X u n ' s indignat ion at not on ly the fai lure o f the awakened to enl ighten the c rowd , but also the part ic ipat ion o f the c rowd in the persecut ion o f the awakened. Cr i t i cs offered var ious compar isons between these two poems f rom different analyt ic perspectives. Char les A l b e r argues that "Revenge" is " a quasi -moral i ty p lay," wh i le "Revenge II" is "h igh ly humanist ic . " Furthermore, "Revenge II" i tsel f balances "Revenge" i n 26LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 175, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 325. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 39 the sense that "The c rowd depicted in the former truly becomes dehumanized. The animate actual ly becomes inan imate . " 2 7 L e o Ou- fan Lee also makes a compar ison o f "the tone and m o o d " between the two: It is reveal ing to compare the tone and m o o d o f the two poems. W h i l e "Revenge I" is more " ind iv idua l is t i c " i n its al ienat ing confrontat ion between the lone couple and the c rowd , the ending for "Revenge II" seems more "human is t i c . " 2 8 A l l these compar isons assist us to understand better these two famous poems w i th the same tit le, in w h i c h L u X u n focuses his c r i t i c ism not on ly on dark society, but also on the mental ignorance o f the Ch inese masses. Th is theme can also be found in his story " M e d i c i n e " (Yao, M), i n w h i c h the awakened character X i a Y u (JCffy) conf l ic ts w i th both the oppressive authorit ies and the ignorant c rowd. "The Lost G o o d H e l l " (Shidiao de hao dim, ^Wtfjm&t)29 "The Los t G o o d H e l l " is presented in a dream and reads l ike a myth ica l a l legory w i th a relat ively complete plot. Themat ica l ly it is one o f the most ambiguous poems in Wild Grass. It describes the successive f ights between god, the dev i l , and man to control he l l . The opening two paragraphs are a pro logue, in w h i c h the first person narrator tel ls o f his fortuitous encounter w i th a dev i l c lose to he l l . The rest o f the poem is a mono logue o f the dev i l , whose story constructs the pr inc ipa l part o f this a l legor ical poem. It was when heaven and earth were the co lor o f honey that the dev i l overcame god and contro l led the three regions: heaven, earth, and he l l . Unde r the devi l 's rule, the ghosts in he l l l i ved a terrible l i fe. M a n y years passed, the ghosts awakened and f ina l ly cr ied out to rebel . M a n arose to respond to the ghosts' rebel l ion, defeated the dev i l , and became the new ruler o f 2 7Charles Alber, in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, pp. 8-10. 2 8 L e o Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1989, p. 105. 2 9 This poem was written on June 16, 1925 and first published in Yusi no. 32, June 22, 1925. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 40 he l l . Man ' s emissary reorganized he l l and ruled over the ghosts w i th the majesty o f man. "The decadent face" o f he l l changed; the ghosts' si tuation, however , became even worse than before. Some f ic t ional techniques are employed in this poem. Because there are clear characters and plots, it is not d i f f icu l t to observe its surface mean ing: since man became the new ruler o f he l l , the situation o f the ghosts worsened. Howeve r , the mora l this a l legor ica l poem presents and the explanat ion o f its ch ie f a l legor ical agents such as god, the dev i l , and man have long been controversial in the interpretations. In 1956 Feng X u e f e n g tr ied to reveal the theme o f the poem: " O n the one hand 'The Los t G o o d H e l l ' foresees the darkness o f the Guomindang authorit ies. O n the other hand it also betrays the author's pessimist ic v iewpoin t towards the revolut ionary future at that t ime." A s for its a l legor ica l agents, Feng argued that hel l "refers to contemporary Be i j i ng under the reign o f Imper ia l ism and the Be iyang warlords. It also can refer to semi -co lon ia l and semi -feudal C h i n a in general ." The dev i l , o f course, refers to the war lord rulers and the ghosts refer to ordinary people, wh i le man "obv ious ly refers to the members o f Guomindang w h o had not yet seized power at the t i m e . " 3 0 Feng's interpretation was echoed by W a n g Y a o , another Ch inese Commun i s t scholar. H e came forward to say that L u X u n "had the presentiment o f a genius that these people (the Guomindang) cou ld never shoulder the task o f destroying hel l and l iberat ing the ghos ts . " 3 1 "The Los t G o o d H e l l " was wri t ten in 1925, but the G u o m i n d a n g seized power and establ ished China 's new government i n 1927. H o w can the theme o f the poem be to denounce the Guomindang 's future rule? W a s L u X u n real ly able to " foresee" or "have the presentiment o f a genius" about the Guomindang 's future? A l t hough Feng and Wang's v iewpoin t does not sound p lausib le, it has been repeated again and again by many Chinese 3 0 Feng Xuefeng ^ H i i t , Lun Yecao i ^ S f ^ (On Wild Grass), 1956, p. 25. 3 1 See Wang Yao jEJSr, "Lun Yecao" i & S f ^ (On Wild Grass), in LuXun zuopin lunji #ififr-nnifc^t (Commentary collection of Lu Xun's works), 1984, p. 129. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 41 scholars for more than half a century, and become an interpretative canon of this poem.32 Also during this interpretative process, Lu Xun has been dressed up as an anti-Guomindang hero with a genius for foresight. It was not until the 1980s or so that some scholars started to challenge Feng and Wang's point of view. For instance, a historian of Lu Xun studies asks: If it was really as Feng and Wang's articles have said that Lu Xun in 1925 had already "foreseen the darkness of the Guomindang authorities," does that not mean they have overestimated Lu Xun's predictive abilities and made him into a "fortune-teller"?33 Even though Feng and Wang's interpretation of god, the devil, and man is problematic, it has remained the exclusive interpretation. No alternative and reasonable interpretation has been put forth to replace it since. In view of the above-mentioned facts, I attempt to provide a novel and reasonable interpretation by means of a careful examination of both the text of the poem and the historical context in which it was produced. Rather than viewing god, the devil, and man respectively as "the Qing dynasty, the Beiyang warlords, and the Guomindang,"34 I regard them as referring to the rulers of different historical stages in China, that is, the imperial dynasties established by the Chinese people, the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) that was established by the Manchu people, and the Republic of China, the first modern government. The time "when heaven and earth were the color of honey" can be considered a remote past. The defeat of god can be regarded as an allegory of the termination of the Ming 3 2See Li Helin $ | B J # , 1 9 7 3 , p. 1 4 7 ; Sun Yushi #55 , Yecaoyanjiu i f^ i f f? {WildGrass study), Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1 9 8 2 , p. 1 2 4 ; Li Xifan ^ ^ J L , Yige weida xunqiuzhe dexinsheng —'t ' l^A^-^ (The mental voice of a great explorer), Shanghai wenyi chubanshe, 1 9 8 2 , p. 5 9 ; and Sun Yushi #5 5, LuXun Yecao chongshi, viii #2tSf^S#, A (Re-interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass, viii), in LuXun yanjiu yuekan HififiJf^ E I^ fJ (Lu Xun study monthly), 1 9 9 6 , no. 8, p. 2 1 . 3 3 Yuan Liangjun M&Wi, Dangdai Lu Xunyanjiushi ^Jt#i&5f;H:jfe (A contemporary history of Lu Xun study), Shanxi jiaoyu chubanshe, 1 9 9 2 , p. 3 0 5 . 3 4 L i Xifan ^#f l , Yige weida xunqiuzhe dexinsheng — ^ f t A ^ ^ ^ K l ' L ^ (The mental voice of a great explorer), 1 9 8 2 , p. 5 9 . C H A P T E R 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM 42 dynasty, the last imper ia l regime wi th Ch inese as emperors. The devi l 's v ic tory accord ing ly can be interpreted as the beginning o f the Q i n g dynasty, establ ished by the M a n c h u people after a long b loody f ight i n the conquest o f the Chinese people. L u X u n commented on this gr ievous event a number o f t imes in his essays. Fo r instance, i n A p r i l 1925, one and ha l f months before he composed "The Los t G o o d H e l l , " when he discussed the soc ia l d isorder that usual ly occurred dur ing the t ime o f dynastic changes, he especia l ly ment ioned the people's suffer ing in the late M i n g and the rebel leader Zhang X ianzhong 's (3t£$j£/i&) cruelty. H e sa id : " F r o m an extreme chaos o f numerous groups o f bandits, a person wou ld emerge, who was relat ively smart, or relat ively canny, or a foreigner. H e w o u l d create relative order i n the wor ld . . . . Therefore, 'thousands o f fami l ies became happy' or, to use a proverb, 'the wor ld was i n great peace' (tianxia taiping, ^cT^C^P 1)." 3 5 L u X u n ' s remark is appl icable to the fact that "a foreigner" or, to put it concretely, the M a n c h u ruler, f ina l ly created "relat ive order i n the w o r l d " by found ing a new authority, that is the Q i n g dynasty, after the extreme socia l chaos i n the later M i n g dynasty. Therefore it may also serve as a footnote for the descr ipt ion in the poem: A f te r the dev i l conquered he l l , he p roc la imed " H e l l is in great peace" (dixia taiping, J&Tyfc^P1). In another essay, L u X u n wrote i n an i ronic tone, "The imper ia l fami ly o f the Q i n g . . . had great humani ty and vir tue, and then it w o n over the count ry . " 3 6 Th is remark also assists in understanding the image o f the dev i l , w h o "came in person to he l l and sat in the midst o f it, radiat ing great brightness over a l l the ghos ts . " 3 7 Dur ing a long histor ical per iod o f more than two hundred years, the Ch inese people suffered heavi ly f rom pol i t ica l and racial oppression under the rule o f the Q i n g dynasty, or in L u Xun ' s words, "had been slaves for two hundred and f i f ty yea rs . " 3 8 L u X u n ' s c r i t i c ism o f 3 5 L u Xun, "Dengxia manbi" ifcTTSI^ (Jottings by lamplight), in LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 212. 3 6 L u Xun, "Weizhang he timu" XM^^R (Assays and topics), LXQJ, vol. 5, p. 122. 3 1 LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 200, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 346. 3 8 L u Xun, "Suanzhang" ^ f t (Settle an account), LXQJ, vol. 5, p. 514. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM the rule of the Qing dynasty throws light on the allegorical description of the devil's hell. Under the rule of the devil, 43 hell had been long neglected: the spiked trees had lost their glitter, the edges of the boiling oil no longer seethed, at times the great fires merely puffed out a little smoke.39 Instead of viewing "man," who "fought against the devil" and "forced him to withdraw from hell," as representing the Guomindang, I suggest that this allegorical agent represents the republican revolutionaries led by Sun Yat-sen (^h^Ul, 1866-1925). After the Revolution of 1911, which was launched by the republican revolutionaries and brought an end to the Qing dynasty, Sun Yat-sen was inaugurated as the Provisional President of the Republic on January 1, 1912 in Nanjing. In February Sun offered to favor Yuan Shikai (^"tttgfl, 1859-1916), the most powerful former military leader of the Manchu government, with the presidency if he would openly declare his support for the Republic. Yuan Shikai accepted and was formally inaugurated as the Provisional President on March 12, 1912 in Beijing. After the inauguration of the presidency, he tried to establish a constitutional monarchy. This historical event is perhaps suggested in the poem where man gave "the highest post to the Ox-headed Demon (Niushou Ah Pang, 4 1 IfW^r*)," who in the legend is a powerful demon with the head of an ox and the strength to move a mountain, and serves as the guard of hell.4 0 I tend to interpret the Ox-headed Demon as referring to the powerful warlords, who formerly served as militarists of the Qing dynasty. In fact, not only Yuan Shikai, but also his successors such as Li Yuanhong (J^TCi^, 1864-1928), Cao Kun, and Duan Qirui, had all been former military leaders of the Qing dynasty. It is also interesting to note that the contemporary Provisional Chief Executive Duan Qirui, according to the Chinese 39'LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 200, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 346. 4 0 See the footnote of the poem in LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 201. C H A P T E R 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM 44 custom, had a "birth p ic ture" (shengxiao, ) o f the ox , because he was born in the Y e a r o f the O x . L u X u n once ca l led h i m " a fox " who stole "the power and prestige o f a t iger" to mainta in his re ign o f terror. 4 1 Therefore it seems plausib le to v i e w the a l legor ica l agent O x -headed D e m o n , who rules over a l l ghosts w i th the majesty o f man, as the northern war lords. L u X u n ' s private reference to "man" as the leaders o f the republ ican regime is also c lose ly related to the h istor ical context at the t ime. In 1925 when "The Los t G o o d H e l l " was wri t ten, the Be i j i ng war lo rd government was China 's exc lus ive legit imate government and was formal ly recognized by the international communi ty . It was also the first modern government o f C h i n a . D u r i n g the republ ican per iod, modern po l i t i ca l , administrat ive, and legal institutions were establ ished. The war lords governed the nat ion under the republ ican banner — the banner o f "man . " A m o n g the war lords centered on the A n f u C l i que , a po l i t i ca l b loc headed by D u a n Q i r u i , many were even self-styled bel ievers i n soc ia l i sm. It was due to the establ ishment o f the Repub l i c that in 1912 L u X u n became an o f f i c ia l in the newly-establ ished M in i s t r y o f Educat ion . L u X u n once ment ioned this i n h is autobiography: "The revolut ionary government was establ ished in Nan j i ng . The min is ter o f educat ion recruited me to be an o f f i c ia l . I moved to Be i j i ng and have worked there t i l l n o w . " 4 2 Th is autobiography was wri t ten twenty days before "The Los t G o o d H e l l . " W e should note that L u X u n addressed the republ ican government as "the revolut ionary government." A t least he thought its in i t ia l stage was "revolut ionary." H i s remark helps us to understand the imp l i ca t ion o f the fo l l ow ing descr ipt ion: M a n then w ie lded absolute power over he l l , his authority exceeding that o f the dev i l . H e re-establ ished order, hav ing g iven the highest post to the Ox-headed D e m o n . H e also added fuel to the fires, sharpened the sword-h i l l s and changed the who le face o f he l l , do ing away w i th the former decadence. 4 3 4 , L u Xun, "Y i Wei Suyuan jun" 'iZ^S'Sff (Remembering Mr. Wei Suyuan), LXQJ, vol. 6, p. 65. 4 2 L u Xun, "Ewen yiben Ah Q Zhengzhuan xu j i zhuzhe zixu zhuanlue" \$JCM^fMq]E\^yj-i\ (Preface to Russian edition of The True Story of Ah Q and the author's brief autobiography), LXQJ, vol. 7. p. 83. 43LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 200, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 347. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 45 Th is can be v iewed as a spectacle o f the incipient stage o f the Repub l i c , w h i c h overwhe lmed the imper ia l system in terms o f power and reputation. Bu t careful readers also find an i rony in it. L u X u n first indirect ly expresses his dissat isfact ion w i th the fact that the Repub l i c fe l l into the hands o f the war lords — " M a n gave the highest post to the Ox-headed D e m o n , " and then direct ly depicts the disasters that happened to the people (ghosts): A t once the mandrake f lowers withered. The o i l seethed as before, the swords were sharp as before, the fires b lazed as before, and the ghosts groaned and wr i thed as before, unt i l none o f them had t ime to regret the good he l l that was los t . 4 4 China 's society in the 1920s resembled just what is a l legor ica l ly descr ibed i n the poem. O w n i n g both mi l i tary strength and pol i t ica l legi t imacy, the war lords ruled C h i n a i n absolute dictatorship, wh i le the people suffered terribly. In v i e w o f this, the author intrudes and, through the mouth o f the dev i l , articulates a direct condemnat ion: "Th is was man's success and the ghosts' m is fo r tune . " 4 5 W i t h the above analysis the theme o f the poem becomes clear: the Ch inese people's l i fe under the republ ican regime was worse than that before the 1911 Revo lu t i on . So the "good he l l " under the imper ia l system was " lost." L u X u n , however , does not real ly mean that the imper ia l system was good for the Chinese people. H e once d iv ided China 's history into two cyc les, the cyc le that people cou ld temporar i ly settle into as slaves and the cyc le in w h i c h people wanted to be slaves but cou ldn ' t . 4 6 In the imper ia l regime, there were probably some opportunit ies for the Ch inese people to have a relat ively stable l i fe as slaves, wh i le in the republ ican era even the opportunity to be slaves was lost. H e exp l ic i t l y utters his disappointment w i th the Repub l i c i n an essay o f 1925, the same year he wrote "The Lost G o o d H e l l " : 4 4Ibid., p. 200, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 347. 4 5Ibid., p. 200, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 347. 4 6 L u X u n , "Dengxiamanbi" ifcjTttl- (Jottings by lamplight), in LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 213. C H A P T E R 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM 46 I feel there has been no Repub l i c o f C h i n a for a long t ime. I feel that I used to be a slave before the revolut ion [of 1911]. N o t long after the revolut ion I was cheated by the slaves and became their s lave. I feel that many subjects o f the Repub l i c became the enemies o f the Repub l i c . I feel that everything should be done again. I feel that the origin of the Republic has been lost, a l though only fourteen years have pas t ! 4 7 (emphasis added) L u Xun ' s o w n words — "the or ig in o f the Repub l i c has been lost" — can be v iewed as the best summary o f the theme o f the poem. H e denounces the war lo rd po l i t i cs , shows his sympathy for the Chinese people's suffer ing, and regrets the Repub l i c fa l l ing into the hands o f the former mi l i tar ists o f the Q i n g dynasty. In the republ ican per iod the Ch inese people suffered even more than in imper ia l t imes. Th is theme is also imp l i ed in the tit le "The Los t G o o d H e l l . " The poem should have nothing to do w i th the rule o f the Guomindang . In 1925 the G u o m i n d a n g acted main ly in the south. It launched a war against the northern war lords in 1926, and f ina l ly w o n and became the new ru l ing party o f C h i n a in 1927, that is, two years later than the wr i t ing o f this poem. "The V ib ra t ion o f the Decrepi t L i n e " (Tuibaixian de zhandons. WMt&&)MihY& Th is poem consists o f the I persona's two dreams about a woman's l i fe. The first dream displays a melancholy scene, i n w h i c h a young woman , i n order to make a l i v i ng and feed her l itt le daughter, is se l l ing her f lesh. Under a tyrannical male body, her thin and smal l body "vibrates w i th hunger, agony, pan ic , shame, and joy . " A l t h o u g h she is reluctant to do this, she feels grat i f ied because she is able to tel l her daughter: " W e have something to eat t oday . " 4 9 The second dream shows a scene o f many years later. The mother becomes o ld 4 7 L u Xun, "Huran xiangdao III" %MW3\, H (Sudden thought III), in LXQJ. vol. 3. p. 16. 4 8 This poem was written on June 29, 1925 and published in Yusi no. 35, July 13, 1925. Hereafter "The Decrepit Line." 49LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 204. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 47 and the daughter grows up. There is never any gratitude to the old woman for raising her daughter, only resentment, because her career as a prostitute has brought shame to the whole family. The little grandchild wields a reed leaf as a sword towards her and shouts: "Kill!" Her feelings are severely hurt. At midnight she goes out and stands in the center of the wilderness. Nude, stretching her arms high towards the sky like a stone sculpture, she recalls all "hunger, agony, panic, shame, and joy" in the past and speaks out in "a wordless language that is between man and animal, and lacking in the human world."50 At this moment her whole decrepit body vibrates, like boiling water floating on raging fire. The air around her vibrates too, like the ocean tide in a storm surging violently in the boundless wilderness. Lu Xun's concern over the misfortune of women, which is the theme of the poem, is easy to identify. The main part of the poem is a realistic, self-revelatory account focusing on the protagonist's poverty and humiliation. The image of the woman is reminiscent of other miserable female characters in Lu Xun's fiction such as Xiang Lin's Wife (Xianglin sao, ##£JI),51 Fourth Shan's Wife (Shansi saozi, Jp-MT), 5 2 and Aigu (JiM).53 The difference is that the nameless woman in "Decrepit Line" is among the earliest images of the oppressed and harmed urban people in modern Chinese literature. In this sense she is similar to the workwoman Chen Ermei (ffls^ffi)54 and the rickshaw man55 in Yu Dafu's fiction. The poem offers a picture of the urban life of ordinary Chinese in the 1920s, which was characterized by poverty and starvation. "The Decrepit Line" presents the woman's prostitution against the setting of poverty and starvation, but it is not aimed at accusing the 50LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 206. 5 1 L u Xun, "Zhufu" #t?g (The new-year sacrifice), .LXQJ. vol. 2, pp. 5-23 5 2 L u Xun, "Mingtian" (Tomorrow), LXQJ. vol. 1, pp. 450-7 5 3 L u Xun, "Lihun" MM (The divorce), LXQJ. vol. 2, pp. 144-54 5 4 Y u Dafu Wl$ji£^, "Chunfeng Chenzui de wanshang" # J * l t / l l £ K j l $ L t (The night intoxicated in the spring wind), 1923. 5 5 Y u Dafu fiPS5*c, "Bodian" MM (Meager funeral gift), 1924. C H A P T E R 2, SOCIAL A N D POLITICAL CRITICISM 48 "The Decrepit Line" is the only poem in Wild Grass that directly presents ordinary people's suffering. Its theme of social criticism is explicit. Artistically, the reader should pay special attention to the last part of the poem. Sharply contrasting with the previous matter-of-fact descriptions, it is "totally surrealistic."56 In this part, Lu Xun deliberately interweaves markedly variant diction, both literal and figurative, into literary effects that can be perceived by different senses: sight, hearing, touch, and imagination. The nude old woman, her figure like a stone sculpture, her wordless language, her decrepit body's vibration, the vast expanse of the wilderness, and the powerful responses from nature are combined together to structure one of the most splendid scenes in Wild Grass. "Such a Fighter" (Zhevans de zhanshi, ^M^t±)51 This poem, according to Lu Xun himself, "was written in reaction to the fact that men of letters and scholars were assisting the warlords."58 At the opening of the poem, he asserts "There will be such a fighter!" The fighter appearing in the poem is armed with "neither a well-polished Mauser nor an automatic pistol." "He has nothing but himself, and for weapon nothing but a lance hurled by barbarians."59 In spite of his poor outfit, he still strides into the battle field. There, everyone he meets nods at him. Above their heads hang all kinds of flags and banners, embroidered with honorable titles: philanthropist, scholar, writer, elder, youth, dilettante, gentleman, etc. They wear all kinds of overcoats, embroidered with fine names: scholarship, morality, national culture, public opinion, logic, justice, oriental civilization, etc. The fighter knows that their nod is "a weapon used by the enemy to kill without bloodshed, by which many fighters have 5 6This term is used by Leo Ou-fan Lee in his comment on the last part of the poem. See Leo Ou-fan Lee, "Lu Xun yu xiandai yishu yishi" #ifi-^5W^"£^^VAN (Lu Xun and the consciousness of modem art), in Tiewuzhong de nahan c^M f^1 (Voices from the Iron House), 1995, p. 299. 5 7This poem was written on December 14, 1925 and published in Yusi i p i £ , no. 58, December 21, 1925. 5 8 L u Xun, "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" Sf^^^Ci^^J^ (A preface to the English edition of Yecao), LXQJ. vol. 4, p. 356. 59LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 214, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 354. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 49 perished."60 He raises his lance and hurls it at them. All the flags and overcoats crumble and fall to the ground. Those who nodded at him have escaped. "Such a Fighter" is the only poem in which the fighting spirit of "a fighter" is transformed into an active attack. Furthermore the fighter's faith stays steadfast and his morale remains high — he has been endowed with limitless courage by the author. Because of this, it has long been asserted that Lu Xun's fighting spirit reaches its "climax" in this poem.61 I pay appropriate attention to the symbolic meaning of the primitive lance that the fighter uses as the weapon. Lu Xun once figuratively called his essays of social criticism "dagger and lance" (bishou he touqiang, fctf'^fJS^).62 In the realm of Lu Xun studies, "dagger and lance" has become a synonym of his essays, which number several hundred pieces and involve numerous topics on China's society and culture. The fighter is usually read as a self-portrait of Lu Xun. In view of this the active attack against the surrounding world by the unyielding fighter can also be regarded as a figurative incorporation of his constant social and cultural criticism. But he was only a writer and in his deep mind, he often felt his writing was ineffective in changing society and people's mind. Sometimes he was sad about this, as he wrote in a classical-style poem, "Dallying with writings, one gets caught in a written net;/ Resisting the times, runs afoul of worldly sentiment./ Slander, when built up, can dissolve the very bone:/1 leave behind naught but words on paper strown."63 Lu Xun's sadness is also imbued in "Such a Fighter." Shortly after the fighter launches the attack, he finds his enemy is "nothingness" and the battle field "the lines of nothingness." He even loses his target of attack. He seems to have won, but actually he has been defeated: 6 0Ibid., p. 214, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 354. 6 1 Wei Junxiu JJj£?f, 1954, p. 179; and Sun Yushi # 5 5 , 1982, p. 34. 6 2 L u Xun, "Xiaopinwen de weiji" A^mXMWSl (The crisis of short essays), LXQJ, vol. 4, p. 576. 6 3 L u Xun, "Ti Nahan" M^M (Inscribed to Call to Arms), LXQJ, vol. 7, p. 442, Kowallis' translation in The Lyrical Lu Xun, 1996, p. 254. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 50 The nothingness has escaped and w o n the v ic tory, because now he has become the c r im ina l who k i l l ed the phi lanthropist and the rest. A t last he grows o ld and dies o f o ld age in the l ines o f nothingness. H e is not a fighter after a l l , and the nothingness is the v ic tor . 6 4 " A m i d Pale B loods ta ins" (Dandan de xuehen zhons, ^$.$1 rfU'Mtf1)65 Th is poem, w h i c h has a subtitle "In M e m o r y o f Some W h o A r e D e a d , S t i l l L i v i n g , and Y e t U n b o r n " (Jinian jige sizhe he shengzhe he weishengzhe, l S ^ i L ^ ^ ^ f n ^ # f r i 7 r C ^ # ) , 6 6 was wri t ten after the M a r c h Eighteenth Massacre , when D u a n Qirui, the Prov is iona l Execu t i ve o f Be i j i ng government, ordered his troops to open f ire on students and other peaceful c i v i l i an demonstrators, who gathered to protest the government's compl iance w i th Japanese interference i n C h i n a . In the incident forty-seven demonstrators were k i l l ed , two being L u X u n ' s students. The k i l l i ng greatly disturbed L u X u n and made h i m feel extreme anguish. It was at this juncture that he wrote this poem. In the third person, the intrusive author not only reports, but also comments on and evaluates the act ions and mot ives o f the characters f rom an omnisc ient point o f v iew. The d ic t ion is l i teral , instead o f f igurat ive, as is usual ly the case w i th poet ic d ic t ion. L u X u n strongly condemns the war lords ' b loody k i l l i ng o f the peaceful demonstrators. H e employs "the creator" as a metaphor to s igni fy its opposi te, the destroyer, to denounce the war lord k i l lers . H e exp l ic i t l y declares "the creator is st i l l a weak l i ng " : In secret, he causes heaven and earth to change, but dares not destroy this wo r ld . In secret, he causes l i v i ng creatures to d ie, but dares not preserve their dead bodies. In secret, he causes mank ind to shed b lood, but dares not keep the bloodstains fresh for ever. In secret, he causes mank ind to suffer pa in , but dares not let them remember it forever. . . . H e has not the courage yet to destroy mank ind . 6 7 LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 215, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 362. 6SThis poem was written on April 8, 1926 and published in Yusii^i^ no. 75, April 19, 1926 66This subtitle was originally lacking and added by Lu Xun in 1927 when Wild Grass was first published as a collection. 6 1 LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 211, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 361. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 51 "The creator" does not have the courage to destroy mankind, because he needs "loyal subjects." He wants them to live in a state between "sobriety and drunkenness, consciousness and unconsciousness." He makes them desire either to live or to die. "This is what he wants them to be."68 As a strong protest against the warlords' brutality, in the poem Lu Xun appeals to a "rebellious fighter," who "sees through the creator's game. And he will arise to awaken or else destroy mankind, these loyal subjects of the creator."69 Although he did not approve of the ineffective and vulnerable petition,70 Lu Xun embedded his commendation of the demonstrators in the rebellious fighter, the visionary image of directly resisting "the creator." As an antagonist of "the creator," the rebellious fighter has a more determinate target of revenge than the protagonists in "Revenge" and "Such A Fighter." He, however, like all protagonists with a rebellious mind in Wild Grass, remains a loner. He still suffers from being disappointed by the crowd — "the loyal subjects of the creator." If he cannot rescue them, he will destroy them. Furthermore he does not show enough strength to be a powerful fighter. A l l he can do is to remember and face the violence: He remembers all the intense and unending agony; he faces squarely the whole welter of clotted blood; he understands all that are dead and all that are living, as well as all that are being born and all that are yet unborn.71 This paragraph actually reflects Lu Xun's humanistic vision. His rebellious fighter represents only an emotional and moral revenge and is unable to rebel against "the creator" in a more effective way. At most, it evokes from the audience emotional sadness and moral indignation at the brutality of the warlords and is powerless to change society effectively. 68Ibid., p. 221. 69Ibid, p. 222, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 362. 70Afterthe March 18 Incident, Lu Xun wrote: "'Petitioning' should stop." See "Sidi" JEilfc (Dead field), LXQJ, vol. 3, p. 267. 7 1 Ibid., p. 222, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 362. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 52 But f rom an ult imate perspect ive, it is power fu l i n the sense o f just ice and moral i ty. In this sense, the rebel l ious f ighter is a superior antagonist and w i l l be bound to t r iumph over "the creator." Therefore at the end o f the poem, L u X u n wri tes: The creator, the weak l i ng , hides h imse l f in shame. Then heaven and earth change co lo r in the eyes o f the f ighter. 7 2 Justice and moral i ty w i l l f ina l ly w i n over ev i l . Th is is what L u X u n hoped. E v e n though it was st i l l i n the darkest days, he predicted a hopefu l future for the Chinese people. A l t hough his predict ion sounds romant ic and unreal ist ic, the stanza ci ted above becomes the most encouraging passage in Wild Grass. "The A w a k e n i n g " (Yijue, — ic ; ) 7 3 In A p r i l 1926 when this poem was wri t ten, war lord Feng Y u x i a n g o f the Z h i l i fact ion was f ight ing the northeast war lords Zhang Z u o l i n and L i J ing l i n jp^). Zhang and L i ' s planes f l ew several t imes da i ly to bomb Be i j i ng . Th is tr iggered L u X u n ' s inspirat ion to wri te this last piece o f Wild Grass. " E a c h t ime I hear their engines attack the air, I feel a certain sl ight tension, as i f I were wi tnessing the invas ion o f Death, though this heightens my consciousness o f the existence o f L i f e . " 7 4 Perhaps because o f the threat o f death, L u X u n senses his responsib i l i ty to f in ish edit ing some young writers' manuscr ipts that have accumulated in hand. In edi t ing these manuscr ipts, he feels that the young writers are unhappy. In their wr i t ing they cry out in protest. L u X u n quotes a paragraph, w h i c h says that the contemporary society is so chaotic and g loomy that it is even worse than a sterile desert. L u X u n shares the same feel ing. H e cannot help but consent and so lemnly give a direct comment : 7 2Ibid., p. 222, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 362. 7 3This poem was written on April 10, 1926 and published in Yusi ip-££ no. 75, April 19, 1926. 14 LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 223, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 363. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 53 Y e s , the young people's spiri ts have r isen up before me. They have grown rugged, or are about to g row rugged. Bu t I love these spiri ts w h i c h bleed and suffer in s i lence. 7 5 L u X u n ' s compl iment to the young people, o f course, conveys his respect for those young demonstrators k i l l ed or wounded in the M a r c h Eighteenth Massacre . "The i r spir i ts become rugged because o f the onslaught o f w i n d and dust . " 7 6 The atrocity o f the war lord government and the b lood o f the c iv i l i ans awaken the youths and make them rugged. The title o f the poem suggests "the awaken ing" o f Ch inese youths. Summary A n a l y z i n g some Wild Grass poems in the histor ical context o f their product ion, we k n o w that the po l i t i ca l and histor ical c r i t i c ism o f the dark society is one o f the most important themes o f Wild Grass. L u X u n ' s c r i t i c ism ma in ly focuses on two targets: the war lords ' po l i t i ca l tyranny and the crowd's spir i tual ignorance. Fi rst o f a l l , L u X u n spares no pains to expose and denounce the war lords ' brutal rule. H e identi f ies war lo rd pol i t ics w i th "the dark night sky" ("The A u t u m n N igh t " ) , " he l l " ("The Los t G o o d H e l l " ) , and " a desert" ("The Awaken ing " ) . The conf l ic t between L u X u n and the war lords is uncompromis ing , even i f it is ineffect ive. The date trees, as his symbo l , uny ie ld ing ly confront the dark night sky ( "Au tumn N igh t " ) . The br i l l iant protester i n " S u c h a Fighter" brings h imse l f into a face-to-face battle against the enemy. L u X u n even invokes a power fu l " rebel l ious f ighter" to rescue the Chinese people. Howeve r , a l l these rebel l ious images, l ike L u X u n h imsel f , are images o f the lonely awakened, w h o see the soc ia l ev i ls but have no effect ive way to change them. Thus they are often faced w i th a paradox. In most cases they can on ly engage in an emot ional resistance l ike the date trees in " A u t u m n N igh t " Ibid., p. 224, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 365. Ibid., p. 223, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 363. CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 54 or a mora l protest l ike the rebel l ious fighter i n " A m i d Pale B loods ta ins . " Occas iona l l y a br i l l iant f ighter such as in " S u c h a Fighter" launches an act ive attack, but his f ight is so ineffect ive that he is unable even to f ind a real enemy. The other target o f soc ia l and po l i t i ca l c r i t i c ism in Wild Grass is the ignorant c rowd . L u X u n sympathizes w i th their suffer ing ("The Los t G o o d H e l l " ) and hopes they w i l l awaken ("Revenge II"), but more frequently he expresses his disappointment i n them. There is no sign o f their awaken ing ( "Revenge" and "Revenge II"). They don't even real ize their si tuat ion is getting worse ("The Los t G o o d He l l " ) . In v i e w o f this, L u X u n occas iona l ly feels deep despair towards them: i f they cannot be rescued, they deserve to be destroyed ( " A m i d Pa le B loodsta ins" ) . O f course this radical attitude indicates L u X u n ' s outrage against the b loody suppression o f the war lords and the apathy o f the c rowd. Bu t this never means that his protagonists can real ly destroy the c rowd. What the awakened protagonists can do is either to per ish together w i th the c rowd ("Revenge") or to sacr i f ice h imse l f for their salvat ion ("Revenge II"). Because L u X u n has no effect ive way to faci l i tate a mental rescue o f the c rowd , he feels d isappointed. The reader can easi ly detect i n Wild Grass a melancho ly tone, w h i c h is part ly an echo o f L u Xun ' s disappointment. Some poems relat ing to the theme o f soc ia l c r i t i c ism are wri t ten in the third person — there are on ly s ix such pieces in Wild Grass — as "Revenge, " "Revenge II," and " A m i d Pale B loodsta ins . " Some are wri t ten in the first person. In this case, the first person narrator is either a fortuitous auditor or witness such as in "The Los t G o o d H e l l " and "The Decrepi t L i n e , " or an ins igni f icant part icipant as in " A u t u m n N igh t . " These poems, by and large, vo ice L u Xun ' s protest against the outer wo r l d and show less introspect ion than those poems in wh i ch the first person narrator is the central character. A n d the poems that a im at soc ia l and po l i t i ca l c r i t i c ism account for on ly a smal l part o f Wild Grass. Soc ia l and po l i t i ca l c r i t i c i sm is on ly one theme o f the Wild Grass poems. In the past, because some main land Chinese scholars overemphasized this theme in Wild Grass, their CHAPTER 2, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CRITICISM 55 interpretations obv ious ly bear marks o f the inf luence o f the Mao i s t ideology and sound implaus ib le . Tak ing Feng Xuefeng 's interpretation o f "The Los t G o o d H e l l " as an example , on the one hand, he argues that the image o f " m a n " refers to the Guom indang , wh i le on the other hand he asserts that the Guomindang cannot fu l f i l l the task to destroy he l l and l iberate "the ghosts." So he concludes that "the poem does not con fo rm to real i ty . " 7 7 It seems to me that it is not the poem, but Feng's interpretation that does not con fo rm to the text o f the poem, the intent ion o f the author, and the histor ical context. A major i ty o f poems in Wild Grass are scarcely related to outer society and contemporary history, but d isp lay a more " introspect ive nature." 7 8 Therefore I shal l examine other themes o f Wild Grass beyond soc ia l and po l i t i ca l c r i t i c i sm i n the f o l l ow ing chapters. "Feng Xuefeng ^ J f ^ , Lun Yecao i t f ? ^ (On Wild Grass), 1956, p. 26. 7 8 Leo Ou-fan Lee considers most of Wild Grass pieces are introspective except for some such as the last few pieces, which demonstrate a more combative frame of mind. See Voices from the Iron House, 1989, p. 90. 56 Chapter 3. Philosophical Meditations on the Ego, Meaning of Life, and Human Wi l l In his life, L u X u n experienced two periods of depression. The first was from 1912 to 1918. The second was from 1923 to 1926, approximately during the same time that he composed Wild Grass. During the first period of depression L u X u n was disappointed with China's social and political disorder since the Revolution of 1911. For seven years, L u X u n lived alone in the Shaoxing Hostel (Shaoxing huiguan, ^ / ( ^ f | ) in Beijing. 1 He served in the Ministry of Education and used up the spare time in studying Buddhist classics, collecting ancient stone inscriptions, and editing literary classics. He felt extremely lonely, recording his feelings in a later essay: "The sense of loneliness grew from day to day, entwining itself about my soul like some huge poisonous snake."2 It was in the May Fourth New Culture Movement (3lV$§\X4k&?fo, 1918-1921) that L u Xun , urged on by his friend Qian Xuantong (l^ l^ ffn], 1887-1939), started to write for the New Youth (Xin qingnian, 0 r W ^ ) and other magazines. His stories and miscellaneous essays written at this time were extremely successful and brought him nationwide recognition as the founder of modern Chinese literature and one of the outstanding intellectuals of modern China. By the beginning of the 1920s, the high tide of the May Fourth New Culture Movement gradually subsided. The intellectual leaders of the New Culture Movement, centered around the New Youth magazine, split in 1921. The pragmatist Hu Shi 1891-1962) left the New Youth group and began research on Chinese classical and vernacular literature. The Marxists L i Dazhao (^X&\, 1889-1927) and Chen Duxiu (B&Oftff, 1880-1942) concentrated more enthusiastically on social revolution instead of cultural reconstruction. 'Lu Xun didn't move his mother and wife from his hometown Shaoxing to join him in Beijing until 1919. 2 L u Xun, "Nahan zixu" Pft9$ g J? (Self-preface to Call for Arms), LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 417. The translation is in Lu Xun Selected Works, translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1956, vol. 1, p.36. Hereafter LXSW. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 57 Without the active participation of the right-wing and left-wing leaders, the New Culture Movement greatly lost its energy. L u X u n had no party affinity and, as an advocate of individualism and democracy, and a radical opponent of Chinese traditional culture, he couldn't agree with either side. When the New Culture Movement actually came to an end in the mid-1920s, L u X u n experienced his second depressed period. He entitled his second fiction collection — written approximately during the same period as Wild Grass — Wandering (Panghuang, tfrU) to record his "wandering" feelings. More explicitly he explained them in an essay: Later the New Youth group broke up. Some of its members rose to high positions, some went into retirement, some moved forward. A n d I, after seeing this transformation of my comrades of the united front, was left with the label "author" and went on pacing up and down in the desert. But it was too late to get out of writing what I called table-talk for various magazines. When struck by any idea, I wrote a short piece — prose poems to give them a high-sounding title — and these were later printed as Wild Grass. If I had more systematic material I went on to write short stories. But as I was now a free lance, unable to form a camp of my own, though technically I had improved a little and my ideas were perhaps less limited, my fighting spirit had diminished considerably. Where were my new comrades-in-arms? I seemed to be in a very bad position. So I called the eleven stories of this period Wandering, hoping that the future would be different.3 During the second depressed period, what L u X u n underwent was not only loneliness as in the 1910s, but more serious inner agony. Shortly before and during the composition of Wild Grass, L u X u n became involved in several trying issues, such as personal disputes within his own family, public polemics with other scholars, and a law suit against his superior. Thus besides intellectual "wandering," L u X u n also suffered from severe emotional painfulness in his personal life. 3 L u Xun, "Zixuanji zixu" i jjfcM § ff (Preface to Self-selection), LXQJ, vol. 4. p. 456, the Yangs' translation is in LXSW, vol. 3, pp. 201-2. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 58 One source o f L u X u n ' s emot ional suffer ing may be related to his breakup w i th his younger brother Z h o u Z u o r e n . 4 O n Ju ly 19, 1923, Z h o u Zuoren announced his sudden severance o f brotherly af fect ion w i th L u X u n without of fer ing a reason. O n that day Z h o u Zuoren handed h i m a letter, w h i c h reads: M r . L u X u n : I didn't k n o w unt i l yesterday — but it is unnecessary to ment ion the past. I am not a Chr is t ian , but fortunately I can stand it. I also don't want to b lame anyone — we are a l l p i t i fu l people. A l l m y previous rosy dreams turned out to be i l lusory. What I see n o w is perhaps real l i fe. I want to revise m y thoughts and enter a new l i fe. F r o m n o w on please don't come to the back compound again. I have no other words. I w i s h you to be at ease and take care o f yourself . Ju ly 18, Z h o u Z u o r e n 5 What Z h o u Zuoren meant by "I didn't k n o w unt i l yesterday" may refer to something that happened on Ju ly 14, 1923, f ive days before he handed over the letter to L u X u n . S ince that day L u X u n was forced to cook and eat by himsel f . A s he wrote i n the diary: "S ince this evening I begin to eat i n m y o w n room. I cook a d ish by mysel f . Th is deserves a reco rd . " 6 H a l f a month later he m o v e d out w i th his w i fe to another res idence. 7 O n Ju ly 11, 1924, when L u X u n went back to the previous house to p ick up his books and utensi ls, the Z h o u Zuoren couple came out and abused h i m verbal ly and phys ica l l y . 8 A f te r that he never met Z h o u Zuoren again. D u r i n g the per iod f rom 1924 to 1926, as a ma in contr ibutor to the magazine Talking String (Yusi, i f , M), L u X u n d id not attend the month ly banquets sponsored by the 4 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1989, p. 90. 5Zhou Haiying Jn! j£Mg ed., Lu Xun, Xu Guangping cuocang shuxin xuan HiS, ffij^^BtM^lfiTfe (Selected letters that were kept by Lu Xun and Xu Guangping), Hunan wenyi chubanshe, 1987, p. 34. 6 L u Xun, Diary of July 14, 1923, LXQJ, vol. 14. p. 460. 7 L u Xun, Diary of August 2, 1923, Ibid., p. 462. 8 L u Xun, Diary of July 11, 1924, which reads: "1 went to the Badaowan residence to pick up my books and utensils. As I entered the western chamber, Qimeng (Zhou Zuoren) and his wife suddenly appeared to curse and beat m e . . . . His wife recounted my crimes with a lot of filthy language. As her fabrication contained loopholes, Qimeng corrected them. But I finally went with my books and utensils." Ibid., p. 500. C H A P T E R 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 59 magazine i n order not to encounter Z h o u Zuoren , who was also one o f its editors and contr ibutors. 9 Seventy years have passed since the breakup between these two be loved brothers, w h o were both among those famous leaders o f the N e w Cul ture M o v e m e n t and who enjoyed an equal prestige nat ionwide. Despi te a variety o f guesses at its reasons, the event remains a mystery i n L u X u n s tud ies . 1 0 F o r whatever reasons, it greatly disturbed L u X u n ; he felt hurt and regretful. These feel ings are imp l i c i t l y expressed in some o f h is wr i t ings such as the story "Brothers" (Dixiong, ^>it) and the prose poem " K i t e " (Fengzheng, Jxl^pf). L u X u n ' s phys ica l frai l ty may be another cause o f his depression. A t the t ime he wrote Wild Grass, he was in his mid-for t ies. H e was not o l d , but i n poor health. In September 1923, short ly after h is estrangement f rom his brother, he fe l l i l l for thir ty-nine days because o f a relapse o f his tubercu los is . 1 1 In L u Xun ' s diary o f 1924 there are as many as thir ty- f ive records o f h is i l lness, pa in , seeing doctors, and tak ing m e d i c i n e . 1 2 In September 23 , 1925, he found h imse l f w i th a sudden and cont inuous fever. H e suffered another severe attack o f 9 L u Xun, "Wo he Yusi de shizhong" S#Hp££ W#B^ (I and the beginning and ending of Yusi), LXQJ, vol. 4. p. 168. l 0 Most scholars consider that the dispute started due to financial reasons. At that time, these two families lived together in a large compound and the finances of the whole Zhou family were managed by Habuto Nobuko $1 A{B"P, Zhou Zuoren's Japanese wife. The Zhou Zuoren couple's extravagance brought about Lu Xun's dissatisfaction. But the direct reason that triggered the event, judging from Zhou Zuoren's letter, may lie deeper than the finances. Zhang Chuandao $JI|fi?) (1901-1981), who had an intimate relationship with both families at the time, recalls: "The reason of the event was perhaps that Zhou Zuoren's wife started a rumor to say Lu Xun had taken liberties with her. She also spoke to me that Lu Xun eavesdropped beneath the window of her bedroom. It was absolutely impossible, because many flowers and bushes were planted in front of the window." See Chen Shuyu l^ ?ffc?ij, LuXun shishi qiuzhen lu # i f i i$p£ j (^ (A real record of Lu Xun's historical facts), Hunan wenyi chubanshe, 1987, pp. 76-7. No matter whether Nobuko's words were rumor or not, it was the tension between Lu Xun and Nobuko that triggered the breakup of the Zhou brothers. As far as Zhou Zuoren is concerned, he was only an outsider. Kowallis offered a new insight by saying that one factor involved besides family finances "was Zuoren's desire to step out from the shadow of his elder brother, for Zuoren was on the road to becoming an essayist, prose stylist, and academician of the first order." The Lyrical LuXun, 1996, p. 49. This event involved the private life of the persons concerned, any guess cannot be absolutely convincing. It is the biggest mystery in Lu Xun studies and will perhaps remain a mystery forever. 1 'Lu Xun, Diaries of September and October in 1923, LXQJ, vol. 14, pp. 466-71. 1 2 L u Xun, Diaries of 1924, Ibid., pp. 483-524. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 60 tuberculosis. In the subsequent f ive months, he went to Shanben Hosp i ta l nineteen t imes for treatment. 1 3 Poo r health made h i m look elderly. B o t h h is fr iends and opponents ca l led h i m "an o ld man . " In 1927 when M a o D u n commented on L u X u n ' s uny ie ld ing state o f m i n d incorporated i n " S u c h a Fighter , " he wrote: "What a pungent and stubborn o ld man L u X u n i s ! " 1 4 In 1926, G a o Changhong cursed L u X u n for be ing " a canny o ld m a n " and "hav ing fa l len mental ly and phys ica l l y i l l . " 1 5 A s a result o f L u X u n ' s poor health, his depressed m o o d o f regret at aging and i l lness occas iona l ly f inds its way in the Wild Grass poems, such as " H o p e , " "The Passerby," and " D r y Leaf . " The third reason should be attributed to h is open po lemics w i th C h e n Y u a n (|^$jl, 1896-1970) and other A n g l o - A m e r i c a n educated scholars, w h o were centered on the magazine Modern Review (Xiandaipinglun, MiiXWlfc)- The po lemics started i n the autumn o f 1924 over L u Xun ' s support o f the student rebels at Be i j i ng Women 's N o r m a l Un ive rs i t y where he gave a one-hour lecture each week. C h e n Yuan 's group sided w i th the universi ty authorit ies. Be fore long their po lemics escalated into mutual attacks, w h i c h cont inued for the who le o f 1925 and didn't stop unt i l the midd le o f 1926. D u r i n g this per iod L u X u n spent m u c h t ime and energy i n wr i t ing po lemica l essays, w h i c h he h imse l f ca l led "bor ing stuf f . " 1 6 H e enti t led h is two essay col lect ions o f 1925 and 1926 Unlucky Star (Huagaiji, 4 ^ M ^ ) and Sequel to the Unlucky Star (Huagaiji xubian, ^^M^M) i n memory o f h is bad luck and distress. The fourth reason for L u X u n ' s depression l ies i n the fact that he served as an o f f i c ia l i n the war lo rd government for fourteen years. A s early as 1912, the M in i s te r o f Educa t ion C a i Yuanpe i ( l l jciq, 1868-1940), L u Xun ' s patron, resigned from the min is t ry because h is proposals to promote educat ion cou ld not be implemented by the Be i j i ng government. Later 1 3 L u Xun, Diaries from September 1923 to January 1924, Ibid., pp. 563-83. 1 4Shen Yanbing ftjgftc (Mao Dun, ^ / f ) , "Lu Xun lun" #i£if> (On Lu Xun), mXiaoshuo Yuebao /H&B M (Fiction monthly), vol. 18, no. 11, November 10, 1927. 1 5 Gao Changhong, "Zou dao chubanjie" ^ lOlJilKJr- (Walk to the publication circles), in Kuangbiao $E M (Turbulence), vol. 5, November 11, 1926. 1 6 L u Xun, "Huagaiji tiji" # ? j i i l l l l i £ (Preface to Unlucky Star), LXQJ, vol. 3, p. 5. C H A P T E R 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 61 in his position as the President of Beijing University, Cai Yuanpei established "The Association for Promoting Morality" (Jinde hui, x#|lzj) and demanded that its members not visit prostitutes, not gamble, not take concubines, and not be officials in the Beijing government or a member of the Parliament. The last demand came out of a concern that the Beijing government had heavily lost its legitimacy since Yuan Shikai attempted to restore the imperial sovereignty in 1916. As an official in the Ministry of Education, Lu Xun became involved in the student political imbroglio at Beijing Normal University for Women in 1924. The involvement resulted in his being fired in August 1925 by Zhang Shizhao ($dbf'J, 1881-1973), the current Minister of Education. Lu Xun immediately filed a law suit against the Ministry of Education and finally won in March 1926. Although Lu Xun's position was restored, this event deepened his embarrassment as a warlord government official. After Lu Xun was fired, Xu Shoushang and Qi Shoushan (3^^?ill, 1881-1965), Lu Xun's good friends and colleagues, resigned to show their moral support of Lu Xun and protest against Zhang Shizhao. Lu Xun, however, strove hard to get the position back. When he did this, he perhaps thought that he had done nothing wrong and Zhang Shizhao had no reason to dismiss him. And he might also have had to take his finances into consideration. After all he had a family to support. As a part-time lecturer, he earned only a little pocket money by teaching.17 His social status as an official in the warlord government drew Lu Xun into a plight. He felt not only embarrassed but also vulnerable to his opponents' attacks. Once, for instance, 1 7 L u Xun received a salary of three hundred silver dollars per month from the Ministry of Education and a pay of thirteen dollars and fifty cents per month from Beijing Women's Normal University. See Xue Suizhi If and others ed., LuXun shengping shiliao huibian, #iE<:£1f jfe$4 CIS (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p. 500, and p. 211. C H A P T E R 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 62 dur ing his po lemics w i th the M o d e r n R e v i e w Group , C h e n Y u a n seized upon this weakness o f L u X u n and declared: " H e makes me s i c k ! " 1 8 L u X u n descr ibed his awkwardness at being a war lo rd government o f f i c ia l , sarcast ical ly and exp l ic i t l y , i n his essay " R e c o r d o f Issuing Pay " (Jifaxin, i£ ^ i £ ) , 1 9 and, imp l i c i t l y , in some Wild Grass poems such as "The Dog 's Retort" (Gou de bojie, <$}f$i>Bn), " T o Express an O p i n i o n " (Lilun, 5 L T & ) , and "Af te r Dea th" (Sihou, ^ E j p ) . A l l the things ment ioned above made the mid-1920s the most t ry ing days for L u X u n . But this t ime was also the most product ive per iod in L u X u n ' s who le l i terary career. F r o m 1924 to 1926, he finished more than two hundred pieces o f creative wr i t ing and translat ion, inc lud ing the story co l lec t ion Wandering, the prose poetry co l lec t ion Wild Grass, the essay col lect ions Unlucky Star and Sequel to the Unlucky Star, as w e l l as some pieces inc luded in the story co l lec t ion Old Tales Retold, the lyr ica l prose co l lec t ion Dawn Flowers Plucked at Dusk (Zhaohua xishi, l ^ ^ ^ - f n " ) , and the essay co l lec t ion Tomb (Fen, i5t). L u X u n tr ied to shake o f f his depression by engaging i n wr i t ing desperately. D u r i n g this per iod he often slept on ly two or three hours a night w i th his c lo th ing on and without us ing a qu i l t . 2 0 H e admitted: "Somet imes I hope to use up m y l i fe qu ick l y , so intent ional ly I p lunge into desperate w r i t i ng . " 2 1 It seemed that he also tortured h imse l f in some other ways. F o r 1 8Chen Yuan's (S&M remark is: "Since he became an official in the Ministry of Education in the first year of the Republic, he has never left. Therefore when Yuan Shikai JatJlSl claimed to be the emperor, he was in the Ministry of Education; when Cao Kun WIS bribed the Congress to become president, he was in the Ministry of Education.... Even after Zhang Shizhao $dr#!], 'who represents shamelessness,' dismissed him, he still shouted: 'The position of Section Director (qianshi, ^(t) is not inferior.'... Actually it does not matter much for a person to be an official, but he makes me sick if he is an official but at the same time makes a face like this." See "Zhi Zhimo" (TO Zhimo), in Chenbao fukan BMMWi (Supplement of Morning Post), January 30, 1926, p. 3. I 9 0 n one hand Lu Xun tried to defend officials like himself: "The officials of the Republic of China all come from ordinary people and are never special race, although royal men of letters and newspapermen eye them as aliens and consider them particularly strange, mean, and laughable in comparison with themselves." On the other hand Lu Xun describes their occasionally financial straits, small political tricks, and mutually internal strives in a self-satiric tone. See "Jifaxin" HZ%LWr (Record of issuing pay), LXQJ, vol. 3, pp. 349-54. 2 0 X u Guangping i6ff'sf, Xu Guangpingyi Lu Xun #P^HZ^ifi (Remembering Lu Xun by Xu Guangping), Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1979, p. 471. 2 1 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping i^f5^ dated may 30, 1925, in Liangdishu yuanxin Mift45MfH (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying ) W | e d . , 1984, p. 69. C H A P T E R 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 63 instance, he said, "I drank too much, intent on self-destruction."2 2 L u X u n himself clearly knew that his "drinking too much, smoking too much, and sleeping too little" accounted for his poor health 2 3 L u X u n actually could not shake off his depression by "desperate writing" and "self-destruction." Rumor spread that he even contemplated suicide. 2 4 L u X u n himself once confessed to an intimate friend: "I also often think about suicide and want to commit murder, but I can do neither. Perhaps I am not a warrior." 2 5 People's social existence is a determinant in shaping their thoughts and feelings. L u Xun's various frustrations at the mid-1920s must have severely affected his writing and have been encapsulated figuratively in Wild Grass. The somber element in some Wild Grass poems is ultimately the embodiment of his depressed mood. But on a deeper level, we can perceive in Wild Grass the unyielding mind, with which L u X u n tried to grapple with his ongoing personal perplexities, overcome emotional suffering, and change current life. Before I attempt to capture the glimpses of his philosophic meditations incorporated in Wild Grass, I also would like to trace the genesis of L u Xun's philosophic and artistic thought during the mid-1920s. Many scholars note the fact that L u X u n began to translate Symbols of Mental Anguish (Kumon no shocho, f^l '^l rJiJ^liO, a literary theoretic work by the Japanese critic Kuriyagawa Hakuson (MJl| 1880-1923), just at the same time he started to write Wild Grass.26 Ample evidence indicates that L u X u n had been affected, to a degree, by 2 2 L u Xun, "Zhe shi zheme yige yisi" xZ^m^—^M^ (This is this kind of meaning), LXQJ, vol. 7, p. 263. 2 3 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Qinwen ft&X dated September 30, 1925, LXQJ, vol. 11, p. 456. 2 4 X u Guangping accidentally found two daggers under the bedding in Lu Xun's bedroom. In the letter of June 1, 1925 to Lu Xun, she wrote anxiously: "It would be good if the gleaming daggers under the bedding is used to kill an enemy. To use f o r . . . seems . . . I don't want to hear that." (original elliptic marks). See Liangdi shu yuanxin Mflfc^i^fg (Originals of The Letters between Two Places), 1984, p. 71. 2 5 L u Xun, a letter to Li Bingzhong dated September 24, 1924, LXQJ, vol. 11, p. 430. 2 6According to Lu Xun's diaries, he started to translate Symbols of Mental Anguish on September 22, 1924 and finished on October 10. The translation was published in Chenbao Fukan Itflxiljfll (Supplement of Morning CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 64 Kur i yagawa . In Kur iyagawa 's l i terary theory, he saw a combina t ion o f Henr i L o u i s Bergson's ph i losophy and S igmund Freud's science. In the "Pre face" to h is translat ion o f Symbols of Mental Anguish, L u X u n wrote: A c c o r d i n g to the ph i losophy o f Bergson and others, the author (Kur iyagawa) considers cont inuously ongo ing vi tal i ty the foundat ion o f human l i fe. H e also d iscovers in the science o f F reud and others the roots o f vi tal i ty, w h i c h he uses to interpret l iterature and the arts — part icular ly l i terature. 2 7 L u Xun ' s understanding o f Bergson and Freud is not on ly through his translat ion o f Kur iyagawa 's work , nor are his references to them l imi ted to this preface. H e seemed to be quite fami l ia r w i th their theories. Bergson's best -known concept is his v i ta l i sm. H e argued against both Lamarck and Char les D a r w i n and asserted that b io log ica l evo lu t ion is impe l led by a v i ta l impetus that dr ives l i fe to overcome downward drift and to struggle for upward development. A l t hough Bergson's v i ta l ism was not accepted by many scientists and phi losophers, it became popular and inf luent ia l in literature and art c i rc les in the first ha l f o f the twentieth century. Those who are suffer ing f rom hardship in l i fe are readi ly subject to his inf luence. L u Xun ' s w i l l ingness to seek vi tal i ty is presented overt ly in such poems as " H o p e " and "The Passerby." Several t imes L u X u n ment ioned Freud and his theory in h is essays. H e d id not accept Freud's theory o f sexual i ty as the ma in determinant i n human l i fe wi thout reservat ion. H e thought his not ion o f the pervasive importance o f sexual mot iva t ion an overstatement. H e wrote: Gazette) from October 1 to 31. And later Lu Xun used it as a teaching material in his lecture at Beijing University and Beijing Women's Normal University. See LXQJ, vol. 14, p. 515. 2 7 L u Xun, "Kumen de Xiangzheng, yinyan" ^rf5] $)0.'$L, 31W (Preface to Symbols of Mental Anguish), LXQJ, vol. 10, p. 232. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 65 Freud perhaps had a l itt le money and cou ld eat his f i l l . H e had no experience o f hunger, so he only pa id attention to sexual d e s i r e . . . . The root o f hunger is certainly deeper than that o f sexual des i re . 2 8 L u X u n , however , d id not deny the rational elements i n Freud's theory. In 1922 L u X u n exper imented w i th Freud in the wr i t ing o f his story " B u z h o u M o u n t a i n " (Buzhou shan, F^JW] l i j ) . " A t first I was ser ious," said L u X u n , "al though I on ly appl ied Freud's theory to exp la in the genesis o f both man and l i terature." 2 9 In 1925, L u X u n praised Freud , by contrast ing h i m w i th some other phi losophers and scientists such as John L o c k e and B la ise Pasca l , who denied the beauty and funct ion o f poetry, for his "attention to literature and ar ts . " 3 0 In 1927 L u X u n exp l ic i t l y declared that "L i terary creat ivi ty is general ly rooted in l o v e . " 3 1 The above evidence exempl i f ies Bergson's and Freud's inf luence on L u X u n ' s thought. Th is inf luence was real ized part ly through h is translat ion o f Kur iyagawa 's Symbols of Mental Anguish, i n wh i ch K u r i y a g a w a introduces both Bergson's and Freud's theories, and emphasizes what he cal ls "the power o f l i fe " i n people's da i ly l i fe and literary creat iv i ty . 3 2 In L u Xun ' s translat ion, we can find a paragraph as fo l l ows : There w i l l be no evo lu t ion where there is no c r e a t i o n . . . . Therefore those who don't want to br ing into p lay their o w n power o f l i fe at a l l , on ly imitate what their ancestors d id under the hereditary yoke and w i th in the tradit ional restraint, and possess the nature o f slave but remain indifferent, in this sense, are the same as an ima l s . 3 3 2 8 L u Xun, "Tiangshuo meng" BJfi#Jf (Listen to talking about dreams), LXQJ, vol. 4, p. 469. 2 9 L u Xun, "Gushi xinbian" i ^ f f i f s f f W (Preface" to Old Tales Retold), LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 341. 3 0 L u Xun, Shige zhidi i^fWtZM (The enemy of poetry), LXQJ, vol. 7, p. 236. 3 1 L u Xun, "Xiao zagan" /h&$ (Little random thinking), LXQJ, vol. 3, p. 532. 3 2Kuriyagawa Hakuson JSf J'l Fdtt, Kumon no shocho tfti^M. (Symbols of Mental Anguish), Lu Xun trans., in LXQJ, 1973, vol. 13. pp. 17-132. 3 3Ibid., p. 29. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 66 The Japanese scholar Katayama, when commenting on Wild Grass, considers that the Kuriyagawa remarks quoted above might readily appeal to L u X u n and have spurred him to re-examine his ascetic l i fe . 3 4 Katayama is right. L u X u n did express the same opinion as Kuriyagawa in his private letters shortly after he finished the translation. One reads: I think that the mankind should act in order to progress, that is, to develop. It doesn't matter even i f there are some mistakes in the action. It is totally wrong to live in half-alive and half-dead. 3 5 In another letter, L u X u n said: I tend to curse "the bitterness of the human world" (renjianku AlUf^), but not to detest death. 3 6 L u Xun's quotation of "the bitterness of the human world" came directly from Symbols of Mental Anguish. Kuriyagawa used it as an important concept in his exploring the relationship between human life and literary creativity. B y borrowing Freud's viewpoint, Kuriyagawa sought to locate the genesis of literature and arts and their medium: Mental anguish and turmoil which result from a suppressed vitality are the root of literature and art. A n d their expressive medium is symbolism in the broadest sense. 3 7 L u X u n specifically accepted this paragraph and introduced it in the "Preface" to his translation. He seemed to take the theory as a given and experimented with it in his Wild Grass. In the following analysis I shall attempt to trace L u Xun's philosophical meditations 3 4Katayama Tomoyuki trlllls'Tr, Rojinyaso zenyaku #ifiS] :^^:# (A complete explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1991, p. 140. 3 5 L u Xun, "Beijing Tongxin" Jt i iCJl f f (Letter from Beijing), dated May 8, 1925, in LXQJ, vol. 3, p. 52. 3 6 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping VrT^f dated May 30, 1925, in Zhou Haiying fflM^i ed., Liangdishu yuanxin Mi&^J&iti (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), p. 69. 3 7 L u Xun, "Kumen de xiangzheng, yinyan" ^fci $J HMtt 31W (Preface to Symbols of Mental Anguish), LXQJ, vol. 10, p. 232. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 67 on the ego, w i l l to l i fe , the meaning o f existence, and other relevant issues in Wild Grass based on the inf luence o f Bergson's ph i losophy, Freud's psychoanalyt ic and Kur iyagawa 's l i terary theory. "Shadow's L e a v e - T a k i n g " 3 8 Th is poem was conce ived in a unique imaginat ion: a shadow offers a mono logue expressing his unwi l l ingness to go to "heaven, he l l , or the future go lden wor ld . " The shadow possesses nothing but "darkness and v o i d . " H e can on ly exist between brightness and darkness. Otherwise, he w i l l disappear into either o f them. H e is dissat isf ied w i th h is situation and wants to leave, but has no place to go: "I wou ld rather wander in N o w h e r e . " 3 9 There has long been a debate on this poem in respect to L u X u n ' s thought. D u r i n g the d iscuss ion on "revolut ionary l iterature" in the late 1920s, Q i a n X i n g c u n quoted two stanzas f rom the poem as evidence to show L u X u n ' s "pernic ious petty-bourgeoisie habit ." H e c la imed that L u X u n was neither reconci led to current reali ty nor d id he cher ish a hope for the future. A s a result, he cou ld on ly "wander in N o w h e r e . " 4 0 In 1929 this op in ion was echoed in an art icle i n a leftist magazine Leninist Youths (Liening qingnian, ^ J T T I 1 ^ ) , w h i c h condemned L u X u n ' s "pess im ism and n ih i l i sm, " because he even didn't want to go to "the future go lden wor ld — the Commun is t w o r l d . " 4 1 The art icle arbi trar i ly asserted that L u Xun ' s "future golden w o r l d " was "the Commun i s t wo r l d . " L u X u n h imse l f didn't th ink that such commentary was right. H e discussed this p o e m several t imes w i th Feng Xue feng . H e said: 3 8 The poem was written on September 24, 1924 and published in Yusi ip-M, no. 4, December 8, 1924. 29LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 165. 4 0 Qian Xingcun IJs^ffi, "Siqule de Ah Q shidai" ^E iTW^QBTl t (The era of Ah Q that died), in Taiyang Yuekan XVHR fJ (The sun monthly), no. 3, March 1, 1928. Also see Beixiedu de LuXun M^f^W#ifi (The Lu Xun blasphemed), Sun Yu # W ed., Qunyan chubanshe, 1994, p. 50. 4 l D e Zhao "Yinianlai zhongguo wenxuejie shuping" — ^ f^^SX^^-^W (Review of the Chinese literature circle in the last year), Liening Qingnian ^ T W ^ (Leninist Youth), March 10, 1929, vol. 1, no. 11. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 68 Th is t ime they quoted my "Shadow's Leave -Tak ing " and ca l led me a nihi l is t . Because "there is something I d is l i ke in your future golden wo r l d ; I do not want to go there." They asserted that I do not even want to go to the C o m m u n i s t go lden w o r l d . . . . Bu t I w o u l d l ike to ask f irst, do we on ly look to the future go lden w o r l d ? 4 2 A l though L u X u n rebutted the cr i t ic isms o f the leftist wri ters, he admitted the g loominess i n the poem. H e said: "Perhaps I v i e w reality too da rk l y . " 4 3 Later, in the 1980s for instance, the poem was interpreted i n an absolutely different way. It was argued that "what this prose poem describes is the shadow's farewel l to a person. Ac tua l l y it is L u Xun ' s breaking away f rom the passive thought represented by the shadow. " 4 The great interpretive gap between "pess imism and n i h i l i s m " and "breaking away f rom the passive thought" indicates a defect in the Wild Grass studies on main land C h i n a : many scholars tend to assume L u X u n ' s po l i t ica l thought at w i l l and at the same t ime pay l i tt le attention to the text and L u X u n ' s creative intent. In my interpretation, I attempt to avo id previous wrangles over L u X u n ' s po l i t i ca l bel iefs and emphasize L u Xun ' s ph i losophy and private feel ings more. In order to make m y interpretation suf f ic ient ly acceptable, I apply a c lose reading. The p o e m begins w i th a prelude: W h e n a man sleeps unt i l he loses the sense o f t ime, then comes the shadow to b i d farewel l , saying these words — 4 5 F r o m the prelude we k n o w the shadow is b idd ing farewel l to a " m a n " — his master. ' T h e rest o f the poem consists o f five stanzas, a l l o f w h i c h are the shadow's mono logue, addressed to his master who is sound sleep. 4 2 Feng Xuefeng, Huiyi LuXun HI'lZ # i f i (Remembering Lu Xun), 1952, p. 16. 4 3 lb id . , p. 17. 4 4 Sun Yushi # 3 x 5 , Yecaoyanjiu S f ^ W ^ (Mid Grass study), 1982, p. 49. 45LXQJ, vol. 2, 165. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 69 There is something I d is l i ke i n heaven, I don't want to go there. There is something I d is l i ke i n he l l , I don't want to go there. There is something I d is l i ke i n your future go lden wor ld , I don't want to go there. It is you , though, that I d is l ike. F r iend , I'll no longer f o l l ow you ; I don't want to stay here. I don't want to! A h , no ! I don't want to. I wou ld rather wander i n N o w h e r e . 4 6 A l t h o u g h there have been a variety o f interpretations o f "heaven, he l l , and the future golden wor l d , " what each o f them entails is not important to m y interpretation. M o s t important is the verse: "It is you , though, that I d is l ike. F r iend , I'll no longer f o l l ow you ; I don't want to stay here." Char les A l b e r declares that the shadow "substitutes for the author . " 4 7 L e o Ou - fan Lee also v iews the image o f the shadow as "the alter ego o f the poe t . " 4 8 Based on these arguments, I wou ld l ike to interpret the above verses as reveal ing a spl i t that is tak ing p lace in L u X u n ' s ego. S igmund Freud treats the ego as an integral and unitary entity. H e wr i tes: "The ego represents what we ca l l reason and san i ty . " 4 9 Once reason and sanity are lack ing in a person's m ind , a spl i t in the ego w i l l occur. I f the shadow represents L u X u n ' s ego, the " m a n " or the master w h o m the shadow wants to leave can be v iewed accord ing ly as the author h imsel f . In this l ight, the shadow's Leave -Tak ing may be interpreted as the Leave -Tak ing f rom L u X u n ' s ego to L u X u n himsel f . In "Leave -Tak ing , " the shadow manifests three major characterist ics, a l l o f w h i c h indicate f rom different perspectives that a spl i t i n the ego has taken place in L u X u n ' s m i n d . 46LXQJ, vol. 2, 165, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol., 1, p. 320. 4 7Charles Alber, "Wild Grass, Symmetry and Parallelism in Lu Hsun's Prose Poems," Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1976, p. 4. 4 8 L e o Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 99. 4 9Mortimer J. Adler and Mark Van Doren, ed., Great Treasury of West Thought, New York: R. R. Bowker co., 1977, p. 219. C H A P T E R 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 70 The first characterist ic o f the shadow is his skept ic ism about reason, w h i c h is ma in l y expressed i n the second stanza. Henr i Be rgson said: "Reason is the d is t inguishing mark o f m a n . " 5 0 The shadow, however , chal lenges the va l id i ty o f reason. H e doubts not on ly the rel ig ious be l ie f in "heaven and he l l , " but also the secular be l ie f i n "the future golden wor l d . " So he decides not to go to any o f them. The shadow's skept ic ism about reason indicates a change i n L u Xun ' s th ink ing. Fo r many years L u X u n be l ieved in evo lu t ion ism, w h i c h has long been def ined as a key element o f his early thought. 5 1 H e said: "The future must be better than the past and the young must be better than the o l d . " 5 2 Bu t L u X u n wi tnessed and exper ienced too many cases when his opponents, and even fr iends and relat ives fa i led to exercise reason. H e also real ized that not a l l the young had the potential o f ca l l ing upon reason to help when confronted w i th a prob lem. In his mid- for t ies, he h imse l f was st i l l unable to mainta in a reasonable l i fe. F ina l l y he doubted that reason was the on ly way to recognize and guide human l i fe. Personal frustration taught h i m to emphasize emot ion as m u c h i f not more than reason, and to emphasize the present l i fe more than "the future golden wor l d . " Th is k ind o f skept ic ism about reason permeates a number o f poems in Wild Grass, such as, for example , " H o p e " and "The Passerby." The second characterist ic o f the shadow is his pess im ism, w h i c h is exp l ic i t l y expressed in the third and the fifth stanzas: I am but a shadow, n o w b idd ing you farewel l before s ink ing into darkness. Y e t darkness w i l l engu l f me ; and l ight w i th also d isso lve me. Y o u think o f m y bequest, yet what can I offer you? No th i ng , except darkness and v o i d . 5 3 5 0 Henri Bergson, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, R. Ashley Audra and Cloudesley Brereton trans., Garden City, N . Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1956, p. 68. 5 l Q u Qiubai 1I$CfJ, Qu QiubaiXuanji W^k&T&M (A Selection of Qu Qiubai), Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1959, p. 335. 52LXQJ, vol. 4, p. 5. 53 LXQJ. vol. 2, pp. 165-6 Leo Ou-fan Lee's translation in Voices from the Iron House, p. 98. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 71 In the above quotat ion, the shadow is quest ioning his o w n essence. A s a shadow w i th attributes o f darkness and v o i d , he can only exist i n a paradox ica l si tuat ion between darkness and l ight. Otherwise he w i l l be engulfed by the former or d isso lved by the latter. In Leo O u -fan Lee's op in ion , "The shadow's two part ing gifts — darkness and vo id — can be v iewed not only as the natural attributes o f the shadow, but also as two metaphor ical epithets character iz ing the poet's inner se l f . " 5 4 Therefore the pess im ism o f the shadow can be v iewed as a manifestat ion o f L u X u n ' s pess im ism, an expressive fo rm o f the spl i t in his o w n ego. In the mid-1920s , faced w i th many oppressive soc ia l and personal issues, he developed a deep pess im ism about his o w n role as a thinker, wri ter, o f f i c ia l , brother, and a husband. In the poem, it seems to me, L u X u n is medi tat ively quest ioning h imsel f : What am I? W h o am I? What k i nd o f person am I? Unfor tunately L u X u n cannot come up w i th a satisfactory answer. In the poem the shadow's response is negative: "I am but a shadow." H e has "noth ing except darkness and vo id , " and he can exist on ly between l ight and darkness. The shadow's p l ight is reminiscent o f W i l l i a m Lye l l ' s def in i t ion o f L u X u n as "an in-between in te l lec tua l . " 5 5 In the mid -1920s , L u X u n was perhaps not on ly "an in-between inte l lectual ; " he was also an in-between o f f i c ia l , brother, and husband or, more general ly, an in-between person w i th an in-between ego. In the poem he actual ly imp l ies that he h imse l f — l ike the shadow between l ight and darkness 5 4 L e o On-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1989, p. 99. 5 5 William A. Lyell, Jr., Lu Hsun's Vision of Reality, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1976, p. 304. In mainland China, a similar argument to view Lu Xun as "a historical in-between object" (lishi zhongjian wu, j5A,tJ|B]#0 was made by Wang Hui 'Hifl?. See his Fanduijuewang — Lu Xun de jingshen jiegouyu Nahan Panghuangyanjiu fxMf&M — #iiWff r^^^WJ^ISff^ (Resist despair — A study of Lu Xun's spiritual construction as well as Call for Arms and Wandering,) Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1991, p. 132. In spite of the awkwardness of the terminology, Wang Hui's definition of Lu Xun as "a historical in-between object," was viewed as a new breakthrough and "caused a sensation in Lu Xun study circles." See Mao Xiaoping ^h^F, "Lu Xun yanjiu gaishu" ^ -fflSif^ lSii (A summary of Lu Xun study), in Zhongguo wenxue nianjian (Almanac of Chinese literature), 1991-92, p. 392. Many scholars in mainland China were unaware that William Lyell had described Lu Xun as an intellectual between traditional and modem cultures a decade earlier than Wang Hui did. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 72 — is deeply entrapped in a predicament. L u X u n pro foundly metaphor izes his pess im ism as the dark and v o i d shadow o f the poem. The third characterist ic o f the shadow is dissat isfact ion w i th his o w n existence. Th i s is ma in ly presented in the fourth and the s ix th stanzas: Howeve r , I am st i l l wander ing between l ight and shade, uncertain whether it is dusk or dawn. . . . A t the t ime when I lose the sense o f t ime, I shal l go far away alone. Th is is what I w o u l d l i ke , f r iend — T o go far away alone to a darkness f rom w h i c h not on ly w i l l you be exc luded, but other shadows too. There w i l l be myse l f alone sunk in the darkness. That wo r l d w i l l be who l l y m i n e . 5 6 The shadow no longer wants to exist between l ight and darkness, so he b ids farewel l to his master. Th is is actual ly a ref lect ion o f L u X u n ' s o w n feel ings. H e characterizes his predicament i n the mid-1920s as the shadow, who , unsurpr is ingly, wants to be gone, — to change his existence. In Char les A lber 's op in ion , the shadow seems to speak to h imsel f : "I can only be satisf ied i f I wander into nothingness. I can only be myse l f i f I cease to exist." In this l ight, the shadow's so-cal led " L e a v e - T a k i n g " is a traumatic exper ience, because Leave -Tak ing actual ly means death . 5 7 F r o m this we k n o w that the shadow is absolutely dissat isf ied w i th his o w n existence. In order to change his existence, the shadow is w i l l i n g to pay any cost, even to cease to exist — "to s ink into the darkness." Some scholars consider "Shadow's Leave -Tak ing " the most d i f f icu l t poem in Wild Grass to interpret. 5 8 Bu t i f we can discern the basic facets o f the shadow's pess im ism and 56LXQJ, vol. 1, pp. 165-6, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 321. 5 7Charles J. Alber, "Wild Grass, Symmetry and Parallelism in Lu Hsun's Prose Poems," Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1976, p. 4. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 73 dissat isfact ion, we w i l l k n o w that the poem, through the existent ial d i l e m m a o f the shadow, reflects L u Xun ' s intel lectual and emot ional paradox at a cruc ia l juncture in his o w n l i fe. In the poem, it seems that L u X u n h imse l f ponders shaking o f f h is o l d , split ego and changing his miserable existence. In the fo l l ow ing Wild Grass poems, he cont inuously expresses his desire to make a change and to f ind a rational existence. The " S h a d o w " serves as an in i t ia l poem to understand the subsequent pieces relevant to the same theme, especia l ly those f raming the log ica l d i l e m m a between a protagonist's ego and his soc ia l and personal existence. "The Beggars" (Qiugizhe, M^)59 Th is poem was wri t ten on the same day as "Shadow's L e a v e - T a k i n g " and cou ld be understood as a sequel to "Shadow. " Bes ide a di lapidated w a l l , i n the poem, the first person narrator is wander ing alone i n the autumnal breeze, w h i c h sends a ch i l l through his clothes. Dust is everywhere. Several other people are also wa l k i ng alone nearby. The setting o f the poem is co ld and desolate. T w o beggars i n succession beg o f the narrator, who refuses to g ive a lms however , because neither " looks unhappy." I do not g ive h i m a lms. I have no w i s h to g ive a lms. I stand above those a lms-givers. Fo r h i m I have on ly disgust, susp ic ion, and ha te . 6 0 5 8 Wang Yao 3ES& and Li Helin ^ f n j # , Zhongguo xiandai wenxue ji Yecao GushiXinbian de zhengming 4 1 M\tX^'&M^-WiMW\^^^% (Modern Chinese literature and the debates on Wild Grass and Old Tales Retold), Shanghai: Zhishi chubanshe, 1990, p. 103. 5 9 This poem was written on September 24, 1924 and published in Yusi iprM, no. 4, December 8, 1924. 60LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 167, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 322. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 74 A str ik ing point o f the poem is that the I narrator h imse l f is p lann ing to go begging at this t ime. Because he refuses to g ive a lms, he fears that his o w n begging w i l l be refused by those who also refuse to g ive a lms: I shal l receive no a lms, not even the w i sh to g ive a lms. I shal l receive the disgust, suspic ions, and hate o f those who consider themselves above the a lms-g ive rs . 6 1 In the poem, L u X u n explores the essence o f human beings and their relat ionship w i th others. A human being does not exist by himsel f . O n the contrary he or she is surrounded by others. The essence o f humani ty is incorporated into a human being's relat ionship w i th others. The most ind iv idua l soc ia l attribute wh i ch dist inguishes a being as human is the abi l i ty to practice mora l responsib i l i ty for others. In the poem, however , the I narrator, the beggars, and the people wa l k i ng alone are a l l indifferent, se l f ish, and inconsiderate. "Soc ie ty then is a co l lec t ion o f ma imed ind iv idua ls who cannot in teract , " 6 2 said Char les A lbe r . The "di lapidated w a l l , " accord ing ly , can be v iewed as symbo l i z ing a barrier to interaction between ind iv idua ls . Under these c i rcumstances, L u X u n compels the protagonist, who does not g ive a lms and at the same t ime plans to beg, to face the first paradox: H o w can a sel f ish person, w h o does not want to benefit others, accept benefit f rom others? A c c o r d i n g to Char les A l b e r , "The conc lus ion , as the narrator h imse l f real izes, seems inevi table, for even f rom a purely human standpoint, on ly the merc i fu l can obtain me rcy . " 6 3 Here a deeper quest ion arises: why doesn't the protagonist avo id becoming a sel f ish person by s imply g i v ing the beggars some a lms? T o answer this quest ion, I w o u l d l i ke to start w i th an analysis o f the image o f the beggar. The beggar is one o f the most important 6 1 Ibid., p. 168, Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 323. 6 2Charles Alber, "WildGrass, Symmetry and Parallelism in Lu Hsiin's Prose Poems," in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, William H. Nienhauser, Jr. ed., 1976. p. 7. 6 3Ibid., p. 6. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 75 images in the who le co l lec t ion , i n that he is a signi f icant l ink through a number o f the Wild Grass poems. The beggar image appears not on ly i n "Beggars , " but also in "The Passerby" and "The Dog 's Retort ." In "A f te r Death, " the protagonist, who dies by the road wi th no one to care for h i m , seems to be a beggar too. The protagonist i n "Tombstone Inscr ipt ions" (Mujiewen, H$l jt), who used to be a "wander ing sou l " (youhun, ^ r f i t ) , strongly suggests a character s imi la r to a wander ing beggar as w e l l . I w o u l d l ike to v i e w the first person protagonist, who is also caught up in a d i l e m m a s imi la r to the "shadow," as L u X u n ' s persona. Th is is not on ly because he h imse l f had been labeled " a beggar" (qishizhe, 'fj'it^lf) i n h is teenage years, when he took refuge in h is relat ives' fami ly after his grandfather was impl icated in a br ibery case and put into the imper ia l j a i l , 6 4 but also because he employs understated images such as shadow, beggar, and prostitute as a strategy to fu l f i l l h is f igurative self-ref lect ions. The strategy o f understatement has an effect o f mainta in ing his d igni ty i n the face o f humi l ia t ion . W h e n the I persona is associated w i th L u X u n ' s o w n pa in fu l experience o f hav ing been regarded as a beggar, it is c lear that the reason he refuses to g ive a lms is that they "do not look unhappy." They do not deserve to accept a lms. They go begging "as i f this were some game." H e hates the way they beg: to kowtow, to chase, or to pretend dumbness. They are not real beggars i n real need. Therefore, emot ional ly , the I persona has "on ly disgust, susp ic ion , and hate" towards them. A f te r he refuses to g ive a lms, the I persona, however , prepares the strategy for h is o w n begging: I wonder what method I w o u l d use in begging. In what vo ice should I speak? Wha t dumb show w o u l d I use i f pretending to be d u m b ? 6 5 6 4 L u Xun, "Ewen yiben Ah Q Zhengzhuan xu j i zhuzhe zixu zhuanlue" ^Xi^MQIEj^rf A ^ # S f£#B& (Preface to Russian edition of The True Story of Ah Q and the author's brief autobiography), LXQJ, vol. 7. P. 83. 65LXQJ, pp. 167-8, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 322. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 76 Unfor tunate ly , the descr ipt ion forces h i m to face the second and a more severe paradox: H o w can he receive a lms by us ing the same begging strategies that cause on ly "disgust, susp ic ion, and hate"? Th i s is an insurmountable paradox. A s a result, he can do noth ing but take an attitude o f n ih i l i sm : "I shal l beg w i th inact iv i ty and si lence. . . . I shal l at least receive no th ingness . " 6 6 The protagonist i n "The Beggars" is st i l l character ized by pess im ism l ike the shadow in "Shadow's Leave -Tak ing . " A l s o l i ke the shadow who determines to leave, he decides to make a change by go ing begging, even i f he may accept noth ing. Bu t when he attempts to beg, he hesitates to start. In the fo l l ow ing sect ion I shal l make a connect ion to Jean-Pau l Sartre's existential ist v iewpoin t to more deeply appreciate the I persona's hesitat ion. W h e n I do this, it doesn't mean Sartre's thought had any inf luence on the creat ion o f Wild Grass, because Sartre's ex is tent ia l ism developed later than the product ion o f Wild Grass.67 What I want to do is to demonstrate some c o m m o n experiences o f human l i fe in an existential ist l ight. Sartre tel ls us one is never free o f one's "s i tuat ion," al though one is a lways free to deny that si tuat ion and to try to change i t . 6 8 The ego, accord ing to Sartre, is not s imply self-awareness or sel f -consciousness, instead the ego is an ongoing project w i th other people in the w o r l d . 6 9 In "Beggars" L u X u n a l legor ica l ly tells us that a person's ego, or a person as ego, is a lways in the process o f choos ing. However , it is never a free cho ice , but a choice restricted by the relat ionship w i th others. B o t h the I persona's refusal to g ive a lms and hesitat ion to go begging indicate this l imi tat ion. The paradox fac ing the I persona is a general ph i losoph ica l d i l e m m a that many protagonists in Wild Grass poems face, and it is 6 6Ibid., p. 168, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 322. 6 7 The same is that when I occasionally employ any other modern literary and psychological theories in my analyses of other poems from Wild Grass. 6 8Robert Audi, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 710. 6 9Ibid., p. 710. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 77 more powerfully expressed in a number of other poems in Wild Grass such as "The Passerby" and "Tombstone Inscriptions." "Hope" (Xiwans. This poem was written on New Year's day 1925, when Lu Xun was forty-four, and he felt very old: I am probably growing old. Is it not a fact that my hair is turning white? Is it not a fact that my hands are trembling? Then the hands of my soul must also be trembling. The hair of my soul must also be turning white.71 In this poem, the first person persona does not have any mask like "shadow" or "beggar" in the foregoing poems. In this analysis, I simply identify the I persona with Lu Xun himself and his feelings as Lu Xun's own. This identification is supported not only by the fact that Lu Xun's hands were also trembling as the I persona's in the poem,72 but also by Lu Xun's actual life at the time the poem was written. In "Hope" the I persona has long cherished a hope in his life: "Hope, hope, I wield this shield of hope to resist the invasion of the empty, dark night, although behind this shield is still the dark night of emptiness. Thus gradually I have wasted my youth."73 At the time he feels old, he is still unable to obtain a reasonable life. Hope seems to him nothing but "void and vain." He then "put[s] down the shield of hope" and hears the Song of Hope by Hungarian poet Sandor Petofi (1823-1849): What is hope? A prostitute! Alluring to all, she gives herself to all, 7 0 The poem was written on January 1, 1925 and published in Yusi ip-££ no. 10, January 19, 1925. 1XLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 117, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 326. 7 2 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated Decembrt 2, 1926, Liangdishu yuanxin Mftfe45J^fg (The originals of the letters from two places), Zhou Haiying MM^, ed., p. 259. 73LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 177, Leo Ou-fan Lee's translation in Voices from the Iron House, p. 100. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 78 U n t i l you have sacr i f iced a pr iceless treasure — your youth — then she forsakes y o u . 7 4 F ina l l y the I persona gives up "the shield o f hope" and decides "to grapple alone w i th the dark night" in despair. Bu t at this t ime he f inds that "there is not even a real dark night" before h i m . Under these ci rcumstances, L u X u n concludes h is poem w i th another l ine o f Sandor Peto f i : "Despa i r is as v o i d and va in as h o p e . " 7 5 There has long been a debate about the theme o f the poem. L u X u n h imse l f once exp la ined that he wrote the poem because o f his surprise at "the spir i t lessness o f the y o u n g . " 7 6 A c c o r d i n g to L u X u n ' s o w n explanat ion, many scholars tend to decide the theme as a c r i t i c ism o f China 's young. F o r example , Feng X u e f e n g sa id : "The author's intent ion was to oppose the spir i t lessness o f the young and to ca l l on them to rise up and struggle against the da rkness . " 7 7 Ano ther scholar stated: " L u Xun ' s purpose o f wr i t ing this poem was not to lead people to indulge i n despair, but to arouse the young to tenaciously resist despa i r . " 7 8 In the 1990s a Japanese scholar quest ioned the above statements by the Chinese scholars. H e argued that L u X u n ' s o w n words about " H o p e " were main ly to show his expectat ion o f the young. A t the t ime " H o p e " was wri t ten, the young i n C h i n a were never "spir i t less." So the theme o f the poem is not to cr i t ic ize the spir i t lessness o f the youth, but "to encourage the progressive young, w h o should surpass the poet h imse l f . " 7 9 Howeve r , before long this op in ion brought a retort f rom a Ch inese scholar, who cr i t i c ized the Japanese 7 4Ibid., p. 178, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 327. 7 5Ibid., p. 178, Leo Ou-fan Lee's translation in Voices from the Iron House, p. 101. 7 6 L u Xun, "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" If 3 t i $ 2 ^ f (A preface to the English edition of Yecao), LXQJ, vol. 4. p. 356. 7 7 Feng Xuefeng J ^ § i l i $ , 1956, p. 18. 7 8 Sun Yushi # 3 5 5 , 1982, p. 52. 7 9Katayama Tomoyuki Jt ill H? ?T, Rojin yaso zenshaku #ifiif ^-^M (A complete explanation of Wild Grass), 1991, p. 78. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 79 scholar " for hav ing ignored the exp l ic i t explanat ion o f L u X u n h imsel f , that is, the creative intent ion o f the text that he h imse l f i l lus t ra ted. " 8 0 A l though two different arguments come f rom Ch inese and Japanese scholars concern ing the theme o f " H o p e " are g iven tit for tat, both o f them consider the theme o f the poem related to the young. Bu t I w o u l d l i ke to argue that the theme o f the poem does not direct ly concern the young. There are on ly two l ines i n the poem that invo lve the young — approximate ly three percent o f the whole text. 8 1 The rest o f the poem is a l l presentation o f L u X u n ' s o w n sentiments — his remorse at g row ing o ld and intent ion to seek "youth outside the body" (shenwai de qingchun, ^^hWW^f). m m v op in ion the poem expresses a change in L u X u n ' s attitude towards l i fe. A f te r he presents a f igurat ive summary o f his past l i fe wi thout "hope," he decides to ca l l for "youth" or vi tal i ty to support h is com ing l i fe. In the poem L u X u n once again recapitulates the d i l emma i n his personal l i fe. W h e n he cherished a hope i n l i fe, he lost his youth in the dark night; when he decided to f ight against the dark night, he lost the dark night i t s e l f — "There is not even a real dark night in front o f m e . " 8 2 Th is means he lost his a i m o f f ight ing or, more precisely, the log ica l premise for h is l i fe and struggle. W h e n L e o Ou- fan Lee comments on the paradox ica l factor in quite a few WUd Grass poems, inc lud ing "Hope , " that are conce ived i n a paradox ica l fo rm, he says: It is clear that these series o f paradox ica l setups are means by wh i ch L u X u n probes h is o w n inner tensions. H e seems to vaci l late between, and agonize over, the opposite poles o f hope and despair. H o w should he define the boundaries between inner se l f and outer reali ty and recover meaning in an existence trapped i n a vortex o f paradoxes? Th is quest ion l ies at the center o f L u X u n ' s personal "ph i l osophy . " 8 3 8 0 Sun Yushi ?/>3£5, "Lu Xun Yecao chongshi IV" 0 (Re-interpretation of Wild Grass, IV), Lu Xunyanjiu yuekan %-T$M%R f l , 1996, no. 4, p, 43. 8 1 The two lines are: "Have the young of the world all grown old?" and "The young are very peaceful." in LXQJ, vol. 2, pp. 177-8. %1LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 178. 8 3 L e o Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987. p. 101. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 80 A s for " L u X u n ' s personal ph i losophy" i n the poem, I w o u l d l i ke to suppose it a reject ion o f the rat ional concepts o f both hope and despair, and see it as a resort ing to both the inner impulse based on his o w n perceptual experience o f l i fe and the w i l l required to overcome his predicament. A s L i n Yu-sheng has pointed out: H i s agonized tension between hope and despair led h i m to emphasize w i l l — the w i l l to strive to answer the ca l l in l i fe. Here his thought is character ized by an existential ist stress on the meaning o f w i l l in human nature and history without entai l ing the existential ist concept ion o f the absurdity o f l i f e . 8 4 O n the first day o f the new year L u X u n determined i n the poem to "seek youth outside the body" or v i ta l i ty and a reasonable l i fe. L u X u n also said the same thing in a private letter four months after he wrote " H o p e " : "I am n o w standing at an intersection and have many roads to go. I am afraid o f noth ing. The l i fe is m y o w n , so I might as we l l stride forward on the road that I th ink can be taken. E v e n though there are abysses, thorns, a l leys, and fire pits ahead, I w i l l take the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . . . . It is total ly wrong to l i ve in hal f - l i fe and half-dea th . " 8 5 Based on the preceding d iscuss ion, I argue that the theme o f " H o p e " is long ing for a new l i fe by L u X u n h imse l f and only indirect ly related to the young o f C h i n a . "The K i t e " (Fengzheng. K ^ 8 6 In its style, to a large extent, this poem resembles L u Xun ' s ly r ica l prose reminiscences selected for Dawn Blossoms Plucked at Dusk (Zhaohua xishi, ^RflLty^p). A s in " H o p e , " wi thout any masquerade, the I narrator appears as L u Xun ' s persona i n "The K i t e . " In a sincere tone o f vo ice , he seems to tel l a true story that happened many years ago. A s a teenager he never l i ked flying kites, because he detested kites as playthings o f good-for-nothing chi ldren. One day in order to prevent his younger brother f rom flying ki tes, he 8 4 L i n Yu-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness, 1979, p. 137. 8 5 L u Xun, "Beijing Tongxin" JtJjC®{g (A letter from Beijing), dated May 8, 1925, in LXQJ, vol. 3, pp. 51-2. 8 6 This poem was written on January 24, 1925 and published in Yusi i frM no. 12, February 2, 1925. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 81 t rampled on and smashed the ki te his brother had made behind h is back. A f te r that, he "stalked out proudly , leav ing h i m standing in despair i n that l i tt le r o o m . " 8 7 M a n y years later, f rom a foreign book on chi ld- rear ing, the I persona learned for the first t ime that p lay is the best occupat ion o f ch i ldren, and playthings are their good angels. A t once this ch i ldhood tyranny over the spirit forgotten for more than twenty years, came to my m i n d ; and that instant my heart seemed to turn to lead and sink heav i ly d o w n and d o w n . 8 8 L u X u n ' s two younger brothers both denied the authenticity o f the k i te -mak ing event. Z h o u Zuoren said that it on ly happened in L u Xun ' s " imag inat ion" and was "a convenient way to make a po in t . " 8 9 Z h o u Jianren said that " H e ( L u X u n ) h imse l f indeed d id not f ly ki tes, but he didn't harshly oppose others f l y ing k i t es . " 9 0 Despi te the denial o f this ki te event ever happening by L u X u n ' s two younger brothers, Jon K o w a l l i s st i l l identi f ies the ch i ld in the poem wi th Z h o u Zuoren , who "made ki tes wh i le L u X u n made h imse l f s ick w i th worry about h o w best they cou ld apply themse lves . " 9 1 K o w a l l i s also attempts to prov ide a reason for L u Xun ' s d is l i ke o f Z h o u Zuoren's f l y ing ki tes. A s the oldest son o f a co l laps ing fami ly , he felt the b l o w brought about by the case o f h is grandfather's br ibery more acutely than Z h o u Zuoren , who was only about ten at that t ime. Z h o u Zuoren was at p lay, wh i le L u X u n , in order to support the fami ly in a calamity , was frequently forced, under the d isdainfu l eyes o f the neighbors, to sel l var ious household %1LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 183, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 331. 8 8Ibid., p. 183, the Yangs'translation mLXSW,\o\. l ,p . 331. 8 9 Zhou Qiming Wife HJ (Zhou Zuoren fflftA), LuXun de qingnian shidai ^-fflWWWft (Lu Xun's youth), Zhongguo qingnian chubanshe, 1957. Quote from Katayama Tomoyuki J t U l ^ ' f T , Rojin yaso zenyaku #iS M^-^M (A complete explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1991, p. 108. 9 0 Qiao Feng ?f-ilif (Zhou Jianren J l ^A) , Luejiangguanyu LuXun de shi S&iJl:^T#ifiW¥ (Briefly tell something about Lu Xun), Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1955, p. 8. 9 1 Jon Kowallis, The Lyrical LuXun, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996, p. 50. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 82 sundries to the pawnshop.92 This might well account for his dislike of Zhou Zuoren's enjoying play. Even though the kite event may be imaginative as Lu Xun's two brothers said, 1 agree with Kowallis's judgment in the sense that the theme of the poem may be related to Lu Xun's breakup with Zhou Zuoren. After the split between the two brothers, Zhou Zuoren cut out about ten characters from his diary of July 17, 1923 when the break happened, deciding to hide the real reason for the occurrence and make no further mention of it.9 3 But in 1924, after another disturbance occurred between them when Lu Xun returned to the previous residence to pick up his books and utensils, Zhou Zuoren wrote and published an essay entitled "Broken Leg Bone" (pojiaogu 7$cj$P#) — a slang word meaning "hooligan" in Shaoxing dialect — to curse Lu Xun. 9 4 Lu Xun is known as a person of an uncompromising mind. He opposed capitulation and tended to fight back against every attack. But the conflict with Zhou Zuoren was an exception. He remained passive from beginning to end. "Lu Xun himself never published one word [on the conflict] during his life-time," admitted Zhou Zuoren. "This is a point of his greatness."95 As for the reason why Lu Xun always kept silent, I guess that Lu Xun perhaps felt guilty for something that happened during the event. His guilty feelings toward his brother can be traced in "The Kite" and other works as well. In "The Kite," Lu Xun profoundly regrets what he has done to his younger brother and hopes to earn his forgiveness. Beside "The Kite," in 1925 Lu Xun also wrote the stories "Regret for the Past" {Shangshi and "Brothers" (Dixiong 5^ 51), both being imbued 9 2 L u Xun himself once depicts this in his "Nahan zixu" Pf lS S hT (Preface to Call to Arms), LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 415. 9 3 Zhou Zuoren Hff^A, Zhitang huixiang lu ^ f l ^ r 0 J i ^ (Reminiscence of Zhou Zuoren), pp. 424-6. 9 4 The essay was published in Chenbao fukan IttSl'JT1! (Supplement of morning gazette), no. 139, June, 18, 1924. Also see Zhou Zuoren sanwen JWlf^AifcX (Essays of Zhou Zuoren), Zhang Gaoming 3Ki lPJ and Fan Qiao ?£$r ed., Zhongguo guangbo dianshi chubanshe, 1992, vol. 1, pp. 513-7. 9 5 Zhou Zuoren ffljffA, Zhitang huixiang lu ^TJ^H (Reminiscences of Zhou Zuoren), p. 425. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 83 w i th L u X u n ' s feel ings o f deep regret for the break w i th his be loved brother. Z h o u Zuoren h imse l f c lear ly understood L u X u n ' s regret. H e admitted that the plot i n "Brothers" was based fa i thfu l ly on the fact that L u X u n nursed h i m considerately dur ing his i l l ness . 9 6 A n d accord ing to Z h o u Zuoren's understanding, '"Regret for the Past' is not an ordinary romance, but a story that borrows f rom the death o f the lovers to mourn the break w i th a the brothers' a f fec t ions . " 9 7 What L u X u n attempts to exp la in i n "The K i t e " may w e l l be that he d id not commi t the misdeed on purpose to hurt h is younger brother's feel ings, but rather because o f certain misunderstandings. E v e n so he st i l l composes the poem in a severe tone o f se l f -c r i t ic ism. H e bears the mora l responsib i l i ty and cr i t ic izes h imse l f for "this ch i ldhood tyranny over sp i r i t . " 9 8 The I persona goes to his younger brother to ask for forgiveness. H e admits his "thoughtlessness" in the past and hopes that in return the younger brother w o u l d say "Bu t I don't b lame you at a l l . " A n d then he wou ld have felt forg iven and his heart wou ld henceforth have become relaxed. The younger brother, however, does not say as he expects. H e has complete ly forgotten that there ever was such a thing. Th is makes the I persona feel sadder: "The thing was complete ly forgotten, w i th no hard feel ings. In that case, what forgiveness can there be? Wi thout hard feel ings, forgiveness is a l ie . " The I persona is aware that he w i l l never get forgiveness f rom his younger brother. "What hope is there for me now? M y heart w i l l a lways be h e a v y . " 9 9 One factor that should be ment ioned here is that "The K i t e " was adapted f rom an early essay o f 1919 entit led " M y Brother" (Wo de xiongdi, fScfftJulj^l), wh i ch might have been inspired by L u X u n ' s regret for certain petty conf l ic ts between these two brothers in their 9 6 Zhou Xiashou jWJii^ (Zhou Zuoren M1#A), LuXunxiaoshuo li de renwu #ffl/Jvi&l.#J A t ) (The characters in Lu Xun's stories), Shanghai chuban gongsi, 1954, p. 195. 9 7 Zhou Zuoren Ji^ff A , Zhitang huixiang lu ^ 0 ^ 0 * ^ ^ (Reminiscences of Zhou Zuoren), pp. 426-7. 9&LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 183, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 331. "LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 184, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 332. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 84 ch i ldhood. Th is essay records the same story, but it dif fers f rom "The K i t e " i n two points. F i rs t , the essay does not have the detai l about the author's ignorance o f the importance and jus t i f ica t ion o f chi ldren's p lay ing. Second, it ends w i th a happy ending: "Later I real ized m y fault. Bu t m y brother total ly forgot m y fault. H e a lways cal ls me 'brother' l o v e l y . " 1 0 0 E v e n though in the adapted poem L u X u n stresses that he perpetrated the misdeed out o f misunderstandings, he st i l l cannot obtain forgiveness. Th is may imp ly the injury in L u X u n ' s m i n d caused by Z h o u Zuoren's harsh attitude towards h i m after the breakup o f their brotherhood. Z h o u Zuoren never showed any trace o f an intent ion to reconci le . H e adopted a stance o f what he h imse l f ca l led "no a rgument . " 1 0 1 A s a result, L u X u n lost the poss ib i l i ty o f rece iv ing forgiveness. A t the end o f the poem, L u X u n expresses his " indef inable sadness." A l t hough it is i n the spr ing, the season o f f l y ing ki tes, he feels that "I had better hide in dread winter. Bu t c lear ly a l l about me winter reigns, and is even n o w of fer ing me its utmost r igor and c o l d n e s s . " 1 0 2 January 24, 1925, the day L u X u n wrote "The K i t e , " was the Ch inese N e w Year 's day. Trad i t iona l ly this fest ival is the t ime for fami ly reunion. L u X u n couldn't reunite w i th h is brother, even though they both l i ved in Be i j i ng then. It is quite understandable that he wrote this poem as a se l f - imposed repentance for the break w i th his brother by descr ib ing an earl ier wrongdo ing . What disturbs L u X u n most is st i l l a paradox: he repents the misdeed and bears the mora l responsibi l i ty , but even so, he is neither to be forg iven nor to be b lamed, because he total ly lost his counterpart, to w h o m he wants to express his repentance and f rom w h o m he wants to get forgiveness. The two brothers' separation hurt L u X u n ' s feel ings badly and 1 0 0 L u Xun, Wo dexiongdi S W i l H (My brother), LXQJ, vol. 8, p. 96. l 0 1 Zhou Zuoren jWjff^A, Zhitang huixiang lu ^ 1 1 ^ 0 ^ 1 ^ (Reminiscences of Zhou Zuoren), p. 420. l02LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 184, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 332. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 85 left an indel ib le mark on the wr i t ing o f Wild Grass. It too accounts for the g loomy tones o f this prose poetry co l lec t ion. "The Passerby" (Guoke. & g V 0 3 Th is is the on ly p iece cast in the fo rm o f a poet ic drama. It is also the longest and perhaps the most important p iece in the sense that L u X u n concentrated in it his o w n ph i losophy about the ego, the meaning o f l i fe , the human w i l l , and other relevant issues. The plot o f the p lay can be br ief ly summar ized as fo l l ows : "Someday at dusk," a beggar, who is the protagonist o f the p lay, appears "somewhere. " A l o n g a smal l road he travels f rom the east to the west. A barren and d ismal landscape surrounds the space in w h i c h he acts. H e meets an o ld man about seventy years o ld and a g i r l o f about ten in front o f a l i tt le m u d hut where they l ive . The o ld man tel ls h i m there are on ly tombs ahead and persuades h i m to return. Bu t the litt le g i r l disagrees w i th the o ld man and says there is the prospect o f many w i l d f lowers rather than tombs. She offers h i m a piece o f c lo th to dress the wound on his foot. H e , however, refuses both the o ld man's advice and the l i tt le gir l 's c lo th, and stubbornly continues his journey — " l imps on towards the w i l d e r n e s s . " 1 0 4 B y exp lo i t ing the dramatic device o f s impl i f i ca t ion , L u X u n reduces the characters, the plot, and the setting o f the poet ic p lay to the m i n i m u m . Thus the p lay is endowed w i th a strong symbo l i c effect. F o r example , there are on ly three colors descr ibed in the drama — the whi te beard and hair o f the o ld man and his b lack gown , the b lack mustache o f the passerby and his b lack c lo th ing, and the litt le girl 's auburn hair, b lack eyes, and her g o w n w i th b lack squares against a whi te background. The sharply contrast ing colors seem to symbol ize L u Xun ' s feel ings concerning l i fe f luctuat ing between hope and despair. 1 0 3 This piece was written on March 2, 1925 and published in Yusi no. 17, March 9, 1925. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 194. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 86 Besides colors, a number of other dramatic designs, such as the time "dusk," the ages of the characters, the direction of the passerby's journey from the east to the west, the vague tombs or flowers at the end of his destination, and the metaphysical discussions among the characters all suggest heavy symbolism. As William Schultz points out, in "The Passerby," as well as in Lu Xun's story "Medicine" (Yao, 15), "without additional elaboration it can be reiterated that even his human types in one way or another all stand as symbols of the less desirable human characteristics."105 Due to its symbolic features, the poetic drama is to some degree open to diverse interpretations. Scholars have made various attempts from different perspectives to reveal the theme of the poem and to enrich its aesthetic connotation. William Schultz proposed in the 1950s to view the characters in "The Passerby" as symbols of different generations: In kuo-k'e ("The Passerby," i i ^ ) , for instance, the dramatic figures are no more than shadowy symbols meant to personify three generations — the old man who represents retreat from life in his refusal to face its fundamental problems, the middle-aged seeker after new and more meaningful values who is eternally hounded about a non-phenomenal symbolic world, and the young daughter who still sees the world and society through the tinted glasses of childish delight.106 In the 1970s Lin Yii-sheng saw "an existentialist stress on the meaning of will in human nature" that "is forcefully shown in Lu Hsun's Kuo-k'e (The Passerby, i i ^ ) . " He suggested that "His agonized tension between hope and despair led him to emphasize will — the will to strive to answer the calling in life."1 0 7 In the 1980s Leo Ou-fan Lee tried to derive a more universal or philosophic significance out of the poetic drama. In his opinion, the characters are not only 1 0 5 Will iam Schultz, "Lu HsUn, The Creative Years," unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1955, p. 373. 1 0 6 Will iam Schultz, "Lu HsUn, The Creative Years," 1955, p. 372. 1 0 7 L i n Yu-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness, 1979, p. 137. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 87 "representatives o f the o lder and younger generations," but also "personi f icat ions o f the past and the fu tu re . " 1 0 8 O n the one hand, the p lay "may be taken as L u X u n ' s personal a l legory;" on the other hand, "however , L u X u n seems to intend h i m to be a midd le-aged 'every man. ' H e is nameless, for he does not k n o w his real n a m e . . . . H e is , therefore, a composi te ref lect ion o f what others see o f h i m . " 1 0 9 M o r e important ly Lee points out L u Xun ' s meditat ions on l i fe that is cast in the play: " E v e r since I can remember, I have been wa l k i ng l ike this." L i f e is but a process o f wa l k i ng , and he must wa l k on , i n order to complete his journey toward death. The act o f wa l k i ng becomes, therefore, the on ly s igni f icant act i n an existence threatened wi th meaninglessness. Compared to "The Shadow's Fa rewe l l , " the protagonist 's dec is ion seems to be not so m u c h that o f a n ih i l is t as that o f an existential ist. W e sense that i n the metaphor o f wa l k i ng L u X u n has invested an inordinate amount o f mean ing; it must have he ld a central p lace i n his o w n meditat ions o f l i f e . 1 1 0 In the 1990s J ing H u i put forth a new interpretation about the symbo l i c meaning o f the three characters. H e disagrees w i th the interpretations to v i e w them as different types o f people as some Chinese scholars d i d 1 1 1 and different generations as W i l l i a m Schu l tz d id . H e argues: "I consider that these three characters imp ly , f rom different angles and aspects, L u X u n ' s different egos, w h i c h are a compound symbo l in the tex t . " 1 1 2 In the poem, he adds, L u X u n ingeniously epi tomizes "the three egos" i n the images o f the g i r l , the passerby, and the o ld man. Through the dia logue among them, L u Xun ' s three egos "interrogate" each other to 1 0 8 L e o Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987, p. 102. 1 0 9 Ibid., p. 101. 1 1 0 Ibid., p. 102. 1 1 'For example these images have been interpreted respectively as symbols of "the revolutionary in the old era," "the dejected," "fighter," "revolutionary," "the person who seeks for brightness," "the young," and so on. See Li Helin ^fnj#, 1973. p. 122; Min Kangsheng |5)f/C4, 1981, p. 111; Li Xifan ^ # / L , 1982, p. 24; Sun Yusi 1982, p. 26. 1 1 2 Jing Hui Stff, "Linghun de zisheng: cong wenben de xiangzheng yiyi xi Guoke" JJCH, f| JA l^tE MXM(Self-examination: an interpretation of "The Passerby" from the symbolic meaning of the text), LuXunyanjiu # i f i i f ^ (Lu Xun studies), no. 4, 1992, p. 31. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 88 delineate different aspects o f his consciousness. The three characters symbo l i ze not on ly L u X u n ' s " lonel iness, contradict ion, and anguish," but also the different stages o f his l i fe, that is , "The gi r l is the past o f the passerby; wh i le the o ld man is the future o f the passe rby . " 1 1 3 J i ng Hu i ' s interpretation o f "The Passerby" is considered a new break-through in Wild Grass studies in main land C h i n a . 1 1 4 A l l these interpretations introduced above enr ich the thematic s igni f icance o f this poet ic drama. Based on previous achievements, I shal l offer m y o w n interpretation i n the hope o f throwing some new light on L u X u n ' s metaphysical meditat ions and the ph i losoph ica l connotat ions o f the play. In reading "The Passerby," first I pay appropriate attention to the passerby's appearance. A c c o r d i n g to the br ie f stage di rect ion, he is "between thirty and forty, t i red and crabbed, w i th a smolder ing gaze, b lack mustache and tousled hair ; ragged b lack jacket and trousers, bare feet i n shabby shoes. A sack on his arm, he leans on a bamboo pole as tal l as he i s . " 1 1 5 In the gir l 's eyes, he is obv ious ly " a beggar." Readers can see his precursor i n X iang l i n ' s w i fe , a w e l l - k n o w n character in L u X u n ' s story "The N e w Year 's Sacr i f i ce , " who is " in her f o r t i e s , . . . a basket on her arm," and also " leans on a bamboo pole that is tal ler than she i s . " 1 1 6 T o identi fy the passerby as a beggar is he lpfu l to i l lustrate a recurr ing theme in some Wild Grass poems. I f we examine the beggar images as a sequence, we find now that the passerby has part ia l ly overcome the hesitat ion that the protagonist in "Beggars" once d isp layed when he first contemplated begging, and has stepped out on his journey o f l i fe to seek "b lood , " a symbol o f v i ta l i ty that he desperately needs to cont inue the journey. l l 3 Ibid. , p. 32. 1 1 4 M a o Xiaoping ^/Jv^p, "Lu Xun yanjiu gaishu" # f f l 7 4 f f ; ^ $ 0 £ (A summary of Lu Xun studies), in Zhongguo wenxue nianjian ' t ' l l l^C^^F-^ (Almanac of Chinese literature), 1993, p. 323. U5LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 188, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 336. 1 1 6 L u Xun, "Zhufu" UM (The New Year's Sacrifice), LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 6. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 89 In contrast to the beggar in "The Beggars, " however , the passerby remains pess imis t ic i n his m ind . In his dialogue w i th the o ld man , he does not even k n o w his o w n name. " M y name? I don't know. Eve r since I can remember, I've been on m y o w n . So I don't k n o w m y real n a m e . " 1 1 7 H e also doesn't k n o w where he comes f rom and where he is go ing. " E v e r since I can remember, I have been wa lk ing l i ke this." What he knows about the dest inat ion o f h is journey is "someplace ahead" in the w e s t . 1 1 8 The ambigui ty o f the passerby's ident i f icat ion and the anonymi ty o f the o ld man and the litt le g i r l make the theme o f "The Passerby" more universal . A c c o r d i n g l y the o ld man , the passerby, and the young g i r l can be he ld as symbols o f different attitudes towards l i fe. L u X u n manipulates their performances to deduce his o w n ph i losoph ica l meditat ions on some general questions regarding l i fe and its meaning. W h e n we talk about the meaning o f l i fe , we are quest ioning whether human existence has a posi t ive value and what makes human existence a worthy one despite many negative aspects. F o r the o ld man , l i fe seems to have no meaning at a l l . H e declares that the passerby's journey is toward tombs, so he persuades h i m "to go back." In his op in ion the place that the passerby comes f rom is "the best p lace." H e does not probe the qual i ty o f human existence and does not care i f the negative i n l i fe outweighs the posi t ive or not. H e even denies that the passerby is a beggar: " A beggar? That isn't l i ke ly . " H e seems to take it for granted that people l i ve l i ke beggars. H e advises the passerby should be satisf ied w i th h is o w n l i fe because " Y o u may obtain tears that spr ing f rom the heart, and some genuine c o m p a s s i o n . " 1 1 9 H e seems indifferent to anything around: the natural scenery, h is o w n existent ial si tuat ion, and others' benevolence. H e advises the passerby: " Y o u need not be so s e r i o u s . " 1 2 0 117LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 189, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 337. 1 1 8 Ibid., pp. 189-190. 119LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 191, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 339. 1 2 0 Ibid., p. 192. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 90 Since l i fe is meaningless, any other questions relevant to l i fe are also meaningless. The journey o f l i fe is meaningless, because "If you keep on , you may never reach the end o f your journey." "The vo ice ahead" that urges the passerby to keep on is also meaningless, because it can s imp ly be ignored, as the o ld man d id when he was young — "I ignored it, so then it stopped." Fo r h i m there is no difference between the past, the present, and the future, and there is also no dif ference between hope and despair. Every th ing in l i fe seems to have been determined by fate. L i f e just resembles a meaningless phys ica l span between bir th and death and a passive acceptance o f the role into w h i c h he has been soc ia l i zed. In short the o ld man can be proper ly labeled a symbo l o f the l i fe style o f n ih i l i sm. In contrast to the o ld man , the g i r l symbol izes idea l ism. Fi rst o f a l l she cherishes a sincere hope in the future. She insists that there are "many w i l d roses and l i l i es " but not " tombs" at the destinat ion o f the passerby's journey. Secondly , l i fe is meaningfu l to her, because she can engage in such benevolent acts as to offer water to quench the passerby's thirst and "c lo th " (bu Jp, a symbo l o f a lms, bushi, ^Mi) to dress his wounded foot. M o s t important ly, she offers hopefu l prospects to encourage h i m to fu l f i l l h is journey. A l l the gir l 's act ivi t ies are a imed at decreasing human suffer ing and increasing human vi tal i ty. They make her l i fe mean ingfu l , because they produce a posi t ive value. F o r her, the meaning o f l i fe is incorporated in the value she offers to others. Be tween the o ld man and the l i tt le g i r l stands the passerby, who represents an existential ist attitude towards human l i fe. O n the stage he stubbornly struggles against h is o w n fate and tries to go ahead. The o ld man exp l ic i t l y tel ls h i m there are on ly tombs in h is destination. The tombs suggest the inevitable destiny o f the human ind iv idua l — death. N o b o d y can escape it, royalty or commoners , r i ch or poor, young or o l d , saints or sinners. Death and its inevi tabi l i ty are c o m m o n themes o f l i terary works that have been fu l ly shown by many great thinkers and writers. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 91 Death is a natural l imi ta t ion o f human l i fe, but it is not the on ly l imi tat ion. People in this wo r ld , accord ing to the existential ist point o f v i ew , are forced to l i ve in absurdity, a l imi ta t ion that derives f rom human society and is more severe than a natural death. The who le p lay o f "The Passerby" is cast in an absurd setting. H u m a n l i fe is character ized by poverty, exhaust ion, a l ienat ion, and hatred, as the passerby compla ins : There is not a place wi thout celebri t ies, not a place wi thout landlords, not a place wi thout expu ls ion and cages, not a place wi thout sham smi les and hypocr i t ica l tears. I hate t h e m . 1 2 1 T o the passerby it seems that there is never a posi t ive balance in human l i fe. W h e n the o ld man predicts that he may obtain some tears and genuine compass ion , he does not even want them. H e declares: "I have no w i sh to see the tears that spr ing f rom the bottom o f the heart. I don't want their c o m p a s s i o n . " 1 2 2 Since a human being is destined to die and human l i fe is fu l l o f absurdity, is there st i l l any meaning to h im? I f so, what is it? In this poet ic p lay L u X u n seems to let the passerby answer this pre l iminary quest ion f rom three diverse perspectives. F i rst o f a l l , at present the passerby's l i fe is meaningless. A t the t ime he appears on the stage, he is nobody but a beggar. Except for wa l k i ng , he does not show any creative in i t iat ives; except for begging, he does not engage in any benevolent act iv i t ies. In other words he is not a construct ively valuable f igure i n this wor ld . Howeve r , he was probably not l i ke this i n the past. In the p lay the passerby is said to have wa lked for a long distance. "The trouble is m y feet are so gashed and cut through wa l k i ng that I've lost a good deal o f b lood. I haven't got enough b lood ; I need to dr ink some. Bu t where can I f ind it? Bes ides , I don't want to dr ink just anyone's b l o o d . " 1 2 3 mLXQJ. vol. 2, p. 191, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 338. 1 2 2 Ibid., p. 191. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 191, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 339. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 92 The detai l o f "d r ink ing b l o o d " is a surrealist ic descr ipt ion i n the play. I v i e w it as L u Xun ' s private symbo l . In order to understand it, I wou ld l ike to examine L u X u n ' s o w n remarks concern ing "dr ink ing b l ood " i n a letter o f 1925, the same year he wrote "The Passerby" : In the past haven't I voluntar i ly sp i l led my b lood on the road o f l i fe , drop by drop, to feed others? A l t h o u g h I felt myse l f gradual ly becoming th in and weak, I was pleased at do ing this. Bu t n o w people, except for that person (referring to X u Guangp ing) , laugh at m y thinness. E v e n those who have drunk m y b lood laugh at m y thinness. Th i s real ly makes me a n g r y . 1 2 4 " S p i l l b l o o d " to " feed others" is L u Xun ' s private a l lus ion for a l l the things that he d id for others. Converse ly he condemned some young wri ters, l i ke G a o Changhong , who accepted his help and later became his foes, as "suck ing (his) b l o o d " (shunxue, BfcjJJl) and " inha l ing (his) b l o o d " (xixue, Pj£iJJf).125 In his analysis o f "The Passerby," The Japanese scholar Ka tayama T o m o y u k i quotes the above remarks and argues that the idea o f the passerby los ing b lood is " a symbo l i c descr ipt ion o f t h i s . " 1 2 6 In v i e w o f this I w o u l d l ike to identi fy the symbo l i c meaning o f the passerby's los ing b lood and seeking b lood , that is, the passerby may have been somebody i n the past, but not a beggar as he is now. H e may have been engaged i n some benevolent act iv i t ies as feeding b lood to others i n the past instead o f merely begging to seek b lood f rom others at present. Therefore the passerby's l i fe may have been meaningfu l in the past. Second ly , the passerby's l i fe has no meaning for himsel f . A s a beggar, his personal l i fe cannot be worse. H e is exhausted and weak, and has nothing except verbal thanks for others. H i s l i fe is character ized by suffer ing and meaningless. Bu t his existence may st i l l be 1 2 4 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping ftr^ dated December 16, 1925, in Zhou Haiying ed., Liangdishu yuanxin Milfed^J^lg (The originals of the letters from two places), p. 284. 1 2 5 Ibid., p. 235, p. 222, and p. 240. 1 2 6Katayama Tomoyuki Jt lilUff, Rojinyaso zenyaku # f f i i f^^:P (A complete explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1991, p. 132. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 93 meaningfu l to someone else who is related to h im . W h e n the g i r l offers h i m a piece o f "c lo th , " a symbo l o f a lms, to dress his wounded foot, the passerby hesitates to accept, even though he desperately needs it. I f he accepts the c lo th , the acceptance w i l l harm an unident i f ied female (ta, "If I were to receive a lms, I w o u l d be l i ke a vulture catching sight o f a corpse and hover ing overhead, long ing to see her destruct ion w i th m y o w n e y e . . . . Bu t I'm not yet strong enough for that. E v e n i f I were I wouldn' t want her to come to such an e n d . " 1 2 7 F r o m the passerby's words, we k n o w he is st i l l mora l ly related to an absent "she," despite h is declarat ion that " E v e r since I can remember, I've been on m y o w n . " 1 2 8 Perhaps he is st i l l carry ing out some human responsibi l i t ies in his l i fe. Therefore al though his existence is meaningless to h imsel f , it may be meaningfu l to others. Th i rd ly , the passerby's l i fe is meaningless at present, but it is st i l l possib le to be meaningfu l i n the future. H e always hears a vo ice i n front o f h i m urging h i m to keep on — this is another surreal ist ic descr ipt ion in the poem. In his journey he may reach the place w i th "many w i l d roses and l i l i es " that the little g i r l tel ls h i m about. A s L e o Ou- fan Lee points out, the passerby's "wa l k i ng is not entirely hopeless because it invo lves the cruc ia l voluntary act o f choice — to wa l k on and not to re tu rn . " 1 2 9 T o sum up the above three points we k n o w that the passerby cannot prove l i fe to be total ly meaningless, a l though in his eye it is absurd, fu l l o f log ica l inconsistency and uncertainty, and directed to a def in i te ly- inevi table death. The value o f h is existence may l ie in the past, the future, or relat ionship w i th others. S ince the passerby cannot prove l i fe is total ly meaningless, he has to make a choice i n the process o f his l i fe. Unde r these ci rcumstances, L u X u n lets the passerby, through his X21LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 192, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 340. 1 2 8 lb id . , vol. 2, p. 189, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 337. 1 2 9 L e o Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987, p. 103. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 94 performance, answer another thorny quest ion: A m I free to make a choice in my l i fe at m y o w n w i l l ? Or , instead, is my fate fu l ly predetermined by m y existence? The quest ion whether people can make free choices or not, poses one o f the paradoxes that face many protagonists i n the Wild Grass poems, this t ime for the passerby. H i s paradox can be descr ibed as fo l lows : It is possib le for h i m to make a free choice i n l i fe, otherwise he cannot go ahead and beg for a lms. It is also imposs ib le for h i m to make a free choice i n l i fe , otherwise he should not refuse alms f rom the l itt le g i r l . The paradox indicates that people eventual ly have no absolute f reedom o f w i l l . A s the result o f fac ing this paradox, the passerby f ina l ly practices in an existential ist way. H e decides to keep on go ing, and not to return or stop for a rest as the o ld man suggested. Th is manifests his emphasis on f reedom o f w i l l . H e can make this cho ice , because its result impacts on ly h imsel f . A t the same t ime he also decides not to accept the gir l 's a lms in order to avo id harming an absent "her," al though he def ini tely needs them. Th i s indicates that the passerby is not real ly free in mak ing a choice, i f the result impacts others negat ively. The passerby's l i fe attitude f igurat ively echoes the two pr inc ip les o f Sartre's ph i losophy: "the precious not ion o f f reedom and its concomitant sense o f personal respons ib i l i t y . " 1 3 0 Therefore the image o f the passerby can be v iewed as a symbo l o f an existential ist attitude to l i fe. T o sum up, "The Passerby" first o f a l l "may be taken as L u X u n ' s personal a l legory" as L e o Ou- fan Lee has pointed ou t . 1 3 1 The o ld man, the passerby, and the g i r l , accord ing to J ing 1 3 0Robert Audi ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 710. According to Sartre, freedom is something that human beings cannot avoid. His contention that we cannot help being free presupposes that "man is condemned to be free." Actually Sartre means that man is always free to deny his existence and to try to change it, but man is never free of his "situation." See my foregoing analysis in the section of "Beggars." 1 3 ' L e o Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987, p. 101. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 95 Hui ' s commentary, can be v iewed respect ively as " L u X u n ' s three e g o s " 1 3 2 — I prefer to v i e w them as different manifestat ions o f his ego — that vaci l late between despair and hope, past and future. Wha t dif fers i n m y interpretation f rom J ing Hu i ' s is that I v i e w the o ld man as a symbo l o f L u X u n ' s past and the litt le g i r l as a symbo l o f L u X u n ' s future instead o f the other way round as J ing H u i has argued, because the g i r l symbol izes hope and the future. Secondly , the p lay can be considered as a general a l legory w i t h a more universal s igni f icance for the who le o f mank ind . The o ld man , the l i tt le g i r l , and the passerby incorporate different attitudes towards l i fe: n ih i l i sm, idea l ism, and existent ia l ism. The passerby adopts the existential ist stance: indomi tab ly emphas iz ing free w i l l , constantly st r iv ing for a reasonable l i fe , and at the same t ime insist ing on the concomitant sense o f personal responsibi l i t ies. A n echo o f the existential ist theme o f this poet ic drama can be found i n a 1927 essay: I on ly k n o w one destinat ion for sure, that is the tomb. Everybody knows this and does not need the guidance o f others. The prob lem is that the roads f rom here to the dest inat ion are more than one. I don't k n o w w h i c h one is the best, a l though I a m st i l l somet imes seeking even n o w . 1 3 3 "The Passerby" is said to have been conce ived gradual ly i n L u X u n ' s m i n d for over ten y e a r s . 1 3 4 The poet ic drama certainly contains pa in fu l experiences f rom his personal l i fe. Because o f mar i ta l frustration and phys ica l frai l ty, he had to recognize many constraints and obstacles. L u X u n ' s anxiety i n the presence o f death, his percept ion o f the absurdity in human l i fe , and emphasis on ind iv idua l w i l l and responsib i l i ty serve we l l as a thematic foundat ion i n the dramat izat ion o f "The Passerby." H i s insights f rom his o w n personal 1 3 2 Jing Hui "Linghun de zisheng: cong wenben de xiangzheng yiyi xi Guoke" M^M, fl ^: Ik'X^h W ^liE MXVfH^- (Self-examination: an interpretation of "The Passerby" from the symbolic meaning of the text), Lu Xun yanjiu #iE74ff^ (Lu Xun Studies), no. 4, 1992, p. 31. 1 3 3 L u Xun, "Xiezai Fen houmian" S f ^ f t / B ® (Write as a postscript to Tomb), LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 284. 1 3 4 Jing Youlin M^M, LuXun huiyi #2SiPlI ' lZ (Remembering Lu Xun), Shanghai: Shanghai zazhi gongsi, 1947, p. 63. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 96 experience on the ego and human l i fe can be found abundantly in "The Passerby," wh i ch has proven to be a foremost existential ist drama in modern Ch inese l iterature, even though it was wri t ten two decades before the existential ist movement came to prominence i n Europe after W o r l d W a r II. " D e a d F i r e " (SihuoM'k)^5 Un ique i n its o w n right, "Dead F i re " presents one o f the most bizarre images in Wild Grass, a f ire f rozen in a va l ley o f ice: Th i s is dead fire. It has a fiery fo rm, is absolutely s t i l l , complete ly congeals, l i ke branches o f cora l w i th f rozen b lack smoke at their t ips w h i c h look scorched as i f f resh f rom a fire-place. A n d so, cast ing ref lect ions upon the ice a l l around and being reflected back, it has been turned into countless shadows, mak ing the val ley o f ice as red as c o r a l . 1 3 6 The first person persona meets the "dead fire" in the va l ley and wakes it. The "dead fire" confesses its paradox to h i m : i f it stays in the va l ley, it w i l l freeze to death; i f it wakes and resumes burn ing, it w i l l burn out. A f te r a metaphysical d iscuss ion, the "dead fire" agrees to be brought out o f the va l ley by the I persona: "I w o u l d rather burn out." A t the end o f the poem, just as they leave the va l ley, the I persona is crushed to death by a large stone cart, w h i c h appears suddenly out o f nowhere. A typ ica l interpretation made by some main land Chinese cr i t ics is to take the "dead fire" as " a revolut ionary fire," w h i c h , in their op in ion , " w i l l never burn o u t , " 1 3 7 but " w i l l probably spread to a b laz ing prair ie fire."138 Th is interpretation is based on their intent to 1 3 5 This poem was written on April 23, 1925 and published in Yusi Wt&£ no. 25, May 4, 1925. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 195, Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 342. 1 3 7 Feng Xuefeng H ^ ^ . , Lun Yecao i f c l f ^ (On Wild Grass), 1956, p. 30. 1 3 8 L i Helin ${nj#, LuXun Yecao zhushi # i f i i f ^ S i # (Annotation and interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1973, p. 95. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 97 demonstrate the process o f L u X u n ' s change in thought f rom evolut ionist to Marx i s t . L e o Ou- fan Lee prov ided a different interpretation in the 1980s. H e says: M o r e l i ke ly , the metaphor o f the dead f ire refers to L u X u n ' s inner predicament: entrapped in the c o l d , barren recesses o f his heart is a pass ion w h i c h does not w i s h to lay dormant forever; it cr ies out for a l i fe o f act ion wh i ch , accord ing to the work ings o f paradox ica l log ic i n the poem, ul t imately leads to d e a t h . 1 3 9 In his interpretation Lee tries to identi fy L u Xun ' s impulse to v i ta l i ty as being incorporated in the image o f the "dead fire." In the 1990s Lee points out even more exp l ic i t l y : I do not agree to interpret the "dead fire" as revolut ion. A c c o r d i n g to K u r i y a g a w a Hakuson 's theory, it may on ly represent a k ind o f inner v i t a l i t y . 1 4 0 Lee's interpretation is ins ight fu l and conv inc ing , and accepted by many scholars. In ma in land C h i n a some cr i t ics have started to change their prev ious v iewpoin t . F o r instance, Sun Y u s h i re-interprets the I persona and the "dead f i re" as representing " two existent ial states o f L u Xun ' s o w n l i f e . " 1 4 1 The symbo l i c meaning o f the I persona's death is another focus o f debate. The earl ier scholars argued that his death symbol izes the persecut ion o f the revolut ionar ies by the reactionary p o w e r s . 1 4 2 The Japanese scholar Ka tayama argues that the I persona's death in the poem is an incorporat ion o f L u Xun ' s o w n v iewpoin t on "evo lu t ion , " because his death is exchanged for the resurrect ion o f the "dead f i r e . " 1 4 3 1 3 9 L e o Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 100. 1 4 0 Lee Ou-fan Lee, "Lu Xun yu xiandai yishu yishi" ^Si^jMiX.zl^MiPs (Lu Xun and the consciousness of modern art), in Tiewuzhong de nahan f^M't'^JPfi^ (Voices from the Iron House), Taibei: shidai fengyun chubanshe, 1995, p. 296. 1 4 1 Sun Yushi # 3 £ 5 , LuXun Yecao chongshi, VII #ifiSf^S#, ~t (Re-interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass, VII), Lu Xun yanjiu yuekan #ifi74ff^^ f l (Lu Xun study monthly), no. 7, 1996, p. 36. 1 4 2 L i Helin $ fBJ# , LuXun Yecao zhushi #ifiSf^ ~a# (Annotation and interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1973, p. 95. 1 4 3Katayama Tomoyuki Jt llllsfl, Rojinyaso zenyaku #fflS?^^:# (A complete explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1991, p. 71. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 98 overcomes the pess im ism and hesitat ion that the shadow, the beggar, and the passerby have d isp layed in the previous poems, and at last accepts the "dead f i re" bravely — the only major image in Wild Grass that represents brightness, warmth, v i tal i ty, love, and hope. "The Dog 's Retor t " (Gou de bojie, ^ r f t f t i ^ V 4 6 Th is poem is the shortest one in Wild Grass. It reads as fo l l ows : I dreamed I was wa l k i ng in a narrow lane, my clothes in rags, l ike a beggar. A dog started bark ing behind me. I looked back contemptuously and shouted at h i m : " B a h ! Shut up! Y o u , sycophant ic d o g ! " H e sniggered. " O h n o ! " he said. "I 'm not up to man in that respect." "Wha t ! " Qui te outraged, I felt that this was the supreme insult. "I 'm ashamed to say I st i l l don't k n o w how to d is t inguish between copper and s i lver , between s i lk and c lo th , between of f ic ia ls and c o m m o n c i t izens, between masters and their s laves, b e t w e e n . . . . " I turned and f led. "Wha t a bit ! Le t us talk some more . . . " F r o m behind he urged me loud ly to stay. Bu t I ran straight on as fast as I cou ld , unt i l I had run right out o f m y dream and was back in m y o w n b e d . 1 4 7 The poem reflects L u X u n ' s meditat ions on the basic nature o f the human cond i t ion , a controversial topic that many great writers and thinkers have discussed and categor ized. Some del ineated human nature as g lor ious and majest ic. In the Book of Genesis, the human race is declared to be created in God 's o w n image. 1 4 8 In the era o f the Renaissance, man was hai led as a work o f nobi l i ty and beauty: 1 4 6This poem was written on April 23, 1925 and published in Yusi Wtkt, no. 25, May 4, 1925. WLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 198, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, 345. 1487Vew World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, New York: Watchtower Bible And Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1984, p. 8. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 99 What a piece o f work is a man ! h o w noble i n reason! h o w inf in i te i n facul ty! in fo rm and m o v i n g h o w express and admirable! i n act ion h o w l ike an angel ! i n apprehension h o w l ike a god ! the beauty o f the wo r l d ! the paragon o f an ima l s ! 1 4 9 In the era o f romant ic l iterature, a negative idea on the human cond i t ion was pungently expressed by L o r d B y r o n in h is " Inscr ipt ion on the M o n u m e n t o f a N e w f o u n d l a n d D o g , " w h i c h reads: O h man ! thou feeble tenant o f an hour, Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power, W h o knows thee we l l must quit thee w i th disgust, Degraded mass o f animated dus t ! 1 5 0 The intent beh ind Byron 's poem and L u X u n ' s "The Dog 's Retor t " are st r ik ingly s imi lar . B y r o n portrays the human being as a disgust ing creature by metaphor ica l ly denouncing a dog , wh i le L u X u n describes man's defeat i n a metaphysical d iscuss ion w i th a dog because o f his mora l infer ior i ty. B o t h examine the humani ty negat ively and conclude that humankind 's mora l qual i ty is worse than that o f a dog. Crass mater ia l ism causes humans to pursue weal th — "to d is t inguish between copper and s i lver . " The sense o f vani ty causes humans to pursue undeserved reputation — "to d is t inguish between s i lk and c lo th . " A d m i r a t i o n o f power causes humans to pursue h igh rank ing o f f i c ia ldom — "to d is t inguish between of f ic ia ls and c o m m o n c i t izens." A n d the nature o f curry ing favor w i th the power fu l causes humans to be servi le to their superiors and tyrannical to their subordinates — "to d is t inguish between masters and their s laves." Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 2, scene 2. l50George Gordon, Lord Byron, Selected Works; Revised and Enlarged, edited by Edward E. Bostetter, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972, p. 5. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 100 The imperfect nature o f human beings is exposed i n the poem. L u Xun ' s meditat ions on human nature f ind an echo i n Bertrand Russel l 's op in ion o f the poor j o b G o d has done i n his evo lu t ion o f the human species: I f I were granted omnisc ience, and m i l l i ons o f years to exper iment, I shou ld not th ink M a n m u c h to boast o f as the final result o f my efforts. 1 5 1 "A f te r Dea th " (Sihou. ^ E / H V 5 2 In a unique dream o f fantasy, L u X u n imagines that he dies; h is motor nerves paralyzes, but h is sensations st i l l remain. A s L u Xun ' s persona, the first person protagonist seems also a beggar. A f te r he dies by the roadside, he is dressed in grave clothes donated by somebody and put into a co f f in by the po l ice . It was c o m m o n to see nameless bodies by the roadside i n mid-1920s Be i j i ng . Th i s sort o f scene has also been descr ibed by L u X u n i n h is story "The Bro thers . " 1 5 3 L u X u n transplants h imse l f into this situation in "A f te r Death , " where he has no obv ious a im to denounce soc ia l ev i ls , on ly to reveal his anxiety about what others w o u l d say about h i m after his death: I felt a sudden long ing to hear what they were saying. Bu t just then I remembered h o w in m y l i fe t ime I used to say that c r i t i c ism was not wor th t roubl ing about. Perhaps I didn't mean what I said: no sooner was I dead than I betrayed mysel f . Bu t though I went on l is tening, I cou ld not reach any conc lus ion , for the remarks seemed litt le more than this: " D e a d , h u h ? . . . " " U h h u h ! . . ." " W e l l ! . . . " "Dear me T o o bad " 1 5 4 151Bertrand Russell, Religion and Science, London: Oxford University Press, 1949, p. 222. 1 5 2This poem was written on July 12, 1925 and published in Yusi i § M no. 36, July 20, 1925. ™LXQJ, vol. 2, pp. 132-43. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 210, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 350. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 101 Several f l ies land on the I persona's face, l i ck ing h is nose and l ips. H e is greatly disgusted by this. H e wants to tel l the f l ies: "I am not a celebri ty, sir. Y o u don't have to seek me out to f ind mater ial for your gossip c o l u m n . " 1 5 5 Bu t he cannot speak out. W h e n the cof f in l i d is c losed, the f l ies f ly away and say, "What a p i ty ! " The f l ies ' words almost make h i m "pass out w i t h ind igna t ion . " 1 5 6 F ina l l y na i led into the co f f in , the I persona th inks: "Th is t ime I shal l be knock ing into s ix wa l ls . I am nai led i n as we l l . Th is is real ly the e n d . " 1 5 7 " T o be knock ing on s ix wa l ls and nai led i n as w e l l " (liumian pengbi, waijia dingzi, AM-frtlt , ^hJUJfT"? 1 ) is a Ch inese a l lus ion meaning "extremely bad luck . " B y us ing it L u X u n metaphor izes h is awkward predicament l i ke be ing sealed into a co f f in a l ive without any hope o f escape. The hal f -a l ive and hal f -dead situat ion is also a metaphor ica l presentation o f L u X u n ' s o w n l i fe. The tragedy is that even after his death, he st i l l cannot be free f rom being disturbed by "the f l ies, " who may be a metaphor for those p i cky newspapermen or cr i t ics. L u X u n once wrote an essay "So ld iers and F l i e s " (Zhanshi he cangying, r ^ d r f d ^ M ) to satir ize them in M a r c h 1925, that is four months before he wrote "A f te r D e a t h . " 1 5 8 They eagerly want to find materials about celebri t ies for their "gossip co lumn . " The I persona also hears somebody ask ing : " W h y w o u l d he die he re? " 1 5 9 Immediately, he real izes that he does not even have a right to die o f his o w n free w i l l : I used to th ink that a l though people do not have the right to exist on the earth at their o w n w i l l , but they have the right to die at their o w n w i l l . N o w I learn this is not the case. M y death is also very hard to please everyone. 1 6 0 'Ibid., p. 210, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 350. 'Ibid., pp. 210-1, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 350. 7Ibid., p. 211, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 351. 'Lu Xun, "Zhanshi he cangying" p ^ ± f f i ^ i 6 i (Soldiers and flies), in LXQJ, vol. 3, pp. 38-9. ''LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 211, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 351. ^LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 211, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 351. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 102 F ina l l y he decides to keep his death from his foes, because he is "unw i l l i ng to g ive them a l i tt le pleasure for f ree. " 1 6 1 "A f te r Death" is perhaps the only poem in the whole co l lec t ion that has a tint o f humor . W i t h i n an overa l l surreal ist ic f ramework, there are a number o f real ist ic, v iv id ly -descr ibed detai ls. The humorous tone al leviates its general g l oom and makes it somewhat l ight reading. Ts i -an H s i a points out: " L u H s i i n seemed to be an expert i n depic t ing death's ugl iness, not only i n his poem- in-prose, but also in his short s tor ies. " 1 6 2 H e also summar izes the ma in aspect o f L u Xun ' s depic t ion o f death, namely: "In his pub l i c utterances and creative wr i t ings, L u H s i i n d id not seem to be so m u c h horr i f ied by death i tsel f as by death as the symbo l o f a bygone age . " 1 6 3 Ts i -an Hsia 's remarks are appropriate, especia l ly for the poems f rom Wild Grass. L u Xun ' s anxiety about the bygone age is obv ious ly embodied i n " H o p e , " " S n o w , " and "The Passerby." The death depicted i n "Af te r Death , " however, is not so scary and ugly. A t the end, for instance, the I persona feels happy w i th his death l ike a shadow wi thout in fo rm ing his foes. In exul tat ion, he wants to cry. " N o tears come, though, after a l l . There is a sort o f f lash before my eyes, and I sit u p . " 1 6 4 In "A f te r Dea th" what L u X u n worr ied about most was neither h is bygone age nor death, but h is reputation w i th the pub l ic after death. H i s anxiety was shown not on ly i n the poem but also i n his private letters. A l t hough i n a letter he says: "Prest ige after death is not as good as a glass o f w ine in the present," 1 6 5 in the poem he admits otherwise: "In my l i fe t ime I used to say that c r i t i c ism was not wor th t roubl ing about. Perhaps I didn't mean what I said: no sooner was I dead than I betrayed myse l f . " 1 6 6 Ac tua l l y , as a famous and controversia l MLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 213, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 353. 1 6 2 T . A. Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, 1968, p. 153. 1 6 3Ibid.,p. 153. lMLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 213, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 353. 1 6 5 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated Nov. 18, 1926, in Zhou Haiying JHf§§| ed., Liangdishuyuanxin Mife^ BM'fl (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), p. 233. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 210, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 350. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 103 writer i n the mid-1920 's , L u X u n cared about his prestige very much . In another letter he said there were many hesitations in h is m i n d : "These hesitations come most ly f rom m y l i fe , and some come f rom m y status. Th is so ca l led status refers to the litt le bit o f wo rk that I d id be fore . " 1 6 7 Th is is the theme o f the poem, and we can take the b lack humor i n it as support ing evidence. W h e n a messenger o f the Boguzha i B o o k Shop br ings h i m a c lass ica l book in a M i n g dynasty edi t ion after his death, the I persona forgets that he is unable to speak at this moment and says to the messenger: "Can' t you see what cond i t ion I'm in? What use do I have for M i n g dynasty ed i t i ons?" 1 6 8 L u X u n ' s meaning seems to be clear here: What I'm wor ry ing about is my reputation after death. H o w can I st i l l care about something else l i ke an ancient edi t ion? Summary In a general symbo l i c f ramework in Wild Grass, L u X u n portrays the conf l ic t between his unsatisfactory existence and suppressed vi tal i ty. L i f e descr ibed in the poems is dark, l i ke a "dark night" ( "Hope") . Somet imes the protagonist is a "shadow," who " is wander ing between l ight and darkness" ( "Shadow") . Somet imes the protagonist l ives " l i ke a shadow in the vani ty w h i c h is neither l ight nor darkness" ( "Hope") . E v e n i f the protagonist dies, he dies " l i ke a shadow" ("Af ter Death") . In Wild Grass the "shadow" is an important image to h ighl ight the darkness, meaninglessness, and hopelessness o f L u X u n ' s l i fe. L i f e in Wild Grass is not on ly characterized by darkness, but also by coldness. The beggars are begging in the co ld autumn w i n d ("Beggars") . E v e n in the spr ing, L u X u n feels that he is surrounded by dread winter that is of fer ing h i m "its utmost r igor and co ldness" 1 6 7 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated Nov. 28, 1926, in Zhou Haiying MMW ed., Liangdishuyuanxin Mifed^ Mfg (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), p. 250. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 213, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 352. CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 104 ( "K i te" ) . H i s v i ta l i ty is f rozen into a "dead fire" i n "the va l ley o f i ce " ( "Dead F i re " ) . A n d even L u Xun ' s departed youth is one that is "sad, co ld , and uncertain" ( "Hope") . In a w ise i l l umina t ion , L u X u n presents his figurative meditat ions on death. Death is approaching a l l the t ime and inescapable. N o matter who they are, the o ld man or the l i tt le g i r l , and no matter h o w they act, to retreat f rom l i fe l i ke the o ld man or keep on go ing l i ke the passerby, their journey o f l i fe a lways leads to an absolute dest inat ion — death ("Passerby") . L i f e is too short: just l ike a temporar i ly burn ing fire, it w i l l burn out at last ( "Dead F i re " ) . L u X u n laments the short durat ion o f his l i fe — hastening across the uncertain wo r ld , in a f lash he is g row ing o ld ( "Hope") . E v e n i f the protagonist wants to release his suppressed vi ta l i ty — to receive "dead fire" and to leave "the va l ley o f i ce , " the result is st i l l h is death ( "Dead F i re " ) . Because l i fe is character ized by darkness, coldness, and approaching death, it is in the final analysis absurd and meaningless. A s the passerby compla ins , there is no place wi thout celebri t ies, landlords, expu ls ion , cages, sham smi les, and hypocr i t ica l tears ("Passerby") . A c c o r d i n g l y many protagonists seem to be th rown into a total ly hopeless wor ld . They are entirely al ienated. In their m inds , there is no " love and hate, j oy and sadness, or co lor and sound" ( "Hope") . Peop le cannot relate to each other ( "Beggars") , even brothers have no mutual understanding ( "K i te" ) . Unavo idab ly , under these c i rcumstances, many protagonists fa l l into deep pess im ism ( "Shadow," "Beggars , " and "K i t e " ) . Because o f l i fe's absurdity, the protagonists in var ious predicaments are forced to face their o w n paradoxes: The "shadow" covets a farewel l , but he cannot go anywhere except "Nowhere " (wudi, 3G$L i n "Shadow" ) . The beggar yearns for a lms, but he can acquire nothing except for "Noth ingness" (xuwu, M% i n "Beggars" ) . Ove r la id by "the dark night," L u Xun ' s persona, however , fai ls to spot it. W h e n he decides to "grapple w i th the dark night," he can on ly grapple w i th it in "Van i t y " (xuwang, M.-^ in "Hope" ) . Instead o f the forgiveness he craves, the I person in " K i t e " can only receive " a l ie , " w h i c h s inks h i m into a CHAPTER 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 105 heavier burden o f guil t . The passerby urgently needs "b l ood " and other "a lms" to refresh h imsel f , but he lacks the f reedom to accept them ("Passerby") . The "dead f i re" has no other cho ice except either to be f rozen to death or to burn out ( "Dead F i re " ) . The I persona in "A f te r Dea th " l ives in a situation o f hal f - l i fe and half-death. A l l these paradoxes that L u X u n conceives in some Wild Grass poems epi tomize his o w n annoy ing existence in the m i d -1920s. In the face o f these paradoxes, the most s igni f icant characterist ic o f the protagonists' state o f m i n d is their attempt to escape. The "shadow" w o u l d rather escape into " N o w h e r e " than l inger "between l ight and darkness." Together w i th the "dead fire," the first person wanderer strives to flee "the va l ley o f i ce " ( "Dead F i re" ) . The I persona in " K i t e " desires to "hide i n dread winter." Before an aggressive dog, the defeated human debater runs away in panic ("Dog's Retort") . The passerby takes f l ight f rom the p lace where he was and determines never to return ("Passerby") . The I persona in "A f te r Dea th" escapes to death, but st i l l unsat isf ied, then he escapes back to l i fe again. Ano ther characterist ic o f the protagonists is their bel i t t led images. In Wild Grass poems, hardly any are portrayed as heroes and almost none o f their act ions are heroic. They are a shadow ( "Shadow") , a prostitute ("Decrepi t L i n e " ) , and, more frequently, a beggar. They are aged and weak ( "Hope") , or sad and remorseful ( "K i te" ) , or incompetent and t r iv ia l ("Dog's Retort") . Th is technique o f bel i t t l ing characters demonstrates not on ly L u Xun ' s ind ignat ion at his absurd existence, but also his psycho log ica l d igni ty to resist his humi l ia t ion by it. T o sum up, L u X u n ' s existence incorporated in Wild Grass is an inextr icable despair. H e seems to have reached a cruc ia l juncture o f his l i fe — l ike the "dead fire" — either to endure the rest o f h is l i fe , l i ke be ing f rozen to death i n the ice va l ley or restart it, by leav ing the va l ley and burning out. It is precisely because o f the inextr icable despair that L u X u n resorts to his w i l l , as is expressed in many poems. The shadow has a w i l l to leave C H A P T E R 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 106 ( "Shadow") . The beggar wants to p luck up his courage to go begging ("Beggars") . In " H o p e " the I persona, though aging, is st i l l eager to search for "the youth outside." The passerby does not g ive up his w i l l to l i fe and stubbornly keeps on going. M a n y protagonists in Wild Grass, i f examined as a series, fu l f i l l a transit ion f rom hesitancy to act ion. A f te r the I persona decides to fight alone against the dark night in "Hope , " he finally obtains the "dead fire" ( "Dead F i re " ) . The theme o f va lu ing the ego, human w i l l , v i tal i ty, and the meaning o f l i fe has been summar ized by L u X u n h imse l f i n the " Inscr ipt ion" (Tici, Mffi) to Wild Grass,m i n w h i c h he wri tes: The past l i fe is already dead. A n d in its passing I find happiness, because in this I k n o w that I am yet a l ive. The dead l i fe is already rotten, decayed. A n d i n its decay I am greatly p leased, because i n this I k n o w that I am not yet a vo id . D iscarded upon the ground the clay o f l i fe (shengming de ni, ^E'np^M) g ives no birth to stately trees; it enl ivens only w i l d grass, and this is my t ransgression. 1 7 0 "The c lay o f l i fe " is L u Xun ' s personal a l lus ion, wh i ch takes its source f rom the Ch inese legend o f the goddess N i iwa ' s (~icM) creating mank ind w i th c lay . 1 7 1 L u X u n ' s story " B u z h o u M o u n t a i n (Buzhou shan, i l l ) , 1 7 2 w h i c h describes the story o f N i iwa ' s creat ion in detai l , was — he said — wri t ten for the purpose o f app ly ing "Freud's theory to exp la in the genesis o f both man and l i terature." 1 7 3 In the preface to Wild Grass, by employ ing the legend again, imp l i c i t l y L u X u n expla ins the genesis o f Wild Grass — It is in "the c lay o f l i fe" that Wild Grass grows, or i n other words , it is a genuine record o f his o w n frustration and pr ivate 1 6 9lt was written on April 26, 1927 and published in Yusi iHM no. 138, July 2, 1927. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 159, Schultz's translation in "Lu Hsiin, The Creative Years," unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1955, p. 297. 1 7 lYingshao I^ SP (fl. 180), Fengsu long (Guidance of mores). See Meng Guanglai iLf^ and Han Rixin fji B §)f ed., Gushi xinbian yanjiu ziliao K^fJ f tSW^^^- (Research materials for Old Tales Retold), Shandong wenyi chubanshe, 1984, p. 70. 1 7 2lt was written in 1922, re-entitled as "Butian" (Mending the sky) in 1930, and now is included in the story collection Old Tales Retold. See LXQJ, vol. 2, pp. 345-356. 1 7 3 L u Xun, "Gushi xinbian xuyan" i & ¥ $ r ^ J?W (A preface to Old Tales Retold), LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 341. C H A P T E R 3, PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS 107 feel ings in the mid-1920s . Wild Grass was created at the t ime L u X u n was attempting to release his suppressed v i ta l i ty and start a new l i fe. The creat ion o f Wild Grass appears to have been Kur iyagawa 's theory i n pract ice: "The mental anguish and turmoi l w h i c h result f r om a suppressed v i ta l i ty becomes the root o f literature and art." 1 7 4 Wild Grass is the poetry o f L u X u n ' s l i fe and his ph i losophy o f l i fe. The theme o f va lu ing the ego, w i l l to l i fe , and the meaning o f human existence i n Wild Grass becomes manifest. 1 7 4 Lu Xun, "Kumen de xiangzheng, yinyan" i^pCIWI^ift *j| ~m (Preface to Symbols of Mental Anguish), LXQJ, vol. 10, p. 232. 106 Chapter 4 , Emotional Dilemma between Love and Moral Responsibility Lu Xun was born in a wealthy gentry family in southern China in 1881. His grandfather possessed the highest degree of Jinshi (iSi) in the civic service examination system and was a Qing government official. Lu Xun's father passed the primary level in the examinations and showed much promise as a scholar and official, like Lu Xun's grandfather. Lu Xun had a happy and carefree childhood. In 1893, when he was thirteen years old, misfortune fell on the Zhou clan. In that year, charged with bribery, his grandfather was sentenced to death but later reprieved by the emperor. His father, who was also implicated in this case, was deprived of his Xiucai 0;^) degree. After that Lu Xun's family suffered various miseries and lived in humiliation and financial stress for many years. When Lu Xun was sixteen, his father died. Two years later he went to Nanjing to study in the Jiangnan Naval Academy, a Western-style school established by some Qing officials who were dubbed the "Foreign Affairs School" for advocating reform and self-strengthening by means of learning Western science and technology. At that time very few youths wanted to enter this kind of school, because in the public eye, it was not a "proper thing" to study "foreign affairs." But Lu Xun seemed to have no other choice. He recalled his feelings of having no-way-out in a later essay: My eagerness to go to Nanjing and study in the Jiangnan Naval Academy seems to have shown a desire to strike out for a different road and escape to a different land to find people of a different kind. . . . For at that time the proper thing was to study the classics and take the official examinations. Anyone who studied foreign affairs was regarded by the public as someone who could find no way out and was forced to sell his soul to foreign devils.1 1 Lu Xun, "Nahan zixu" Pftifc g rf (Self-Preface to Call to Arms), LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 415, Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang' translation in LuXun Selected Works, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1956, vol. 2, p. 34. Hereafter LXSW. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 109 When Lu Xun was in Nanjing, his mother started to arrange a marriage for him. At that time, the marriage of minors was always arranged by their parents. The bride to be was Zhu An, from a wealthy family in Shaoxing and two years senior to Lu Xun. According to Zhou Zuoren's diaries, in June of 1899, Lu Xun's mother, two of Zhu An's relatives, and two go-betweens set off together in two rented boats to watch the local operas in a village nearby. This might have been the beginning of the marriage arrangements between these two families.2 In March 1901 the Zhou family sent messengers to the Zhu family to inquire about Zhu An's birthday. According to the custom in Shaoxing, this was a very important step in fulfilling the marriage arrangements, because only after this could a date for the wedding ceremony be set. Some scholars view the event as Lu Xun and Zhu An's engagement.3 In 1900, after the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1900) had been suppressed, the Qing government granted a special amnesty to a number of prisoners in order to win public support. Lu Xun's grandfather obtained remission and returned home in 1901. In the next year, Lu Xun was selected to study in Japan under the sponsorship of the Qing government. These two events brought a ray of hope to the miserable Zhou family. Under these circumstances, Lu Xun's mother speeded up the marriage arrangement. In 1903 when Lu Xun was in Japan, his mother informed him of the engagement that she had fixed for him. Lu Xun disagreed at first and requested that Zhu An marry another. But his mother insisted, because if the Zhou family broke off the engagement, it would be a humiliation to both families and especially to Zhu An, who would face the plight of nobody else wanting to marry her.4 So Lu Xun's mother asked Zhou Guanwu (MMH), Lu Xun's uncle, to write a letter to persuade him to accept this engagement. Although Lu Xun was reluctant to marry an 2 L i Yunjing LuXun de hunyinyujiating, #ifi#J#fWi-^ jMM (Lu Xun's marriage and family), Beijing: shiyue wenyi chubanshe, 1990, p. 18. 3Ibid., p. 19. 4This is according to the statement of Zhou Guanwu j o j ^ E , Lu Xun's uncle, who had a hand in the marital arrangements at the request of Lu Xun's mother. See Xue Suizhi and others ed., LuXun shengping shdiao huibian, # i f i4 I FA^4 '/LIS (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 1, p. 107. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A OF L O V E V E R S U S M O R A L I T Y 110 unknown and uneducated woman, he could not disobey his mother. Zhou Jianren ( JR J M A ) , Lu Xun's youngest brother, recalled once: I don't not know when Mother made the engagement for my eldest brother. He himself didn't know either. Because marriages had to be arranged by parents, my eldest brother could not ask about it. After my eldest brother became aware of it, he only asked that the woman loosen her bound feet and be literate. Except for these things, there was nothing else he could say.5 In the same year Lu Xun wrote a classical style poem "Personally Inscribed on a Small Picture" (Ziti xiaoxiang, ij M^{$-), which is subject to a wide variety of interpretations. In mainland China it has often been cited as evidence to pinpoint chronologically the beginnings of Lu Xun's revolutionary consciousness.6 Among various interpretations, a unique one was put forth by Xi Jin, who argues that the poem expresses Lu Xun's disappointment in the engagement after he was made aware of it.7 I consider this interpretation an acceptable one. Following his argument, I have tried to translate the poem as follows: My heart has no way to dodge the God of Love's arrows. Storms strike like big rocks and my hometown is in darkness. To cold stars I entrust my feelings, which my mother fails to recognize. I am to sacrifice my blood to Xuan Yuan, the ancestor of our race.8 5Zhou Jianren joJltA, LuXun gujia de baduo #ifiS(i?W!'K5W (The decline of Lu Xun's old family), Hunan renmin chubanshe, 1984, p. 240. 6Jon Eugene von Kowallis, The Lyrical LuXun —A Study of His Classical-Style Verse, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996, p. 100. 7 X i Jin "Lu Xun shi benshi" #iSi^^:^: (Stories behind Lu Xun's poems), Wenxueyuekan Jt-£M fJ (The literature monthly), November 1956, p. 9. &LXQJ, vol. 7, p. 423. Jon Kowallis has another translation, which reads: "The spirit tower holds no plan / to dodge the arrows of gods or man; / These storms that strike like rocks a-fall / enshroud our land in their darkening pall. / A shooting star might convey men's will, / but the Fragrant One lacks judgment still; / So I shall offer my blood up for/ Xuan Yuan, our progenitor." See his The Lyrical LuXun, 1996, p. 102. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 111 In the summer of 1906, at the request of his mother, Lu Xun returned from Japan to his hometown. Because of constant pressure from the Zhu family, his mother used illness as a pretext to call her son back for the wedding ceremony.9 At the time Lu Xun was twenty-six years old and Zhu An twenty-eight. Why did Lu Xun accept an unsatisfactory marriage? To this question, Xu Guangping once provided an explanation. She said: "It was a revolutionary era, Lu Xun thought that he would die sooner or later. Since his mother wanted a company, he acted at his mother's will."10 Xu Guangping's explanation is hard to substantiate. Around 1906 Lu Xun was primarily engaged in literary activities in Japan. He was not a professional revolutionary like his fellow townsmen Xu Xilin (|£|§M, 1879-1907) and Qiu Jin 0M, 1872-1907). His literary activities were not endangering his life. There existed no problem regarding death for Lu Xun as Xu Guangping alleged. Although Xu Guangping's statement does not hold much water, it is often quoted by some mainland Chinese scholars." It seems to me that Lu Xun obeyed his mother to marry Zhu An mainly for the purpose of fulfilling the traditional obligations to be a filial son and a responsible husband. This obedience proved to be a big mistake in his life and brought him enormous grief. As he admitted twenty years later: "The mistake throughout my life is that I didn't plan it but obeyed all that others arranged.... Therefore hundreds of troubles ensued and I feel very 9 Y u Fang #07, "Fengjian hunyin de xishengzhe — Lu Xun xiansheng he Zhu furen" §tSl£t#Sf>>lffitt# — #iE5fe^ Ef0^ r< A A (The victims of the feudalistic marriage — Mr. Lu Xun and Madam Zhu," in Xue Suizhi li^Sc^ and others ed., LuXun shengping shiliao huibian, #ifi4¥.!fe$4fDS (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p.483. 10Shan Yanyi ^'MX, "Lu Xun shi ziti xiaoxiang tansuo" ft ^hWM'M. (An exploration of Lu Xun's poem "Personally Inscribed on a Small Picture"), Jinxiu cankao ziliao i £ j ^ # # ^ 5 | 4 (Reference for teachers' studies), ^JZiL^^&WMi&i^&tM, 1977, no. 1. Also see Xue Suizhi and others ed., LuXun shengping shiliao huibian, jfeSflT.^ (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 1, p. 107. "Liao Zidong Jp^^fc, "Shilun Lu Xun de jiating, hunyin he aiqing dui ta de sixiang yingxiang" K i £ # i E i W WH'ft^•tfifeWS^i^l'lBl (On Lu Xun's family, marriage, and love as well as their influence on his thought), LuXunyanjiu (Lu Xun Studies), Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1983, vol. 7. p. 97. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 112 frustrated. '" 2 A l t hough the remark concerns his o w n "mistake," it does contain an opaque compla int about his mother and the marriage she arranged for h im . A t the very beg inn ing, L u X u n cou ld not escape f rom the mora l responsibi l i t ies that h is mother set upon h i m . E v e n pr ior to the wedd ing , he had to make sacri f ices. Eventua l ly L u X u n was unable to conceal his disappointment i n the marr iage. Three days after the wedd ing he left his br ide behind and sai led for Japan. Perhaps i n his m i n d he never considered Z h u A n his w i fe , on ly his mother's compan ion . H e ca l led the wedd ing a ceremony in w h i c h "Mo the r takes a daughter- in- law." 1 3 The misfortune o f L u X u n ' s marriage became a huge psycho log ica l and emot ional burden, w h i c h , i n Jon Kowa l l i s ' s words, "must have weighted heav i ly on h i m . . . and indeed cont inued to haunt h i m for the remainder o f his l i fe . " 1 4 Du r i ng a long per iod o f twenty years, L u X u n l i ved w i th his w i fe nomina l l y as a couple w i th no substance o f real marr iage. Y u D a f u , a famous wri ter and L u Xun ' s f r iend, once teased L u X u n , saying the reason he d id not wear cotton-padded trousers dur ing the co ld winters i n Be i j i ng was to dampen his sexual desire. 1 5 In Chapter Three I d iscussed the estrangement between L u X u n and his brother. Th i s event happened i n Ju ly 1923. H a l f a month later, L u X u n m o v e d out the compound that he had shared w i t h Z h o u Zuoren's fami ly . Before the move , he suggested that Z h u A n leave Be i j i ng and return to Shaox ing to l i ve w i th her relat ives, but she re fused. 1 6 I f L u X u n forced 12Lu Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated Nov. 28, 1926, in Liangdishu yuanxin MHkzF5J^ 'fB (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying ed., 1984, p. 250. l3This is according to Xu Guangping's statement. See Liao Zidong J f l i ^ , Shilun Lu Xun de jiating, hunyin he aiqing dui ta de sixiang yingxiang, ffl&M&ffiWM., t§WM^M\fo$ft%MW>^, (On Lu Xun's family, marriage, and love as well as their influence on his thought), LuXunyanjiu (Lu Xun Studies) Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1983, vol. 7. p. 97. 14Jon Kowallis, The Lyrical Lu Xun — A Study of His Classical-Style Verse, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996, p. 21. 15Yu Dafu fifcS^c, "Huiyi Lu Xun" 0'|Z,#iE, (Remembering Lu Xun), Yu Dafu wenji ffiikJzXM (Literary collection of Yu Dafu), Hong Kong: Sanlian shudian, vol. 4, p. 206. 16Yu Fang f g ^ "Fengjian hunyin de xishengzhe — Lu Xun xiansheng he Zhu furen" %ii^fiflWflStt^ — #ifi5fc£ftlyfc A A . (The victims of the feudalistic marriage — Mr. Lu Xun and Mrs. Zhu), in Xue Suizhi CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 113 Z h u A n back to her hometown, accord ing to the custom in Shaox ing , that w o u l d mean "d ivo rc ing a w i f e " (xiuqi WU)- It was considered a great humi l ia t ion to both the w i fe and the wi fe 's parental fami ly . N o t a l l d ivorced w ives cou ld stand this humi l ia t ion . A s a result many w o u l d commi t su ic ide . 1 7 A l t h o u g h some o f L u X u n ' s fr iends and students such as Sun Fuyuan , Zhang Chuandao , and Chang W e i j u n often suggested that L u X u n should send Z h u A n back to her parental home, L u X u n f ina l ly d id not do as they suggested. 1 8 Perhaps L u X u n ' s sense o f mora l responsib i l i ty prevented h i m f rom forc ing Z h u A n to leave and face despair. L u X u n ' s d isp leasing marr iage lasted unt i l M a r c h 1925 when he began receiv ing letters f rom X u Guangp ing , a female student o f h is , who expressed admirat ion and love for her teacher in her letters. The i r affair developed rapid ly , and some scholars consider they consummated their love in the summer o f 1925. 1 9 F r o m the very outset o f L u Xun ' s romant ic invo lvement w i th X u Guangp ing , he was faced w i th the d i l e m m a o f love versus mora l responsibi l i ty . L u X u n was a marr ied, m idd le -aged scholar, wh i le X u Guangp ing was his student and eighteen years younger. A t that t ime, an arranged marriage was not necessari ly a just i f iab le reason to d ivorce a wi fe . M a n y famous leaders o f the N e w Cul ture Movemen t , such as C a i Y u a n p e i , C h e n D u x i u , L i Dazhao , and H u Sh i a l l had an arranged marr iage. A l l o f them accepted it, and maintained it throughout their l ives. Before the N e w Cul ture Movemen t , few w o m e n in C h i n a received an educat ion and almost none had a professional career. A w o m a n had to rely on her parents before gett ing marr ied and her husband after marr iage. A t that t ime almost no marriages happened without be ing arranged. and others ed., Lu Xun shengping shiliao huibian, #ifi^^jfefi-OSi (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p. 480. 1 7 Ibid„ p. 484. 18Ibid., pp. 483-4. 1 9Wang Dehou 3£#/p, Liangdishuyanjiu Mitfe^ rSSF^  (A study of The Letters between Two Places), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1982, p. 324; and You Yang Xife, "Yecao; yige teshu xulie" SF^: —f^WrfM (Wild Grass, a specific series), in Lu Xun yanjiu yuekan #ifi$f3££| fJ (Lu Xun Study monthly), 1993, no. 5, p. 23. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 114 In 1920s C h i n a , it was st i l l legal and usual for a man to take concubines, as long as he was economica l l y able. Bu t L u X u n , as a radical cr i t ic o f inhuman tradit ional moral i ty f rom feet-b inding to concubinage i n pre-modern C h i n a , wou ld never de ign to practice a corrupt custom himsel f . L u X u n cherished X u Guangping 's love very much . H e certainly d id not want to reject it. L o v e is a boon to human beings: its power can not on ly raise people up mora l ly and psycho log ica l l y , but also mit igate trouble. X u Guangping 's love had almost a remedia l power to moderate L u Xun ' s l i fe tr ibulat ions. Bu t h o w to deal w i th his affair w i th X u Guangp ing i n a way that w o u l d not seriously harm Z h u A n became a conundrum for L u X u n . Th is conundrum w h i c h I ca l l the emot ional d i l emma o f love and mora l responsib i l i ty is embodied imp l i c i t l y yet adequately in many Wild Grass poems. X u Guangp ing became L u Xun ' s student in September 1923 and it is evident that they knew each other we l l before L u X u n started wr i t ing Wild Grass i n September 1924. The major i ty o f the co l lec t ion was wri t ten dur ing their secret romant ic invo lvement and certainly . contains L u Xun ' s most private feel ings. I wou ld l i ke to argue that in a sense, it is love that inspired L u X u n to compose some o f the e lus ive Wild Grass poems. The Japanese cr i t ic Ka tayama T o m o y u k i points out: "Wi thou t scholars' annotat ion and interpretation, in the reading o f Wild Grass it is hard to access L u X u n ' s real intentions. E v e n for scholars, it is d i f f icu l t to interpret a l l twenty-four pieces o f Wild Grass. " 2 0 The interpretive d i f f icu l ty l ies ma in ly in the obl ique nature o f these prose poems. L u X u n h imse l f once stated, "S ince it was di f f icu l t to speak out direct ly at the t ime, occas iona l ly the phrasing [of Wild Grass] is very opaque . " 2 1 I f readers want to access L u X u n ' s real intent ion, first they have to understand the "opaque" phrasing that L u X u n del iberately employed in Wild Grass. 2 0Katayama Tomoyuki ft" lll^f TT, Rojin yaso zenyaku flrifif? (A complete interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), ^RM, 1991, p. 278. His twenty-four pieces include the "Preface." 2 1 L u Xun, "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" f r ^ ^ i ^ M ^ J ? (A preface to the English edition of Yecao), LXQJ, vol. 4. p. 356. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 115 A c c o r d i n g to the theory o f intertextuality, "any one l i terary text is inseparably inter-i nvo l ved w i th other texts, whether by its open or covert ci tat ions and allusions, or by its ass imi la t ion o f the formal and substantive features o f an earl ier text or texts, or s imp ly by its unavoidable part ic ipat ion i n the c o m m o n stock o f l inguist ic and l i terary convent ions and procedures that are 'always already' i n place and constitute the discourses into w h i c h we are b o r n . " 2 2 In this l ight L u Xun ' s Wild Grass is not a c losed system. The poems are "inter-i nvo l ved " not on ly w i th each other to different degrees, but also w i th L u X u n ' s other wr i t ings. L u X u n ' s "opaque" phrasing may be regarded as his private a l lus ions. Some o f them are del iberately spec ia l ized, d rawn f rom his private feel ings and exper iences, and are not intended to be recognized by general readers. In the fo l l ow ing analysis, I shal l attempt to explore L u Xun ' s private a l lus ions embedded in Wild Grass i n order to better understand h is emot ional d i l e m m a o f love and mora l responsibi l i ty , the most e lus ive theme o f Wild Grass. " A u t u m n N i g h t " A t the opening o f " A u t u m n N igh t , " L u X u n wri tes: " B e h i n d the wa l l o f my backyard you can see two trees: one is a date tree, the other is also a date t ree . " 2 3 A s the most important image o f the poem, the date trees have been common l y v iewed as a symbo l o f L u X u n ' s unbending personal i ty. Howeve r , the reason why he describes the date trees separately has been debated for more than ha l f a century and there is st i l l no w ide ly accepted conc lus ion . A s early as 1935, L i Changzh i wrote that the opening stanza "s imp ly fal ls into odious interest . " 2 4 Bu t he didn't te l l h is readers what he meant by the phrase "odious interest" nor why he used it. Wi thout p rov id ing an explanat ion, L i ' s argument sounds arbitrary. In the 1950s W e i Junx iu countered L i ' s op in ion , arguing that this stanza is never o f "odious 2 2 M . H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms, Harcourt Brace Jovanouich College Publishers, 1993, p. 285, original emphasis. 23'LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 162, the Yangs' translation in L A W vol. 1, p. 317. 2 4 L i Changzhi ^fcZ, LuXun pipan ^ififtt^J (The criticism of Lu Xun), Shanghai: Beixin shuju, 1935, p. 136. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 116 interest" but o f "genuine interest." W e i Junx iu offered an assumpt ion to support h is argument. In the autumnal night, he suggested, L u X u n perhaps first saw two trees, then he ident i f ied them one by one as date trees. Therefore the introductory descr ipt ion o f the date trees is v i v i d and reasonable but never o f "odious interest ." 2 5 In the 1970s L i H e l i n considered that L u X u intent ional ly employed a rhetorical repeti t ion i n order to h ighl ight the date t rees. 2 6 In the 1990s the Japanese scholar Ka tayama prov ided a new interpretation by associat ing the separately-described date trees w i th L u X u n ' s "sense o f lonel iness and iso lat ion." H e says: "It is an expression o f L u Xun ' s sense o f lonel iness and isolat ion to describe these two date trees separate ly . " 2 7 A c c o r d i n g to h i m , L u X u n ' s estrangement f rom his be loved brother and h is l i fe w i th a dissat isfy ing w i fe are among the "s igni f icant elements" that account for his "sense o f lonel iness and i so la t i on . " 2 8 P i c k i n g up where Ka tayama left off, I w i l l go a step further to argue that these two separately-described date trees embody L u X u n ' s dejected feel ings for his mari tal si tuat ion and cou ld be understood as metaphors for h imse l f and his wi fe Z h u A n . In m y research, I have found that no scholar has pa id any attention to the fact that L u X u n , after del ineat ing the appearance o f the two trees, depicted the psyche o f on ly one date tree and left the other one unexamined. H e d id this by subtly shif t ing the plural pronoun "they" (tamen, ftJlfn) into the singular one "he"( ta, ftfe). I checked three versions o f the Eng l i sh translat ion and found that i n two o f them the or ig ina l "he" was changed into "they" throughout the p o e m , 2 9 and the th i rd translat ion was done accurately accord ing to the o r i g i na l . 3 0 The translators who changed the 2 5 W e i Junxiu JJ^^r, LuXun yecao tansuo, It-ifigf^^^ {Exploration of Lu Xun's Wild Grass, 1953), p. 6. 2 6 L i Helin $ f p j # , LuXun Yecao zhushi #ifiS?^i£p (Annotation and interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 1973, p. 27. 2 7Katayama Tomoyuki Jt l l l l^T , Rojinyaso zenyaku #iSSf^^:# (A complete explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1991, p. 25. 2 8Ibid., p. 26. 2 9 They are the the Yangs' translation, in LXSW, 1980, vol. 1, pp. 317-9 and William Schultz's translation in "Lu Xun's Creative Years," 1955, p. 298. 3 0It is Ng Mau-sang's translation in The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature, Joseph S. M . Lau and Howard Goldblatt ed., Columbia University Press, New York, 1995, p. 595. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A O F L O V E V E R S U S M O R A L I T Y 1 • 7 or ig ina l text might th ink that they had corrected a minor textual mistake by mak ing the number o f trees and pronouns agree. Ac tua l l y they fa i led to detect L u X u n ' s tr ick, by w h i c h he dist inguishes these two date trees i n order to emphasize the dif ference between them, and furthermore, to al lude to his o w n disaffect ion w i th h is w i fe . Some external support ing evidence can be found i n L u X u n ' s free style poems wri t ten in 1918. Du r i ng the N e w Cul ture Movemen t , L u X u n wrote f ive new style poems. A m o n g them two take a garden as subject matter and both are love poems. "The i r Ga rden" (Tamen de huayuan, ffeiniT5$:(zEl) describes a young man , w h o steals a f lower f rom his neighbors' garden. Bu t he f ina l ly real izes that the stolen f lower can never match the neighbors' f lowers b lossoming i n the garden. H e feels sad: Th ink i ng about the neighbors, he fai ls to speak out: In their b ig garden, there are many pretty f l owers . 3 1 The poem expresses the protagonist's admirat ion o f others' garden and f lowers. B y contrast, i n "Peach B l o s s o m " (Taohua, tyWc) the first person persona's garden displays a different scene. A s in " A u t u m n N igh t , " L u X u n also describes two trees i n the garden: a peach tree and a p l u m tree, each occupy ing one side o f the garden and b lossoming . The peach tree is irritated at the I persona, s imp ly because he says that the f lowers o f the peach tree are different i n co lor f rom the p l u m tree. Th is makes the I persona feel embarrassed. H e questions the peach tree: M y words have not real ly opposed you , so why b lush so! A i ! F lowers have a f lower 's reasons, w h i c h I do not unders tand. 3 2 3 1 L u Xun, "Tamen de huayuan" MlftjffiBI (Their garden), LXQJ, vol. 7, p. 32. 3 2 L u Xun, "Taohua" (Peach blossom), LXQJ, vol. 7, p. 31. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 118 W e see f rom this garden an inharmonious relat ionship between the peach tree and the p l u m tree. The persona's feel ings o f hav ing no-way-out are also obv ious ly perceptible i n the poem. I w o u l d l ike to argue that these two new style poems imp l i c i t l y incorporate the author's mari ta l d issat isfact ion, and " A u t u m n N igh t " is not the first poem in w h i c h L u X u n employs f lowers, gardens, and disaffected trees as private a l lus ions for love, mari tal l i fe , and an inharmonious relat ionship between spouses. The images o f the peach tree and the p l u m tree may be regarded as the forerunners o f the two date trees in " A u t u m n N igh t . " L u Xun ' s private a l lus ion connoted by the trees becomes more ident i f iable when he declares in the "Pre face" to Wild Grass (Tici, Mffi): "D iscarded upon the ground, the c lay o f l i fe gives no bir th to stately trees; it grows only w i l d grass. A n d this is m y gu i l t . " 3 3 It seems to me that L u X u n intent ional ly designs the "stately trees" and the nameless " w i l d grass" as his private a l lus ions to reflect his personal l i fe and juxtaposes them to p inpoint his opposite mari ta l and romant ic experiences. The " w i l d grass," together w i th the w i l d flowers, contrasts w i th the "stately trees" and serves as an important c lue to understand the most e lus ive theme o f Wild Grass. "The w i l d flowers and w i l d grass" (yehuacao, i f 7£j|t) first appear in the garden in " A u t u m n N igh t . " They are suffer ing f rom the hardship o f the environment — in the autumn night the co ld autumn sky scatters heavy frost on them. L u X u n describes these w i l d flowers and w i l d grass, especia l ly a k ind o f plant that bears smal l p ink flowers, i n a who le paragraph even pr ior to a detai led descr ipt ion o f the date trees. H e wri tes: I have no idea what these flowers and grass are ca l led, what names they are c o m m o n l y k n o w n by. One o f them, I remember, has t iny p ink flowers and its flowers are st i l l l inger ing on , al though smal ler than ever. Sh iver ing in the co ld night air they dream o f the com ing o f spr ing, o f the coming o f the a u t u m n , . . . 3 4 '•LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 159. William Schultz's translation in "Lu Hsiin, The Creative Years," p. 297. [LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 162, the Yangs' translation in L A W vol. 1, p. 317. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 119 Shiver ing i n the coldness and darkness, the smal l p ink f lowers are st i l l hav ing the dream o f spr ing. In their dream, bees start humming songs o f spr ing, butterfl ies f ly to and fro. Then the l i tt le p ink f lowers smi le , though they have turned a mourn fu l c r imson w i th co ld and are st i l l sh iver ing. L u X u n endows the plant that bears smal l p ink f lowers w i th female prettiness, ca l l i ng it "she" and portraying it sympathet ical ly and lyr ica l ly . It may be v iewed as a symbo l o f L u X u n ' s faint hope for love. Despi te the harsh environment, the sma l l p ink f lowers persist i n b lossoming and long ing for the com ing o f the spr ing. In previous " A u t u m n N i g h t " studies, cr i t ics revealed the conf l ic t between the date tree and the sky suf f ic ient ly, but fa i led to pay enough attention to the aff in i ty between the date tree and the plant w i th smal l p ink f lowers. L u X u n personi f ies them as male and female characters and, more remarkably, associates them by stating twice in the poem that the date tree knows and w i l l have the same dream as the smal l p ink flowers. In short "the w i l d flowers and w i l d grass" are co l lec t ive ly important images w h i c h frequently appear i n some Wild Grass poems. Bes ides i n " A u t u m n N igh t , " there are also "b lood red camel l ias" and "whi te p l u m b lossom t inged w i th green" i n " S n o w " ; " w i l d flowers" and "b ig red f lowers" in "The G o o d Story" ; " f lowers i n secret" i n " H o p e " ; " w i l d l i l y and w i l d rose" i n "Passerby" ; "short grass" and " w i l d thist le" i n "The A w a k e n i n g " ; and so on. L u X u n h imse l f once ca l led his Wild Grass poems "sma l l pale flowers on the r i m o f ru ined h e l l . " 3 5 "The w i l d flowers and w i l d grass" (yehuacao, M^fcJ$-) are not on ly L u X u n ' s pr ivate a l lus ions to imp ly the love theme o f Wild Grass i n part icular, but also common ly - recogn ized l i terary a l lus ions, general i n Chinese. They can be used to "metaphor ize a man's extra-mari tal af fairs" or refer to "a w o m a n w h o m a man dal l ies w i th outside o f mar r iage . " 3 6 3 5 L u Xun, "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" S f ^ ^ J t i ^ ^ F f - (A preface to the English edition of Yecao), LXQJ, vol. 4, p. 356. 3 6 L u o Zhufeng Jp'fW, Hanyu da cidian 'W^&M% (Grand Chinese Dictionary), Hong Kong: Sanlian shudian, 1993, vol. 10, p. 406 and p. 408. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A OF L O V E V E R S U S M O R A L I T Y 120 A l l the above evidence — the suggestive tit le o f Wild Grass, the contrast between trees and w i l d f lowers, w i l d grass, the descr ipt ion o f the sufferings o f the ins igni f icant w i l d f lowers, w i l d grass, and L u X u n ' s o w n explanat ion that the Wild Grass poems are " sma l l pale f lowers on the r i m o f ru ined h e l l " — indicates that these prose poems reflect i n part h is miserable mar i ta l l i fe and h is profound emot ional distress. I w o u l d l ike to examine and interpret some Wild Grass p ieces as a sequence o f me lancho ly love poems. " A u t u m n N i g h t " serves as the in i t ia l p iece to d isplay L u Xun ' s emot ional d i l emma, w h i c h permeates many subsequent poems o f the co l lec t ion. "Shadow's Leave -Tak ing " The image o f the shadow is c o m m o n l y accepted as L u X u n ' s se l f -symbol as I have discussed i n Chapter Three. A s for the Leave -Tak ing , I w o u l d l i ke to argue its interpretation as L u Xun ' s farewel l to h is w i fe Z h u A n . L u X u n once said to h is f r iend X u Shoushang: " Z h u A n is a gift (liwu, ^\Jfy) g iven by m y mother. I have to support her we l l . L o v e is something that I don't k n o w . " 3 7 A s L u Xun ' s w i fe , Z h u A n tr ied her best to per form her duty. She once said to her neighbor Y u Fang : "The relat ionship between L u X u n and me has not been good. I want to take good care o f h i m and obey h i m i n everything, then it w i l l be good in the future." 3 8 A s a w i fe , she wanted to be treated as a w i fe ; as a "gif t" g iven to L u X u n , she also wanted to be repaid by a gift from h i m . She, however , never knew that her expectat ion was not to be met by h i m . In "Shadow's Leave -Tak ing " L u X u n wri tes: Y o u are st i l l expect ing a gift (zengpin, l i t on) f rom me. Wha t is there for me to g ive? No th i ng except darkness and nothingness. Bu t I w o u l d l i ke it to be on ly darkness, 3 7 X u Shoushang #^ f-5S, Wangyou LuXunyinxiangji t^#ifi£p|^iE (My impression of the late friend Lu Xun), Hong Kong: Shanghai shuju, 1957, p. 62. 3 8 Y u Fang ifu^ "Fengjian hunyin de xishengzhe — Lu Xun xiansheng he Zhu furen" i t ^ f $HWffitt# — %-^9c^M9f. A A . (The victims of the feudalistic marriage — Mr. Lu Xun and Mrs. Zhu), in Xue Suizhi MWcZ. and others ed., LuXun shengping shiliao huibian, # f f i 4 ^ i ^ O l i (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p. 481. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 121 w h i c h may be lost in your dayl ight. I w o u l d l ike it to be on ly nothingness, w h i c h w o u l d never take possession o f your heart . 3 9 Just because the I persona has no gift to offer to his " f r iend" — "nothing except darkness and nothingness," and, more important ly, he has no desire to offer a gift — "I w o u l d l ike it to be on ly nothingness, w h i c h w o u l d never take possession o f your heart." W h e n his " f r iend" sleeps unt i l los ing the sense o f t ime, he decides to leave: It is you , though, that I d is l ike. F r iend , I'll no longer f o l l o w you ; I do not want to stay here. I do not want to! A h , no ! I do not want to. I wou ld rather wander i n Nowhere . A t the t ime when I lose the sense o f t ime, I shal l go far away alone. F r iend , the t ime is at hand. Th is is what I w o u l d l i ke , f r iend — 4 0 A t this t ime, a l though he is st i l l unaware o f where to go — "I w o u l d rather wander i n Nowhere , " the farewel l becomes inevi table. In the poem the title "Shadow's L e a v e - T a k i n g " is the key word for the interpretation. It imp l i c i t l y indicates L u X u n ' s desire, that is, to "go far away alone." W h e n the I persona plans to leave, he never reproaches his " f r iend." Instead he admits his weakness — hav ing "nothing except darkness and nothingness" to offer his fr iend. H e never betrays the least complacency that he may leave for a satisfactory p lace. Instead he condemns h imse l f and is w i l l i ng to accept any possib le consequence. "There w i l l be myse l f alone sunk i n the darkness. That wo r l d w i l l be who l l y m i n e . " 4 1 "Shadow's L e a v e - T a k i n g " is one o f the most pessimist ic poems in Wild Grass. A t the very beginning o f L u X u n ' s p lan to leave his w i fe , he feels gui l ty. H i s awareness o f 39LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 166, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 321. 40LXQJ. vol. 2, pp. 165-6, the Yangs' translation in LXSW\o\. 1, pp. 320-1. 4]LXQJ. vol. 2, pp. 166, the Yangs' translation in LXSW\o\. 1, pp. 321. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 122 repentance is imp l i c i t l y expressed in "Shadow's L e a v e - T a k i n g " and, more strongly, i n several ensuing Wild Grass poems, such as "The Passerby" and "Tombstone Inscr ipt ions." " M y Los t L o v e " (Wo de shilian, f c f f t ^ c ® ) 4 2 Th is poem, w i th its subtitle "a new doggerel modeled after the anc ien ts , " 4 3 has received m u c h scholar ly c r i t i c ism. Ts i -an H s i a takes it as the on ly infer ior poem in the co l lec t ion and excludes it f rom those that he cal ls "genuine poetry." H e says: O f the twenty-four pieces inc luded, on ly one reads l i ke a fo rmal pai-hua poem, " M y Los t L o v e " ; but it is a bur lesque, not a very c lever burlesque either, o f the current love poems w h i c h L u H s i i n d isdained for their cheap faci le sentiments and j i ng l i ng no tes . 4 4 L e o Ou- fan Lee comments on it together w i th L u Xun ' s other poems wri t ten in the baihua style. H e says: In the M a y Four th per iod, he d id make a few attempts to wr i te "new poetry" in the baihua style. Bu t the few pieces he produced seem to be ve i led doggerel occas ioned by a f l ippant impulse, as i f he intended to poke fun at its naivete o f sentiment (a famous example is " M y Unrequ i ted L o v e " ) . 4 5 In spite o f its a l leged imperfect ion, I st i l l v i e w " M y Los t L o v e " as an important l ink i n the evolut ion o f the emot ional theme o f Wild Grass. Once again the poem reveals the I persona's puzz lement and sorrow over the awkward relat ionship w i th h is lover. It contains four stanzas. L i k e "Shadow's Leave -Tak ing , " each invo lves prob lems caused by gifts. The first reads as fo l l ows : 4 2 This poem was written on October 3, 1924 and published in Yusi i f r ^ , no. 4, December 8, 1924. 43LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 169. 4 4Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, 1968, p. 150. 4 5 L e o Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, pp. 41-2. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 123 She whom I love is on the mountain side. I want to seek her but the mountain is too high. I lower my head and helpless tears stain my garb. M y lover gave me a one-hundred-butterfly scarf. What did I give her in return: an owl. She got angry and ignores me now. I don't know why and my heart is filled with awe. 4 6 In the following three stanzas, the lover presents the I persona with a picture of double swallows, a golden watch belt, and a rose as gifts; while he presents sugarcoated haws on a stick, aspirins, and a red-chain snake to her in return. A t each exchange of gifts, the lover gets annoyed at him. Finally the I persona has no other choice and gives up: "I don't know why, and let her alone." 4 7 Although L u X u n himself asserted that " M y Lost Love" was written to "satirize 'lost-love poetry' (shilianshi ^ ? £ H T F ) popular at that t ime" 4 8 and "to make a joke," 4 9 his contemporaries considered it serious and not merely meant as "a joke." According to Sun Fuyuan's reminiscence, L u X u n once told him that the "owl" and other gifts described in the poem were all things he l iked . 5 0 X u Shoushang also expressed a similar opinion: "Most readers consider it nonsense and only feel it funny. They don't know the owl was something that he himself valued; sugarcoated haws on a stick were things that he favored; aspirin was something that he often took; and the red-chain snake was something that he liked to watch. The poem is still serious without any affectation."5 1 I want to pay particular attention to the implications of the gifts that the I persona presents to his lover. A l l of them seem to be insignificant or meaningless but each actually 46LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 169. 41LXQJ,\o\.2, p. 170. 4 8 L u Xun, "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" If ^ ifc%~i¥$-rT (A preface to the English edition of Yecao), LXQJ, vol. 4, p. 356. 4 9 L u Xun, "Wo he Yusi de shizhong" $£:ffli£M$J#ni?- (I and the beginning and ending of Yusi), LXQJ, vol. 4. p. 166. 5 0 Sun Fuyuan, #$131 "Jingfu yi zhounian" ijCglJ—M^- (One year of the Supplementary of Beijing Gazette), See Sun Yushi #15 Yecaoyanjiu SF^fiif^ (Wild Grass study), 1982, p. 109. 5 1 X u Shoushang VfM^, Wo suo renshi de LuXun ffc f^iURW#ifi (The Lu Xun I knew), 1952, p. 70. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 124 bears a specia l connotat ion. In Wild Grass the " o w l " is a remarkable image, w h i c h also appears i n " A u t u m n N i g h t " and " H o p e . " In Chapter Three I d iscussed that L u X u n changed its tradit ional meaning o f an ev i l omen and usual ly used it i n his wr i t ing as a rebel l ious image. I w o u l d l i ke to further point out that the " o w l " is also L u X u n ' s se l f -symbol . A c c o r d i n g to Shen Y i n m o ' s (tfcf3"!!^) remin iscence, one o f L u X u n ' s n icknames was " o w l . " H e gained it because o f h is appearance, about w h i c h he didn't care much . H e usual ly wore b lack clothes. O n pub l i c occasions he didn't talk m u c h and tended to sit and l is ten attentively. So his fr iends ca l led h i m " o w l . " 5 2 L u X u n d id not detest this n ickname. H e not on ly often employed the " o w l " as an ant i -convent ional symbo l i n var ious wr i t ings, but also drew it as h is o w n mark to decorate covers o f his books , such as the first vers ion o f his essay co l lec t ion Tomb (Fen, 1927). Based on the above evidence J iang D e m i n g , a main land Chinese scholar, argues that the " o w l " i n " M y Los t L o v e " is " a self-metaphor o f L u X u n h imse l f . " 5 3 I agree w i th J iang Deming 's argument. L u X u n employs the " o w l " as his sel f-metaphor not on ly i n " M y Los t L o v e , " but also i n his essays. M o r e important ly, the " o w l " is long ing for love. F o r instance, he wri tes i n an essay o f 1919: The son o f man is awake. H e knows there should be love among m a n k i n d . . . . So he feels distressed, and opens his mouth to make this c r y . . . . W e can cry out at the top o f our vo ice . I f we were or io les, we w o u l d cry l i ke or io les; i f we were ow ls , we w o u l d cry l i ke owls . W e shal l also cry out the sadness o f hav ing no love and cry out the sadness o f hav ing nothing to l ove . 5 4 5 2Shen Yinmo t t ^ E , "Lu Xun shenghuo de yijie" #ifi£SJ#J—T> (A thing about Lu Xun's life), in Huiyi weida de LuXun 0tZ,f4^A$J#2L (Remembering great Lu Xun), Xinwenyi chubanshe, 1958, p. 2. 5 3Jiang Deming ^t^Bfj "Dushi liangti" i^WM^H (Two topics of reading poems), LuXun yanjiu jikan #3fiifl-^2 Hfll (Collected papers of Lu Xun study), Shanghai wenyi chubanshe, 1979, vol. 1, p. 199. 5 4 L u Xun, "Suigan lu 40" 40 (Random thoughts 40), LXQJ. vol. 1, pp. 322-3, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 2, pp. 37-8. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 125 Th is provides external evidence that L u X u n used the " o w l " as a self-metaphor to protest against convent ional arranged marriages and to cry out for love. Ac tua l l y in this poem not on ly the " o w l , " but also the "snake" is L u Xun ' s self-metaphor. A c c o r d i n g to the Ch inese lunar calendar, L u X u n was born in the year o f the snake. Thus he made h imse l f a penname Tay in ( ' t i i i f ) , w h i c h , accord ing to X u Guangp ing , means "the vo ice o f the snake," because ta C £ ) is the ancient character for the snake (she, 4r;).55 D u r i n g the per iod o f the compos i t ion o f Wild Grass, L u X u n had another n ickname, " w i l d snake," wh i ch was g iven to h i m by the sisters o f the Y u fami ly , his neighbors and landladies in B e i j i n g . 5 6 L i k e the " o w l , " the "snake" is also a reiterative image in Wild Grass. The protagonist i n "Tombstone Inscr ipt ions" is a serpent-ghost. In "Dead F i re " the I persona's fingers and clothes are burnt by the re-k ind l ing "dead fire" and then his body is wreathed by a co i l o f b lack smoke, wh i ch rears up l i ke " a w i ry snake." L u X u n often juxtaposed "ow l s " and "snakes," together w i th ghosts and monsters, to refer to those who loved his wr i t ing. In his "Postscr ipt to Tomb" (Xie zai Fen houmian, i & j n ffi), he wri tes: " E v e n i f they are ow ls , snakes, ghosts, and monsters (xiaosheguiguai, J fe^ r l J^ rS) , they are m y fr iends, my real f r iends. " 5 7 A part icular usage o f the "ow l -snake-ghosts-monster" can be found in L u Xun ' s personal letters. A s a private a l lus ion , it is used as one word to refer to h is lover X u Guangp ing . H e once made a n ickname " S m a l l Ghos t " (Xiaogui, As%) for her and in his m i n d , she was a person o f his o w n k i nd and deserved his love. H e wri tes: 5 5 X u Guangping i f - P -TS Xu Guangping yi Lu Xun i T ^ ^ ' l Z ^ f f l (Remembering Lu Xun of Xu Guangping), Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1979, p. 93 5 6 X u Qinwen MXX "Lu Xun Xiansheng zai zhuanta hutong" # i f i 5 f e 4 ^ ( M r . Lu Xun in Zhuanta Lane), in Shen Yinmo f t F i f t and others, Huiyi weida de LuXun @' lZ{IAl$#: i f i (Remembering great Lu Xun), Shanghai: Xinweiyi chubanshe, 1958, p. 42. 5 7 L u Xun, "Xie zai Fen houmian" ^ f t f t j g f f i (Postscript to Tomb), LXQJ. vol. 1, p. 284. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 126 I on ly love the owl-snake-ghost-monster (referring to X u Guangp ing) . I w i l l g ive h i m the right to trample me. I don't want reputat ion, status, and anything else. It is enough for me to have the owl-snake-ghost-monster. Somet imes I feel ashamed. I'm afraid to be unqual i f ied to love that p e r s o n . . . . (Somet imes) I feel that I am not a bad person. I have the right to l o v e . 5 8 Let us go back to " M y Los t L o v e , " in w h i c h sugar-coated haws on a st ick and aspir ins are also presented by the I persona to his lover as gifts. The former is a special f lavor o f food popular i n northern C h i n a and the latter was L u Xun ' s medic ine. Suf fer ing f rom tuberculosis, he actual ly had to rely on aspi r in to a great degree "to fight" his habitual fever. "I had a fever a few days ago," wrote L u X u n in a letter, "I immediate ly took aspir in and quin ine to fight it. . . . i n three days I r ecove red . " 5 9 M o r e surpr is ingly, aspir in was real ly a gift for h im . In h is diary o f Ju ly 5, 1924, that is three months before he wrote " M y Los t L o v e , " there is a note: "[Qi] Shoushan presents three cans o f aspir in as a g i f t . " 6 0 Af ter establ ishing the impl icat ions o f these gifts, we k n o w that L u X u n is serious — al l the gifts that he lets the I persona present to his lover are his o w n favori tes or necessit ies. Bu t the I persona cannot be understood by his lover. It seems to me that L u X u n is presenting a tragedy o f different destinies in the poem. The discrepancy in the lovers' characters determines their tragedy. It makes no dif ference who is right or who is wrong. The reader also cannot tel l whose gifts are absolutely superior to whose. A main land Ch inese scholar interprets "the lover" as "the reactionary ru l ing c lass," and the I persona as a "revolut ionary," who presents the gifts for the purpose o f "mak ing t roub le . " 6 1 Ano ther senior scholar argues that the poem is intended to satir ize X u Z h i m o 5 8 L u Xun and Jingsun (Xu Guangping), Liangdishu yuanxin MitfezBI^ 'fH (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying W\M$c ed., Hunan wenyi chubanshe, 1984, pp. 314-5. 5 9 L u Xun, a letter to Zhang Chuandao ^ J l | , £ ; dated July 7, 1927, LXQJ, vol. 11, p. 555. 6 0 L u Xun's diary on July 5, 1924, LXQJ, vol. 14, p. 504. 6 l M i n Kangsheng ^K^E, Diyu bianyan dexiaohua Hfe^jif&WW^ (Small flowers at the rim of hell.), 1981, pp. 48-9. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A OF L O V E V E R S U S M O R A L I T Y 127 1896-1931), a poet o f the M o d e r n R e v i e w S c h o o l . 6 2 Bu t both lack support ing evidence and neither sounds conv inc ing . The most common l y accepted interpretation is based on L u Xun ' s o w n statement to v i e w it as a parody o f the infer ior " lost- love poetry" prevalent in the mid-1920s. " M y Los t L o v e " is o f course a parody o f contemporary " lost - love poetry," but it is inadequate to take it as a parody merely a im ing at " a j oke . " I wou ld l i ke to v i e w it as a parody w i th personal impl icat ions for L u X u n ' s o w n sorrowfu l marr iage. L u X u n was a great th inker and famous modern Chinese wri ter; wh i le his w i fe was a mediocre i l l i terate. They were destined to fa i l in emot ional interchange as do the lovers i n " M y Los t L o v e . " Th i s emot ional fai lure between lovers is further presented i n "Revenge" to a more astonishing artistic effect. I don't th ink there is m u c h satire in the poem. Despi te the great d iscrepancy between the lovers, L u X u never expresses i l l - feel ings or contempt toward his characters. O n the contrary he betrays a sense o f sel f-depreciat ion and hav ing no-way-out . In v i e w o f this, it is a sor rowfu l , serious p iece, but not merely a funny doggerel . "Revenge" and "Revenge II" L u Xun ' s int imate f r iend X u Shoushang once prov ided a unique interpretation o f the theme o f "Revenge, " saying it is " a paradigm o f his v o w to experience misery and bi t terness." 6 3 H i s interpretation d id not receive the attention it deserves f rom scholar ly c i rc les. A s I ment ioned i n Chapter T w o , most scholars tend to highl ight the conf l ic t between the couple and the on- lookers i n order to emphasize L u Xun ' s c r i t i c i sm o f the ignorant pub l ic . 6 2 Sun Xizhen "Lu Xun shige zatan" (Miscellaneous comment on Lu Xun's poems), Wenshizhe ~X.$L¥l (Literature, history, and philosophy), 1978. no. 2. Also see Zhang Enhe LuXun jiushijijie Uti&lRvtfMM (A collection of interpretations of Lu Xun's classic-style verses), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1981, pp. 102-4 6 3 X u Shoushang Wo suo renshi de LuXun S#fi^fr?]#ffi (The Lu Xun 1 knew), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1952, p. 42. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 128 A n except ion is Char les A lbe r , who points out that "a contrast is drawn between the two actors, the protagonist and the antagonis t . " 6 4 A l b e r also careful ly traces the development o f the conf l ic t between the couple by d iv id ing the poem into different scenes. A c c o r d i n g to h i m , the first two stanzas constitute the prologue, wh i ch reads: H u m a n sk in is probably no more than a fract ion o f an inch th ick, yet behind it courses red, hot b lood , w h i c h f lows through vessels, more dense than layers o f larvae c l imb ing up a w a l l , and comes out warm. Everyone uses this warmth to seduce, exci te, coax , tenaciously hug, k iss , and embrace each other i n order to attain l i fe's drunken bl iss. Bu t take a sharp, pointed dagger, g ive it one thrust, pierce this puny, peach-colored sk in , and you w i l l see that red, hot b lood spurt out l ike an arrow, lett ing a l l the warmth drain straight out o f the v i c t i m ; then, w i th an icy breath escaping through pale l ips , the human m ind becomes dumbfounded, attains l i fe's g iddy, excruc iat ing b l iss , and the body too is eternally p lunged into l i fe's giddy b l i s s . 6 5 In scene two, enter the lovers: So it was that this couple, complete ly naked, fingering sharp daggers, stood face to face i n the open wi lderness. The two were just about to embrace, just about to die. . . . 6 6 W h e n comment ing on this scene, A l b e r states that it is "blunt and terse, but the image it evokes is h igh ly erot ic." A lber ' s commentary is we l l made on his direct reading o f the text. In m y v i e w this poem cou ld also be read as a painfu l love story. A s lovers the protagonists should act "to seduce, exci te, coax, tenaciously hug, k iss , and embrace each other to attain l i fe's drunken b l iss . " Bu t the tragedy is that "the warmth" com ing out o f their bodies is not strong enough to seduce them into act ing as lovers. The unreal ized love therefore shifts into hatred. Bu t the other side o f the tragedy is that the hatred between them 6 4Charles, J. Alber, "WildGrass, Symmetry and Parallelism in Lu Hsun's Prose Poems," in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, William H. Nienhauser, Jr. ed., The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1976, p. 8. 65LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 172, Alber's translation in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, 1976, p. 24. 6 6 ibid. , p. 172 and p. 24. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 129 is not strong enough to lead to mutual murder either. A s a result the couple can do nothing but confront each other face to face unt i l they dry up. Th i s confrontat ion w i th neither love nor hatred is even more tragic than slaughter, thus L u X u n cal ls it "the great b loodless slaughter" (wuxue de dalu, ^Cj f iLfJ^^Ci^) . It seems to me that the couple's silent and stationary confrontat ion is consistent w i th the potential conf l ic t between the two date trees in " A u t u m n N igh t , " but expressed i n a start l ing v isua l iza t ion . In order to enhance the poet ic tension, L u X u n describes the cruel confrontat ion three t imes. I w o u l d l ike to argue that the confrontat ion between this couple can be v iewed as another incorporat ion o f his o w n terrible mari ta l arrangement. M y argument finds strong support in the title "Revenge" (M.W). The Ch inese character jjl means not on ly " foe" (chou) but also "spouse" (qiu).67 Acco rd i ng l y the tit le o f the poem can be translated l i teral ly into "to reply to [my] foe" or "to reply to [my] spouse." The ambigu i ty o f the tit le is r i ch ly suggestive o f the couple's emot ional status: they behave l i ke neither foes nor spouses. L e o Ou- fan Lee noted that i n his or ig ina l wr i t ing L u X u n employed the ancient fo rm for the character jfl, wh i ch is wri t ten as fit, a character created by comb in ing two birds w i th the radical o f language between them. Its or ig ina l mean ing is to commun ica te . 6 8 A l ine in the Book of Odes (Shijing, W%k) reads "Wi thout language there w i l l be no commun ica t ion" (Wuyan buchou, %m^Fft).69 6 7 F o r example Cao Zhi's Wtt "Fuping pian" (Poem of duckweed) has the lines: ^ t f ^ f 2 ^ , ~FiJl (1 braid my hair, bid farewell to my honorable parents, and come to be your spouse). See Ci hai WM (Vocabulary sea), Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1979, p. 211. In Zhu Xi Zhuziyulei ^-piaM (The analects of master Zhu Xi) v. 81, there is ^it^.M.~k, ^ ^ j f ^ ^ / f i t E (Only young lady like this can be the spouse of a gentleman), See Luo Zhufeng 3?fW, Hanyu da cidian tXilbfctfJft- (Grand Chinese Dictionary), Hong Kong: Sanlian shudian, 1993, v. 1, p. 1105. 6 8 L e o Ou-fan Lee, "Lu Xun yu xiandai yishu yishi" # i f i^SEf t2^; l£iR (Lu Xun and the consciousness of modem art), in Tiewuzhong de nahan ^M^^^M (Voices from the Iron House), Taibei: shidai fengyun chubanshe, 1995, p. 298. 6 9 C / hai WM (Vocabulary sea), Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1979, p. 2013. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 130 Lu Xun was proficient in Chinese ancient characters, which he once studied from the famous scholar Zhang Taiyan 1869-1936). It seems to me that it is not just a coincidence that he employed an ancient character in the title. He is well known to often choose characters with particular graphic connotations to achieve particular effects in his various writings.70 I prefer to treat this deliberately-chosen character fit as a figurative and allusive display of his own terrible marital status. There certainly should be "language" between lovers. But in the poem not only is there no communication between the couple, but also no other sounds. The completely silent poem with a surprising visual effect magnificently represents the artistic conception of the line in the Book of Odes, "Without language there will be no communication," not to mention love. Once Lu Xun's personal feelings and private allusions are identified, the theme of the poem, which concerns his marital anguish, becomes clear. It is no wonder that, having experienced such a painful marriage, he would be able to conceive the poem in such a shocking manner. And it is also no wonder that Xu Shoushang, having been aware of Lu Xun's anguish, would be able to assert that the poem is a "paradigm of his vow to experience misery and bitterness."71 In "Revenge II" after Lu Xun depicts the cruel crucifixion of Jesus, the Son of God, he concludes the poem with his own commentary: "Those who reek most of blood and filth are not those who crucify the Son of God, but those who crucify the son of man."72 This 7 0Here I will provide a famous example. Lu Xun used a penname Yan Zhi'aozhe CO;~ZM3£) in 1924 for his book Sitang zhuanwen zaji j f e g ^ ^ ^ H (Miscellaneous collection of brick inscriptions by Lu Xun), see "Sitang zhuanwen zaji tiji" {^^^^C^H^iS (Prescript to Miscellaneous collection of brick inscriptions by LuXun), in LXQJ, vol. 10, p.63. In 1926 Lu Xun named the protagonist in his story Zhujian (Forging the Swords) the same Yan Zhi'aozhe. According to Xu Guangping's interpretation, Yan Zhi'aozhe means "the person who was exiled by the Japanese woman in the family," because the character 3? consists of the radicals "family," "Japanese," and "woman," and the ancient form of %L consists of "exile" and "out." See LXQJ, vol. 10, pp. 63-4. Explicitly Lu Xun conceived this private allusion to refer to the fact that he was forced to move out his own house after his conflict with Zhou Zuoren's Japanese wife Nobuko in 1923. 7 1 X u Shoushang Vf-^M, Wo suo renshi de LuXun ^ BfikW^^Si (The Lu Xun I knew), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1952, p. 42. 72LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 175, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 325. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 131 commentary is particularly important in understanding L u Xun's feelings and the theme of the poem. Many scholars have given a wide variety of interpretations to its key word "son of man" since the 1950s. Wei Junxiu considers the "son of man" as the opposite of the "Son of God." The former is "more noble" than the latter, because he is closer to the common people and their life. 7 3 L i Helin argues that both the "Son of God" and the "son of man" refer to Jesus, and L u X u n emphasizes his significance as the "son of man," because Jesus seeks liberation for all mankind. 7 4 Sun Yushi even says: " L u X u n is the 'son of man' in his own era, but not the 'Son of God, ' who transcends history." A s the "son of man" who cannot transcend history, L u Xun , in Sun Yushi's opinion, reveals the "weakness of his thought" in the poem because of his "extreme views on the relationship between the revolutionary and the crowd." 7 5 It seems to me that Sun Yushi is arguing that the "Son of God" represents "the revolutionary," who is higher than the "son of man" L u Xun . I interpret the "son of man" as the awakened generation, including L u Xun , who lacked love in their life. In 1919 L u X u n wrote his famous essay "Random Thoughts 40" (Suigan lu M.$k^k 40), which is a commentary on a poem entitled "Love" by a young man unknown to him. In the poem the young man complains of the sorrow of his arranged marriage and the lack of love, saying: "Love, sadly, I don't know what you are!"76 The poem touched L u X u n greatly. Suffering from the same bitterness of an arranged marriage, he could not help but comment with an intense emotion: What is love? I don't know either. Most Chinese men and women just live in couples or in groups — when one man has several wives — so I don't know who does know. 7 3 Wei Junxiu J j J ^ , LuXunyecao tansuo, (Exploration of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1953, p. 91. 7 4 L i Helin ^{5J#, LuXun Yecao zhushi # i f i S J ^ 3 : f ? (Annotation and interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1973, p. 71. 7 5Sun Yushi # 3 £ 5 Yecaoyanjiu I J ^ S F ; ^ (WildGrass study), Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1982, p. 105. 7 6 Lu Xun, "Suigan lu 40" 40 (Random thoughts 40), LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 321. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 132 In the p a s t . . . the young men went to prostitutes, and the older men bought concubines. E a c h had ingenious devices to si lence his conscience, and no prob lem arose unt i l n o w . . . . Bu t n o w the east is l ight. . . . The son o f man is awake. H e knows there should be love among mank ind . H e knows what sins have been commit ted by the o ld and the young. So he feels distressed, and opens his mouth to make this cry. W o m e n are gui l ty o f no cr ime, yet at present they are sacr i f iced to custom. N o w that we have come to an awareness o f human moral i ty , our conscience w i l l not let us commi t the cr imes o f the young and the o ld , and we cannot b lame everything on women . W e ' l l just have to go a long w i th them and pay o f f a four thousand year debt. W e st i l l have to cry o f the sadness o f hav ing no love, the sadness o f hav ing noth ing to l ove . 7 7 B y contrast ing L u X u n ' s text to identi fy his o w n a l lus ion , the meaning o f the "son o f m a n " becomes clear. H e represents the awakened generation in general or L u X u n h imse l f in part icular. S ince he is awake, he knows that man should love and be loved. Bu t also because he is awake, he has "come to an awareness o f human moral i ty . " Therefore he can neither b lame w o m e n , who "are gui l ty o f no cr ime, " nor commi t the same cr imes as those young and o ld i n the past who v is i ted prostitutes or bought concubines. Th i s is the paradox o f the "son o f man . " In L u X u n ' s op in ion , what he can do is to sacr i f ice h imse l f and, together w i th the w o m e n , "to pay o f f a four thousand year debt." In "Revenge II," we see that L u X u n does not real ly want to present the re l ig ious story o f the c ruc i f i x ion o f the " S o n o f G o d , " but rather to imp l y the secular suffer ing o f the c o m m o n people — the "son o f man. " It was the tradit ional cus tom and soc ia l system that depr ived h i m o f the right o f love. Th is is a k i nd o f suffer ing dur ing his who le l i fe wi thout v is ib le b lood and audible moans. It has been expressed in "Revenge" as " a great b loodless slaughter." In "Revenge II" it is further v isua l i zed as a b loody c ruc i f i x ion . In short the p o e m embodies L u X u n ' s inv is ib le and inaudible mental agony at h is terrible mar i ta l l i fe in the Ibid., pp. 321-2, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 2, pp. 37-8. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A OF L O V E V E R S U S M O R A L I T Y 133 re l ig ious story o f the v is ib le and audible outrage o f the c ruc i f i x ion o f Jesus — L u sacr i f iced h imse l f for his mother's sake unt i l he met X u Guangp ing . " H o p e " In " H o p e " the first person persona compla ins : " M y heart is part icular ly lonely , " because there is no " love and hate, j o y and sadness, or co lor and sound . " 7 8 Therefore he resolves to seek "the youth" outside h i m by engaging in " a naked combat w i th the dark night o f empt iness." " E v e n i f I cannot find the youth outside me. I should throw away the feel ing o f o ld age inside m y body . " 7 9 H o w to interpret "the youth outside the body" (shenwai de qingchun, j l r^r f$ i=f becomes cruc ia l to understanding the theme o f " H o p e . " L i H e l i n asserts: ' "The youth outside the body perhaps refers to progressive opin ions and actions o f the contemporary young peop le . " 8 0 Sun Y u s h i holds a s imi la r op in ion , saying that "the youth outside the body" is "resistance and progress o f the young people," w h i c h have already become "an inseparable part o f L u X u n ' s l i fe . " 8 1 Th is sort o f interpretation seems to me too farfetched to be conv inc ing . I argue that "the youth outside the body" represents a poet ic ca l l o f the I persona for love and emot ional l i fe. In the poem we can find textual hints to support this argument. L u X u n wri tes: I know , o f course, that m y youth had departed. Bu t I thought that the youth outside me st i l l existed: stars and moonl ight , l imp fa l len butterf l ies, f lowers i n secret, the funereal omens o f the o w l , the weeping w i th b lood o f the night ingales, the vagueness o f laughter, the dance o f love . . . Bu t why is it n o w so lonely? Is it because even the youth outside me has departed? ™LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 177. 7 9Ibid., p. 178, Leo Ou-fan Lee's translation in Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 101. 8 0Wang Yao 3ES§ and Li Helin ${5J#, Zhongguo xiandai wenxue ji Yecao Gushi Xinbian de zhengming "f4 S MitX^'&M^-t^MW\Wi#J#-P4 (Modern Chinese literature and the debates on Wild Grass and Old Tales Retold), 1990, p. 117. 8 1Sun Yushi # T £ 5 , "Lu Xun Yecao chongshi IV" # f f lSf^f i# , PS (Re-interpretation of Wild Grass, IV), Lu Xunyanjiuyuekan WS^ifLft f J , 1996, no. 4, p. 39. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY I have to grapple alone w i th the dark night i n the empt iness: 134 Excep t for the " o w l , " w h i c h is a self-metaphor o f L u X u n , the stars, moonl ight , butterf l ies, f lowers, n ight ingales, laughter, and dance o f love are a l l common l y used images in love poetry. A l l the images represent "the youth" outside the I persona that he wants to seek. I f he acquires them, his lonel iness w i l l be cured. Furthermore, the reason for h i m to seek "the youth outside the body" is to change the situat ion i n w h i c h he has no " love and hate, j o y and sadness, or co lo r and sound" i n his heart. Judged by this, the love theme o f " H o p e " seems to be clear. Eve ry human being inherently needs love and has a right to seek love ; so does L u X u n . In the poem, the I persona feels that he is "g rowing o l d " and h is heart feels "part icular ly lonely . " H e needs love to moderate h is tr ibulat ions and sustain h i m for the rest o f his l i fe. " F o r once the youth outside me vanishes, m y o w n o ld age w i l l wi ther away . " 8 3 That the poem cal ls for v i ta l i ty and love can also be supported by some external evidence. The poem was wri t ten on the N e w Year 's day o f 1925. That day Sun Fuyuan inv i ted h i m to a dinner i n a restaurant. Excep t for L u X u n , a l l the s ix others present were young people, inc lud ing four young women . A f te r the dinner they went to a mov ie . L u X u n had an enjoyable day and wrote i n h is diary: "I didn't go home unt i l n ight . " 8 4 O n that night he wrote " H o p e . " H e might have been inspired to wri te this poem by the young people's l i fe style, their enthusiasm, and vi tal i ty. Seeing these young people, a compar ison w i th h is o w n l i fe wi thout love and warmth probably made h i m sorrowfu l . H i s sorrow is f igurat ively re-cast i n " H o p e . " LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 177, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 2, pp. 326-7. LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 178. L u Xun's diary of January 1, 1925, LXQJ, vol. 14, p. 529. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A O F L O V E V E R S U S M O R A L I T Y 135 The Japanese scholar Ka tayama T o m o y u k i points out that L u X u n had a c lose associat ion w i th young people at the t ime " H o p e " was wri t ten. In 1924 L u X u n gave lectures in B e i j i n g Un ivers i ty , Be i j i ng N o r m a l Un ivers i ty , Be i j i ng Women ' s N o r m a l Un ivers i t y , and Esperanto Co l lege in B e i j i n g . 8 5 H e guided and helped many young people to wri te l i terary works and to establ ish l iterary magazines. Based on L u Xun ' s diary, Ka tayama made a statistical study to demonstrate his associat ion w i th youth at that t ime. W i t h i n one month pr ior to the compos i t ion o f "Hope , " as many as seventy-f ive guests, most o f them young people, v is i ted L u X u n . 8 6 Ka tayama concludes that his associat ion w i th the young was a moment to arouse his courage to seek a new l i fe ; the young at that t ime were not d ispi r i ted but act ive; h is "part icular ly lonely fee l ing" was not der ived f rom "the spir i t lessness o f the young, " but came f rom "the aspect o f his o w n private l i f e . " 8 7 I consider Katayama's argument quite conv inc ing . L u X u n h imse l f said in 1932 that the reason he wrote " H o p e " was his surprise at "the spir i t lessness o f the young" at the t ime. 8 8 H i s explanat ion o f the genesis o f " H o p e " was made eight years later. H e might have been unable to remember exact ly his real creative intent ion or he might want to hide it by of fer ing such a pub l i c explanat ion. Furthermore, l i terary interpretation should be made on the ground o f reading and ana lyz ing the text itself. The author's o w n statement can be used as a reference, but it does not necessari ly lead to the exc lus ive theme o f the poem. I argue that it was under the inf luence o f the young people around h i m that he reflected his o w n feel ings o f lonel iness and depression. O n the first day o f 1925, L u X u n decided in the poem to seek "the youth outside the body" or love and reasonable l i fe. Th is is one theme o f the poem or h is one hope that is expressed in "Hope . " 85Although Lu Xun held a position in the Ministry of Education, he didn't have to stay in the office all day long and was able to give lectures in a variety of schools. This situation is described in his stories "Duanwu jie" tfttj^F T (The double fifth festival) and "Dixiong" J^JTL (Brothers). 8 6See Lu Xun's diary of December 1924, LXQJ, vol. 14, pp. 521-4. 87Katayama Tomoyuki J tUl ^ T T , 1991, pp. 77-9. 8 8 L u Xun, "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" Sf ^ ^ j t t ^ ^ f ? (A preface to the English edition of Yecao), LXQJ, vol. 4. p. 356. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 136 "The Good Story" (Hao de gushi, M r W ) 8 9 This poem was written on January 28, 1925. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, it was the fifth and also the last day of the Spring Festival season. People let off firecrackers to bid farewell to the New Year's holidays. In the poem, the I persona leans against the back of a chair and is surrounded by the explosive sounds of fire crackers on all sides as he falls into a beautiful dream. In the dream, he is sitting in a small boat traveling along a river in his hometown. On either bank there is beautiful natural scenery and the peaceful life in southern China. All the scenic splendors are reflected in the azure river. The I persona wants to stare more closely at them, but he wakes. He wants to catch the shattered reflections of the dream, but nothing is left. "The Good Story" is "pure fantasy; nothing of the sort could exist in a real world of unresolvable polarities," Leo Ou-fan Lee comments. "In a way, 'The Good Story' offers the only good dream in a nightmarish collection."90 On the superficial level, it may be said that the poem reveals Lu Xun's nostalgic passion for his childhood or his ideal country life. All the rural spectacles and idyllic life in his hometown are charming, lyrical, and rich in poetic flavor. In contrast with the impoverished and ignorant countryside displayed in his stories, the reader sees that the rural life in this poem has been deliberately idealized. It is bound to be scattered after the I persona wakes. In a more abstract sense the poem can be viewed as a reflection of Lu Xun's contradiction between dark reality and his ideal. In the 1990s, You Yang tried to decipher in the poem a repressed desire for love deep in Lu Xun's mind. He argues: This poem was published in Yusi no. 13, February 9, 1925. But it was originally dated February 24, 1925. The date is incorrect because it is later than the time of its publication. According to Lu Xun's diary of January 28, 1925, which records: "I wrote one piece of Wild Grass." The poem should be written on that day. 9 0 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 95. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A OF L O V E V E R S U S M O R A L I T Y 137 The theme o f the poem should perhaps be located i n a harmonious and beaut i ful love between a man and a w o m a n . The poem presents L u X u n ' s long ing for an ideal love dur ing the dark night o f his sad marr iage. 9 1 Y o u Y a n g provides some evidence to support his argument. Fi rst , he traces the impl ica t ion o f the key wo rd "good" (hao, i n the title. It consists o f two components — " w o m a n " (nil, ix.) and "gent leman" (zi, and can be connected w i th the concept ion o f heterosexual love. Secondly , L u X u n combines the spectacles both i n the sky and on the ground to achieve a great harmony o f nature: It was a love ly , charming, enthral l ing story. M a n y beaut i fu l people and beaut i fu l things ming led l ike a c loud tapestry in the sky, f l y ing past l ike a myr iad shoot ing stars, yet stretching out into inf in i ty. A b o v e the clear sky were countless beauti ful people and beaut i ful things. I saw them a l l , and I recognized them a l l . 9 2 A c c o r d i n g to ancient Ch inese ph i losophy, the harmony o f nature can be taken as a symbo l o f harmonious human l i fe. The sky is regarded as male (Yang, PB), and it pairs w i th the earth, w h i c h is regarded as female (Yin, The heaven covers and the earth bears. The heaven and the earth together are regarded as harmonious natural partners. L u X u n may be descr ib ing this natural partnership to al lude to a lov ing and generative mari ta l l i fe o f the human being. Th i rd ly , i n the poem the scenery in the sky is in terwoven w i th the scenery on the ground by the ref lect ion i n the water. Water catches the " f l i cker ing sunl ight" and the "sunl ight" fr inges the ref lect ions o f a l l the beauti ful images in the water w i th br ight ly spark l ing borders. " W i t h the blue sky in the water as a background, everything was 9 1 You Yang JCik, "Yecao: yige teshu xulie" Sf^: — #^$^ #1 (Wild Grass, a specific series), in LuXun yanjiuyuekan W$M$iR T*J (Lu Xun study monthly), 1993, no. 5, p. 22. 92LXQJ. vol. 2, pp. 185-6, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, pp. 333-4. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 13 8 intermingled, interwoven, even moving, even extending."9 3 In traditional Chinese culture, water also symbolizes Yin, the primeval female principle, while the sun strongly suggests Yang, the male power. Therefore Y o u Yang concludes that in the poem "Lu X u n is borrowing the Yin-Yang conception in traditional Chinese culture to symbolize harmonious and ideal love." 9 4 Y o u Yang's interpretation of "The Good Story" is unique in examining L u Xun's psyche for cravings for love at the moment when he felt sad about his marital life. I think Y o u Yang's interpretation is an acceptable one which can be convincingly supported by the textual evidence of the poem itself and becomes a link to establish the love theme of Wild Grass. Owing to its aesthetic and emotional values, "The Good Story" has been selected as a required reading item for middle school students in mainland China. It is among the most lyrical poems in Wild Grass. The poem is focused on neither narrating a complete "good story" nor depicting some impressive images. Instead, it may be said to retain most prominently some musical elements and the author's feelings, which are in concord with the musical elements. The main part of the poem, which consists of the I persona's beautiful dream, reads much like a piece of flowing music. So many colorful images from the white clouds, shooting stars, sunlight that darts out quick-silver flames in the sky to the azure stream, thatched cottages, pagodas, farmers and country women, and the fauna and flora of southern China successively appear in a few densely-worded stanzas. Each image is presented like a note in the flowing music. A l l the images in these stanzas are not static and isolated. Instead, they are organically interwoven into a vivid, integral motion picture. Furthermore, the reader cannot distinctly tell i f these numerous images in the picture are seen by the I 9Tbid., p. 186 and p. 334. 9 4 You Yang "Yecao; yige teshu xulie" i f ^ : —^^WrTM (WildGrass, a specific series), in LuXun yanjiuyuekan # i f i i j l r ;H^ f J (Lu Xun study monthly), 1993, no. 5, p. 21. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A OF L O V E VERSUS M O R A L I T Y 139 persona or created in the author's imagination. Therefore the whole picture of rural life is endowed with an identifiable Utopian nature. Structurally the poem is characterized by the music-like duplication of its motif. The longest two stanzas convey almost the same content, with only slight adjustments in diction and expression. Again, the fourth and the eighth stanzas are also quite similar in aspects of structure and content. Lu Xun comments directly in either stanza, saying twice that "It was a lovely, charming, enthralling story. Many beautiful people and beautiful things mingled like a cloud tapestry in the sky."95 These duplications work like musical chants, by which he aims to highlight the beautiful nature of his "good story." "The Good Story" was written shortly after "Hope" and in my opinion it has retrieved the same theme — desire for vitality and love. It is one of the most oblique pieces in Wild Grass, in which Lu Xun created a text involving his deep inner feeling as the major stanza-paragraphs of the poem. Thus its most obscure theme has not been recognized by many critics. Lu Xun's surface nostalgia and deeper longing for vitality and love serve as two motifs — one explicit and one implicit — to weave lyricism into this prose poem. Finally, and more importantly, "The Good Story" conveys his emotional state of satisfaction at the moment he was craving an ideal future, though this satisfaction is only expressed as the I persona's imaginative apprehension: "In the blue sky there are countless beautiful people and beautiful things. I see them all, and I recognize them all."9 6 Lu Xun's satisfied state of mind is rarely seen in Wild Grass. Besides in "The Good Story," a transient satisfaction appears only in "Dead Fire" after the protagonist first fulfills his desire by obtaining "dead fire," a symbol of vitality and love. 'LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 185, the Yangs" translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 333. 'Ibid., p. 186, and p. 334. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 140 "The Passerby" In this poet ic drama L u X u n portrays a passerby, who is exhausted on a journey but st i l l strives stubbornly toward his dest inat ion, as a se l f -symbol to demonstrate h is w i l l to l i fe. The passerby comes across an o ld man by the road. H e confesses to h i m in a strange paragraph, w h i c h at f irst sight seems to deviate f rom the theme and plot o f the drama. W h e n the passerby hesitates to accept the gir l 's c lo th as a lms, he says: I f I were to receive a lms, I w o u l d be l i ke a vulture catching sight o f a corpse and hover ing overhead, long ing to see her destruct ion w i th m y o w n eyes. O r I might curse everything except her to destruct ion, myse l f inc luded, for I myse l f deserve it. Bu t I'm not yet strong enough for that. E v e n i f I were, I wouldn' t want her to come to such an end, because such an end is one they most ly d i s l i ke . 9 7 Th is paragraph is the most chal lenging passage in the drama or perhaps in the who le co l lec t ion to Wild Grass cr i t ics. W h o is "she" (to, M) , whose destruct ion the passerby is long ing to see? W h o are "they" (tamen, #iMH, p lura l for females in the Ch inese or ig inal ) , who most ly d is l i ke the result o f "her destruct ion"? What is the relat ionship between the passerby and them? W h y does the passerby hate "her" and care for " them"? L i H e l i n interprets "she" as the litt le g i r l who offers the alms to the passerby. The reason that the passerby yearns for "her destruct ion" is that he wants to "extricate her f rom l i v i ng a meaningless l i fe l i ke a l i fe less corpse in the o ld society and f rom suffer ing oppression in the o ld society." "They " refer to "the younger generat ion," says L i H e l i n . "S ince they don't want to be destroyed, [the author] then lets them l ive on in pa in . " 9 8 S im i l a r to L i H e l i n , Sun Y u s h i interprets "she" as "those w h o are concerned about L u X u n or love h i m . " The reason L u X u n curses them to destruct ion is that he "doesn't want to see them swa l lowed and eaten by the dark society." H e adds: " L u X u n doesn't want to see his o w n 9 1 LXQJ. vol. 2, p. 192, and the Yangs' translation is in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 340. 9 8 L i Helin ${6J$s LuXun Yecao zhushi # i f i i f ^ ^ E p (Annotation and interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1973, pp. 123-4. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 141 foes gloat over the fai lures that he h imse l f and those related to h i m are suffer ing. Th i s is one aspect o f his ph i losophy o f l i f e . " 9 9 In Sun Yush i ' s interpretation, he s imp ly ident i f ies the passerby w i th L u X u n . I find it hard to agree w i th L i He l in ' s and Sun Yush i ' s interpretations. L u X u n is k n o w n as a great humanist ic wri ter, w h o once cr ied out "save the ch i ld ren" i n his famous story "D ia ry o f a M a d m a n " (Kuangren riji, f E A B iS). H o w and why w o u l d he curse to destruct ion those he loved , or those who loved h i m , or the new generation? " S h e " should not be the l i t t le g i r l , but someone the passerby hates. The relat ionship between the passerby and "she" should be s imi lar to that between the "vul ture" and the "corpse" as shown i n the text. A careful examinat ion w i l l d iscover that the "vul ture" is another se l f -symbol . L u X u n l i ked to use "vul ture" and the l ike as his pen-names, among w h i c h we can find Sun a k i nd o f eagle), W e n g s u n (m^, o l d eagle), and L i n g f e i make it f ly) . L u X u n , his ch ie f pen-name, is also related to "vul ture." A c c o r d i n g to h imsel f , " X u n (i lL) is X i n ("-'ft), w h i c h is actual ly short for Sun eag le) . " 1 0 0 One o f L u X u n ' s pen-names is L i i Sun (J j fe^) , w h i c h means " t ravel ing eagle" and is actual ly a phonet ic var iat ion o f L u X u n . X u Guangp ing once exp la ined his pen-names related to eagles, saying: "The nature o f the eagle is impetuous. The eagle is a self-metaphor o f L u X u n . " 1 0 1 Af te r ident i fy ing the "vul ture" as L u Xun ' s self-metaphor, it becomes more incredib le to interpret the l i tt le g i r l as the ambiguous "she" or the "corpse," w h i c h the passerby or the "vul ture" wants to destroy. L u X u n w o u l d not ca l l a k i nd and naive g i r l w h o sincerely helps others a "corpse" and wou ld not curse her to destruct ion. The text indicates that the passerby "Sun Yushi #55 , "Lu Xun Yecao chongshi VI" #ififf^JI#, 7N (Re-interpretation of Wild Grass, VI), Lu Xunyanjiuyuekan #ifi7ijf^2il fj, 1996, no. 6, p. 27. , 0 0 L u Xun, a letterto ^ g ] § (jl|,S,) dated August 17, 1927, LXQJ, vol. 11, p.572. Lu Xun's remark is according to Xu Shen i^fjl's Shuowen jiezi ift XM^- (Analytic dictionary of characters), in which an entry reads:" fl, J^TSik, fl^t, ...iljflii" (,'ft means flying fast,... fl is short for ^ , . . . but ifl is more commonly used). See i&XM'rXliE, annotated by Gui Fu HU, Zhonghua shuju, 1987, vol. 2, p. 1028. 1 0 1 X u Ganging VffW; "Lue tan Lu Xun xiansheng de biming" B ^ i ^ f f i T f e ^ W ^ (Briefly talking about Mr. Lu Xun's pennames), Xu Guangpingyi Lu Xun i^r"^'|Z#2!! (Remembering Lu Xun by Xu Guangping), Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1979, p. 93. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 142 and "she" are never fr iends but emot ional foes. They cannot exist together emot ional ly . " S h e " cou ld not be those w h o m L u X u n loved , and L u X u n ' s feel ings towards "her" were not " l ove " as some scholars argued, but hatred, w h i c h accounts for the passerby's curse on "her." In order to understand who "she" real ly refers to, I examine L u X u n ' s o w n remarks about this paragraph. Short ly after "The Passerby" was pub l ished, L u X u n and X u Guangp ing ment ioned it i n their letters, w h i c h became the earliest documentat ion that invo lves Wild Grass. The topic was ini t iated by X u Guangp ing , who to ld L u X u n that her father and brother were dead and thus she l i ked to curse those who were the same ages as her father and brother and st i l l a l i ve . 1 0 2 In reply, L u X u n wrote: Bu t I am just the opposite. If the person related to me is a l ive , I cannot feel comfor table; [ i f the person] dies, I w i l l feel at ease. These ideas have also been expressed in "The Passerby." B o t h are different f rom yours . 1 0 3 X u Guangp ing certainly understood to w h o m the person related to L u X u n refers. In her reply she wrote: "I don't care about it. 'If the person is a l ive , I cannot feel comfortable ' means feel ing uncomfortable about that ind iv idua l . The category is an ind iv idua l . '[If the person] dies, I w i l l feel at ease' also means at ease about the i nd i v i dua l . " 1 0 4 In her letter X u Guangp ing wanted to persuade L u X u n not to become a v i c t i m o f convent ional moral i ty on ly for the sake o f "an ind iv idua l , " that is Z h u A n . She also expressed this op in ion more exp l ic i t l y i n some later letters, saying " W h y should we obey the o ld society and sacr i f ice several people for on ly one person?" In her op in ion L u X u n should not be so anxious about Z h u A n , " i f that person's l i fe can be suppor ted." 1 0 5 , 0 2 X u Guangping, a letter to Lu Xun dated May 27, 1925, in Liangdishu yuanxin Mi&45Mfg (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying WM^: ed , 1984, p. 66. 1 0 3 Lu Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated May 30, 1925, ib id, p. 69. 1 0 4 X u Guangping, a letter to Lu Xun dated June 1, 1925, ib id, p. 71. 1 0 5 X u Guangping, a letter to Lu Xun dated November 22, 1926, ib id, p. 242. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 143 F r o m these private letters L u X u n ' s ideas i n "The Passerby" seem to be clear i n the sense that "she," w h o m the passerby hates and curses to death, refers to Z h u A n , who had become an obstacle i n L u Xun ' s way when he wanted to accept love f rom another w o m a n and to start a new l i fe. A l t h o u g h L u X u n was aware that " w o m e n are gui l ty o f no c r ime , " 1 0 6 he was unable to overcome the feel ing o f hate for Z h u A n that occas iona l ly occurred in his deep m ind . A s S igmund Freud once said: "The ego hates, abhors, and pursues w i th intent to destroy a l l objects wh i ch are for it a source o f pa in fu l feel ings, wi thout tak ing into account whether they mean to it frustration o f sexual sat isfact ion or o f grat i f icat ion o f the needs o f se l f -preservat ion." 1 0 7 The feel ing indirect ly f inds its way in this poet ic drama. That is w h y the passerby is long ing to see the vague female's destruct ion w i th h is o w n eyes, i f we v i e w h i m as a self-portrait o f L u X u n as most scholars do. Whenever L u X u n longed for h is wi fe 's destruct ion, immedia te ly he felt gui l ty. The sense o f moral i ty made L u X u n move to condemn himsel f : " O r I might curse everything except her to destruct ion, myse l f inc luded, for I myse l f deserve it." It was on ly L u X u n ' s depressed desire to curse his w i fe to destruct ion. Ac tua l l y he cou ld not practice it. H e h imse l f was c lear ly consc ious o f this point. H e let the passerby cont inue to say i n the drama: "Bu t I'm not yet strong enough for that (her destruction). E v e n i f I were, I wouldn' t want her to come to such an end, because such an end is one they most ly d is l i ke . " I bel ieve that "they," p lura l for females in the Chinese or ig ina l , refers to L u X u n ' s mother and X u Guangp ing . B o t h were c lose ly related to h i m and concerned about h i m the most, as he once acknowledged: "Those who have compass ion for me are on ly two people: m y mother and a f r iend (referring to X u Guangp ing ) . " 1 0 8 In h is act ions, L u X u n had to show careful considerat ion for them. They o f course w o u l d be unw i l l i ng to see a wretched , 0 6 L u Xun, "Suigan lu 40" MBM 40 (Random thoughts 40), LXQJ. vol. 1, p. 188. 1 0 7Sigmund Freud, Instinct and Their Vicissitudes, in Great Treasury of Western Thought, Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Yan Doren ed. New York: R. R. Bowker C o , 1977, p. 219. 1 0 8 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping itrT'sTt dated November 15, 1926, in Liangdishu yuanxin Milfe+JJ^fg (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying JSIfSHg- ed, 1984, p. 223. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A OF L O V E VERSUS M O R A L I T Y 144 outcome for Zhu An. Therefore it is not plausible to view "them" as the new generation as L i Helin argued. One simple reason is that Lu Xun would not use a pronoun for females to refer to the whole of the new generation. After the most challenging paragraph becomes understandable, it is possible to further explore the most hidden theme of the poetic drama. One scholar argues that it "perhaps partially and indirectly expresses his psychology of love. The cloth that the little girl offers to the passerby symbolizes love. The passerby first accepts it, but he asks her to take it back after careful consideration, because it would become a heavy emotional burden on his shoulders and then the passerby would be unable to walk anymore."109 This argument seems acceptable because some textual evidence can be found to support it. When the passerby hesitates to accept the little girl's cloth, he says: "But how am I to walk when carrying this on my shoulders?"110 In his mind, the cloth is too heavy to carry. According to the context, to view it as a symbol of "love" or, in Lu Xun's case, "a heavy emotional burden" is convincing. The love theme of "The Passerby" and the symbolic meaning of love incorporated in the cloth were actually confessed by Lu Xun himself in a private letter written around one month after "The Passerby" was published. He writes: The meaning of "The Passerby" is only as you said in your letter; that is, even if the passerby clearly knows there are tombs on the road ahead, he still wants to go. That is to resist despair. . . . But this resistance is liable to fail in "love," including gratitude. Therefore after he obtains the alms of one piece of worn-out cloth from the little girl, the passerby is almost unable to keep on going.1" The last point that we should bear in mind is that readers finally don't know if the passerby has accepted the cloth or not. This ambiguity reflects the contradictory psyche of Lu 1 0 9 You Yang X * , "Yecao: yige teshu xulie" If^: — -f-ffiffirf M (WildGrass, a specific series), in LuXun yanjiuyuekan ^ i f i f f ^ TU (Lu Xun Study monthly), 1993, no. 5, p. 22. mLXQJ.\o\.2,p. 193. u l L u Xun, A letter to Zhao Qiwen dated April 11, 1925, in LXQJ, vol. 11, p. 442. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 145 X u n at that t ime, who h imse l f never knew what the result o f h is seeking love w o u l d be, because the poet ic drama was wri t ten at the very beginn ing o f his romant ic invo lvement w i th X u Guangp ing . O n M a r c h 11, 1925, nine days after L u X u n wrote "The Passerby," he received X u Guangping 's first letter. A t that t ime X u Guangp ing was twenty-four years o ld and had k n o w n L u X u n for one and a ha l f years since she became his student i n September 1923. L i k e L u X u n , she had also exper ienced a sad arranged marr iage. W h e n she was three days o ld , at a banquet where her father got drunk, he arranged an indiscreet engagement for her to a loca l squire's son. A s she grew up, X u Guangp ing hersel f never agreed to the engagement. A l t hough her father felt regret afterward, he didn't want to abol ish it i n order not to be denounced for breaking a promise. The engagement was mainta ined unt i l 1917, when , w i t h her elder brother's he lp , X u Guangp ing managed to abol ish it by buy ing a concubine for the squire's son as compensat ion. A n d then she went to T ian j in and later Be i j i ng to s tudy . " 2 In classes she showed her interest i n and admirat ion for her teacher L u X u n . E v e r y t ime she attended his lecture, she sat i n the first row. Somet imes she covert ly drew his portraits i n the c lassroom, and somet imes she even asked L u X u n such personal quest ion as " W h y do you dress so b a d l y ? " 1 1 3 In her first letter to h i m , she wri tes: " A n g u i s h . . . a lways v is i ts me without invi tat ion and does not leave even when I urge it to. Professor, is there any way to add some sugar to this bitter med ic ine? I f there is some sugar, w i l l it absolutely not taste bitter? Professor! C o u l d you please give me a sincere and clear guide? . . . I f you are able to save a sou l , please save it! Professor! H e (referring to herself) is extremely eager to be 1 1 2Chen Shuyu |^ S\?ir, Xu Guangping deyisheng idT^W—4 (The life of Xu Guangping), Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1981, p. 6. U3Xu Guangpingyi LuXun i^r^^tZdtt-iB (Remembering Lu Xun by Xu Guangping), Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1979, p. 469. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY s a v e d ! " 1 1 4 The letter can almost be regarded as an imp l ic i t statement o f love to L u X u n . F r o m then on X u Guangp ing entered L u Xun ' s l i fe. 146 " D e a d F i re " O n A p r i l 23 , 1925, that was s ix weeks after L u X u n received X u Guangping 's first letter, he wrote "Dead F i re . " It takes the fo rm o f a d ia logue between the I persona and the f igure o f the "dead f i re." W h e n the I persona encounters the "dead fire" i n a va l ley o f ice , he wakens it, w h i c h is about to ext inguish due to the f reezing co ld , w i th his o w n body's warmth. In the 1980s, a ma in land Chinese scholar first tr ied to interpret "Dead F i re " by associat ing it w i th L u X u n and X u Guangping 's love. H e says: "The environment o f the i cy mounta in and the va l ley o f ice is a poet ic ized indicat ion o f L u X u n ' s ascetic l i fe and lone ly spir i tual wor ld . The re-k ind l ing o f the 'dead fire' at the t ime o f obta in ing 'warmth' symbo l izes the instant rev iva l due to an external st imulus o f L u Xun ' s emot ions that were repressed by the o ld tradit ion and consciousness. Th is poem was wri t ten just at the beginn ing o f L u X u n ' s exchange o f letters w i th X u G u a n g p i n g . " 1 1 5 Th is argument was immediate ly refuted by a senior scholar, who cr i t i c ized it for be ing "farfetched." A n d in his op in ion the "dead fire" is s imp ly a "symbo l o f the revolut ionary sp i r i t . " " 6 In the 1990s, Y o u Y a n g , another main land Ch inese scholar, argued again that i n the poem " L u Xun ' s long ing for love that has been f rozen for many years starts to revive w i th the warmth o f X u Guangping 's ardent and sincere l o v e . " " 7 1 1 4 X u Guangping, a letter to Lu Xun dated March 11, 1925, Liangdishu yuanxin Mft fe^i^fg (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying ffifa^ ed., p. 3. "5Quoted from Xi Jin H ^ , "Guanyu sihuo he Lu Xun yu Xu Guangping de aiqing" ^ ^ ? E A f f l # i l - ^ iT -p T W S f f (About "Dead Fire" and love between Lu Xun and Xu Guangping), Changchun shiyuan xuebao (Journal of Changchun Normal College), 1986, no. 3, p. 1. " 6 ib id ,p . 8. l l 7 Y o u Yang X^, "Yecao; yige teshu xulie" Sf^ : —"f-^^f-rJ-M (Wild Grass, a specific series), in LuXun yanjiuyuekan # i f i5 i f5^^ f j (Lu Xun study monthly), 1993, no. 5, p. 23. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 147 I agree w i t h this v i e w and regard " D e a d F i re " as one o f the most important poems that reveal the love theme o f Wild Grass. In the poem, L u X u n uses a "he" to refer to the "dead f i re," but I prefer to interpret it as a metaphor for X u Guangp ing . In their letters L u X u n usual ly addresses X u Guangp ing as "brother" and X u Guangp ing also frequently uses "he" as a reference to herse l f . " 8 Therefore I substitute a "she" for the or ig ina l "he" i n the Yangs ' translat ion i n order to make the meaning o f the poem more ident i f iable. " A h , f r iend ! " she said, " Y o u awoke me w i th your warmth ! " "I was abandoned i n the va l ley o f ice by a m a n , . . . The man w h o abandoned me had already per ished and vanished. A n d I was near ly f rozen to death. I f you had not warmed me and made me burn again, before long I w o u l d per ish . " (She said.) "I am glad you have woken . I was just wonder ing h o w to leave this va l ley o f ice , and I w o u l d l i ke to take you w i th me so that you may never be f rozen but go on burn ing forever." " A l a s ! Then I w i l l burn out." (She said.) "I shou ld be sorry i f you were to burn out. I had better leave you here." " A l a s ! Then I w i l l freeze to death." "Wha t is to be done then?" "Wha t w i l l you do yourse l f?" she countered. " A s I to ld you , I w i l l leave this va l ley o f i ce . " "If so, I w o u l d l i ke to burn out !" (She sa id . ) " 9 What wakes the "dead f i re" is "warmth" (wenre, M.$t), and since "warmth" is summar ized i n "Revenge" as a decis ive element i n the arousal o f love , we can assume that "Dead F i re " also invo lves a love affair. In the winter o f 1923 X u Guangp ing contracted scarlet fever. She surv ived it but her boyfr iend L i X i a o h u i d ied f rom the same disease. H e was infected wh i le v is i t ing and tak ing care o f her. Th is misfor tune brought her great agony. "8See Lu Xun and Jingsun jft^ c (Xu Guangping Wr^f), Liangdishuyuanxin Wli&^Mitl (The originals of The Letters From Two Places). n9LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 196, and the Yangs' translation is in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 343. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 148 She wrote a reminiscence in memory of him eighteen years later, saying that her lover's death "destroyed a virgin's chaste heart, which has never revived."120 Xu Guangping's sorrowful experience of love seems to be metaphorically recapitulated as the abandoned "dead fire" in the valley of ice. In a sense her love with Lu Xun was partially established on the grounds of mutual sympathy. This point is also demonstrated in the poem. The I persona promises to bring the "dead fire" out of the valley of ice, because he himself wants to leave the valley. Having hesitated for a while, the "dead fire" agrees to leave with him and sacrifice for him: "If so, I would like to burn out!" No sooner have they left the valley of ice, than the I persona is knocked down and killed by a big stone cart. This seemingly non-logical consequence implies that he is the first to deserve destruction, because he accepted the "dead fire." This implication is also revealed in "The Passerby." The passerby thinks that he himself should be cursed to destruction, if he accepts the little girl's alms. Even though the I persona is destined to die, he still feels happy to have obtained the "dead fire." "Aha! . . . Dead fire, now I am the first to attain you!"121 Judging from "the first," we know someone else also wanted to attain the "dead fire." He was Gao Changhong, Lu Xun's student, who once exchanged several letters with Xu Guangping in the first half of 1925 and fell in love with her. Later when he knew of her relationship with Lu Xun, he wrote a poem "To —" (Gei —, in —) in 1926 to attack Lu Xun. In it he compares Lu Xun to "the dark night," Xu Guangping to "the moon," and himself to "the sun." He implies that the dark night has stolen the moon.122 1 2 0Jing Song f ; ^ (Xu Guangping, "Xinnian" § r ¥ (New year), in Shanghai funii ±Wi3lt (Shanghai women), vol. 4, issue 2, January 10, 1940. Also see Chen Shuyu $fc$fttil, Xu Guangping deyisheng iTT^^Pfr-J — 4 (The life of Xu Guangping), Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1981, p. 30. U]LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 196. , 2 2 L i n Zhihao LuXun Zhuan #ifi# (Lu Xun's biography), Beijing: Shiyue wenyi chubanshe, 1991, pp. 289-303. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 149 Lu Xun was aware of Gao Changhong's offensive from Wei Suyuan (^MM), who wrote Lu Xun a letter telling him about this. At that time Lu Xun had already moved to Xiamen. Lu Xun was certainly able to guess the reason of Gao's offensive. In his reply to Wei Suyuan, he says: "In Beijing Changhong perhaps had many plans about Xu Guangping, but they fell through, and so he suspected that I had been creating difficulties in the affair."123 Immediately Lu Xun wrote the story "Flight to the Moon" (Benyue, ) in the autumn of the same year. In the story Lu Xun created a character Fengmeng (iHlS), who studies from his teacher but later betrays him, as an oblique counterattack on Gao Changhong.124 The line "Aha! . . . Dead fire, now I am the first to have you!" betrays Lu Xun's excitement at obtaining love for the first time in his life and being the winner in a romantic competition. During a short period of forty days between Lu Xun receiving Xu Guangping's first letter and writing "Dead Fire," they exchanged fifteen letters and Xu Guangping also started visiting Lu Xun. Lu Xun then seemed to be fairly confident in and satisfied with this romantic affair. Leo Ou-fan Lee once made a brief comparison between "Shadow's Leave-Taking" and "Dead Fire." He points out: "If'Shadow's Leave-Taking' inclines toward pessimistic nihilism, another piece, 'Dead Fire,' casts his internal conflict in a slightly more positive light."125 It is really important to note the different meanings and effects between these two poems. A proper comparison may be greatly beneficial to a better understanding of them and the love theme of Wild Grass. First of all, "Shadow" is in the form of a monologue, in which the I persona speaks out against his "friend." The "friend" is absent in the poem and there is actually no emotional communication between them. By contrast "Dead Fire" is a dialogue between the I persona 1 2 3 Lu Xun, a letter to Wei Suyuan ^MWi dated December 29, 1926, LXQJ, vol. 11, p. 519. l 2 4 Wang Yao JESs and Li Helin $ f5 f# , Zhongguo xiandai wenxue ji Yecao Gushi Xinbian de zhengming ^WiW\\%^'&W^tyMW^^% (Modern Chinese literature and the debates on Wild Grass and Old Tales Retold), Shanghai: Zhishi chubanshe, 1990, p. 159. , 2 5 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 99. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 150 and the "dead fire." B o t h o f them are active protagonists in the poem and they, l i ke the date tree and the plant bearing smal l p ink f lowers i n " A u t u m N igh t , " are among a few pairs o f characters who can understand each other in the Wild Grass poems. Second ly , i n both poems the protagonists use the direct address " f r iend" to ca l l their counterparts. The "shadow" b ids farewel l to h is f r iend: "F r i end , I'll no longer f o l l ow you , " wh i le the "dead fire" shouts out the j o y o f her rev iva l : " A h , F r i end ! Y o u woke me w i th your warmth ! " The feel ings contained in these two addresses are total ly different: one is sad and the other is j oy fu l . Th i rd l y , the I persona in " S h a d o w " wants to leave the environment that he d is l i kes , wh i le in "Dead F i r e " the I persona and the "dead fire" succeed in their escape f rom the envi ronment that they d is l ike. Four th ly , both poems have relat ively un i fo rm rhymes. I f rewrit ten in broken l ines, they w o u l d read m u c h l i ke new style poems. L u X u n employs the melancho l ic " i , " " i n , " and " i ng " rhymes to bu i ld a g loomy tonal i ty in "Shadow, " wh i le i n " D e a d F i r e " the most resounding rhymes " a , " " a i , " "an , " and "ang" are chosen to achieve a posi t ive phonet ic effect. A l l these formal characterist ics meet the demands o f the different thematic s ign i f icance o f these two poems. F r o m " S h a d o w " to "Dead F i re , " L u X u n seems to have accompl ished an essential shift in l i fe f rom lack ing love to securing love. Therefore I consider that " D e a d F i r e " marks a turning point i n the Wild Grass co l lec t ion. Poems preceding and f o l l ow ing it manifest different characterist ics. I shal l provide an analysis o f their dif ferences in the summary to this chapter. "Tombstone Inscr ipt ions" (Muiiewen, MM ~3Q In this poem the first person narrator tel ls a bizarre story about a serpent-ghost that he reads about from the inscr ipt ion on an eroded tombstone: CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 151 Once there was a lost soul who was metamorphosed into a serpent with poisonous fangs. He did not bite other creatures, but he gnawed into his own body until he succumbed... "Stay away! . . ." I 2 6 In doubt and horror, he goes around behind the tombstone and sees the faded inscription on its reverse side: He plucked out his own heart and ate it; he wanted to find out its original taste. The pain was severe; how could he find out its original taste? The agony subsided and now he could enjoy the repast with more leisure. But the heart has already become stale; how could its original taste be known? "Answer me, or stay away! . . ."127 Leo Ou-fan Lee asserts that the poem is "definitely the most macabre and ghostly poem in Wild Grass, and perhaps in all of modern Chinese literature as well."128 Tsi-an Hsia offers an explanation about the theme of the poem: The theme is a variation on that of cannibalism in the "Diary of a Madman," which is often read as an indictment of the "man-eating" old social system. But the imagined fear of the Diary is here turned into the quasi-reality of a nightmare. The conflict between the oppressive social force and its deluded victim of the short story is here reduced to a simple, but no less terrible, act of self-destruction.129 From an ideological perspective, Tsi-an Hsia considers that the poem extends the theme of cannibalism in Lu Xun's story "Diary of a Madman." But he also points out that the body in the tomb died of "self-destruction." He seems to stress the role of the "soul," which cannot be lost because it is important "in the general enthusiasm for social reform."130 Leo Ou-fan offers another point of view: LXQJ, vol. 2, pp. 202-3, T. A. Hsia's translation in The Gate of Darkness, p. 151. l 2 7Ibid., p. 203, T. A. Hsia's translation in The Gate of Darkness, p. 151. 1 2 8 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987, p. 109. l 2 9Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1968, p. 151. 1 3 0Ibid.,p. 151. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 152 Inscr ibed i n this imaginary epitaph, dedicated to that strange incarnat ion o f the martyr spiri t that takes revenge by in f l i c t ing pa in upon h imsel f , is the message o f a final insoluble paradox: n o w that he is dead, how can he ever find out the meaning o f h is l i fe and his sac r i f i ce? 1 3 1 Lee Ou- fan Lee sees in the poem "the martyr spir i t" and " a final insoluble paradox" fac ing L u X u n , who is f ina l ly unable to find out "the meaning o f h is l i fe and his sacr i f ice." I shal l attempt to construct an alternative interpretation f rom the perspect ive o f L u Xun ' s personal l i fe and psyche. I take the poem as an mora l explorat ion o f h is o w n feel ings. M a n y scholars i n ma in land C h i n a agree that a spir i t o f L u X u n ' s "sel f -anatomy" is embedded in the p o e m . 1 3 2 A Western scholar Char les A l b e r also declares: "The wander ing spirit ("the lost sou l " i n Hs ia 's translat ion), I be l ieve, is the poet's o w n spir i t ; the corpse, h is o w n corpse. A n d the epigraph, wri t ten on both faces o f the tombstone, is one that the poet has wr i t ten for h imse l f . " 1 3 3 I f the arguments c i ted above are acceptable, the premise o f m y interpretation to v i e w the dead man i n the tomb as L u X u n ' s persona is tenable. The textual evidence also supports this point. In a g loomy and astonishing scene, the I narrator sees a body i n the tomb through a b i g crack: " B o t h his chest and be l ly are broken. Inside there are no heart and l iver. Bu t his face never shows sad or happy express ion . " 1 3 4 The body's fac ia l expression wi thout sadness or happiness is the same as that o f the I persona i n " H o p e , " who also has "no sadness and happiness" i n his heart. The "wander ing sou l , " that the protagonist used to be, is easi ly reminiscent o f the wander ing passerby and other beggar images i n the Wild Grass poems. The " isolated tomb" also reminds the reader o f the passerby's dest inat ion o f tombs. The death o f the protagonist makes it possib le to associate this piece w i th " D e a d F i re , " i n w h i c h the I 1 3 1 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 109. 1 3 2 A footnote for "Tombstone Inscriptions," in LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 203. 1 3 3Charles Alber, "Wild Grass, Symmetry and Parallelism in Lu Hsun's Prose Poems," Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, 1976, p. 14. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 202. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 153 persona also dies. So it seems reasonable to v i e w the dead man as a l ink in the series o f L u X u n ' s se l f -symbols. Inside the body, "there is no heart and l iver ." O n the superf ic ia l leve l this is because he destroyed his o w n heart. Bu t on a deeper leve l , the descr ipt ion seems to me also a pun that L u X u n del iberately conceives for h is mora l ref lect ion. In Ch inese , "hav ing no heart and l i ver " (wuxingan, ^G^L>If) is a f igurat ive expression that means hav ing no consc ience. 1 3 5 Thus , that there is no heart and l iver inside the body can be interpreted to mean that the protagonist has no mora l conscience. The reader may understand this pun by associat ing it w i th " D e a d F i re . " In " D e a d F i re , " after the I persona obtains the "dead fire," he dies. In "Tombstone Inscript ions," after the protagonist dies, he loses his "heart and l iver" or his mora l conscience. These descript ions indicate that the deeper L u X u n became romant ica l ly invo lved w i th X u Guangp ing , the more he felt gui l ty to Z h u A n and the more severely he condemned himsel f . Therefore the protagonist's act o f p luck ing out h is heart and eating it i n order to find out its or ig ina l taste can be v iewed as a metaphor o f L u X u n ' s self-condemnat ion. A c c o r d i n g to some scholars' research, L u X u n and X u Guangp ing eventual ly consummated their love i n June 1925. 1 3 6 Th is conc lus ion is reasonable. "Tombstone Inscr ipt ions" was wri t ten that June. The i r letters wri t ten i n June and Ju ly read more and more l i ke love letters than letters between a teacher and a student. B y the end o f Ju ly , L u X u n wrote: "It's a lways ra in ing. H o w is your embroidered shirt? W h e n the weather clears, hurry up and dry it i n the sun. B e sure to do it! B e sure to do i t ! " 1 3 7 1 3 5In Nanshi • Chenhouzhu ji It? j£ • ($Ua ± £ 5 (A history of the Southern Dynasty, the biography of Chenhouzhu), there is a record: "Shubao quanwu xingan" MS.^l^t'L-M' (Shubao entirely has no conscience). See Ci hai WM (Vocabulary sea), Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1979, p. 1589. 1 3 6Wang Dehou 3E#/5', Liangdishuyanjiu Miffcd^W^S (A study of The Letters between Two Places), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1982, p. 324; and You Yang 3C&, "Yecao; yige teshu xulie" S f ^ : —tWWrf M (Wild Grass, a specific series), in Lu Xun yanjiu yuekan f J (Lu Xun Study monthly), 1993, no. 5, p. 23. 1 3 7 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated July 29, 1925, Liangdishu yuanxin Mitfei^i^fi" (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), 1984, p. 105. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 154 L u X u n ' s words suggest that they had a sexual relat ionship dur ing this per iod. The above letter is the last one wri t ten between them wh i le they were both in Be i j i ng . F o r a per iod o f more than one year after that, they wrote no letters to each other unt i l Augus t 1926 when they left Be i j i ng together for different cit ies i n the south. D u r i n g that per iod it seems that they d id not need to communicate by means o f letters anymore since their relat ionship o f love had become firm. X u Guangp ing v is i ted L u X u n more frequently i n the summer o f 1925, and they somet imes went out together. Z h u A n wi tnessed a l l this, but she couldn' t intervene in their affair or even say a word . She was among the few w h o didn't show surprise at L u and X u ' s cohabitat ion in Shanghai that gradual ly became pub l i c by the end o f the 1920s or at the beginn ing o f the 1930s. "I expected that long ago," she said to her neighbor Y u Fang . " Y o u saw h o w they went out together . . . " 1 3 8 W h e n L u X u n enjoyed the pleasure o f love brought h i m by X u Guangp ing , he was certainly able to perceive Z h u A n ' s mental pa in . H e h imse l f suffered greatly f rom a gui l ty conscience. In the N e w Cul ture Movemen t , he passionately advocated a new moral i ty based on human ism. H e wrote i n an essay: "Mora l i t y must be popu lar ized. Everybody should practice and can practice it. O n l y when moral i ty is benef ic ia l to both se l f and others, is it wor th keep ing . " 1 3 9 Bu t n o w he pa in fu l ly real ized that such modern mora l i ty as he meant is a double-edged sword, w h i c h can benefit one and at the same t ime hurt another. L u X u n ' s contradictory feel ings are impl ic i t in one paragraph o f the tombstone inscr ipt ions: A t the t ime o f crazy s ing ing and reve l ing, he caught c o l d ; i n paradise he saw an abyss. H e saw nothingness in a l l that struck h is eyes; he was saved f rom hopelessness. 1 4 0 1 3 8 Y u Fang # ^ "Fengjian hunyin de xishengzhe — Lu Xun xiansheng he Zhu furen" i t ^ l i f i W f f i t t ^ — #if i7fe4^0^^cA. (The victims of the feudalistic marriage — Mr. Lu Xun and Mrs. Zhu), in Xue Suizhi MWiZ. and others ed, LuXun shengping shiliao huibian, # i f i^ J F i i$47CIS (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p. 481. l 3 9 L u Xun, "Wo zhi jielieguan" %c±vMM (My views on chastity), LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 119. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 202 CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 155 These short l ines are among the most controversial Wild Grass passages, over w h i c h many scholars debate. L i H e l i n interprets these l ines by contrast ing the protagonist w i th "others." H e wri tes: W h e n others l i ve i n crazy s inging and reve l ing ; I feel the coldness o f the human w o r l d . . . . W h e n others v i e w socia l reality as paradise and feel sat isf ied; I v i e w it as an abyss l ike he l l . W h e n others consider that a l l in reali ty is good ; I am satisf ied w i th noth ing . . . ' 4 I Sun Y u s h i disagrees w i th L i He l in 's interpretation, w h i c h , i n his op in ion , is not appropriate because o f its exc lus ive emphasis on the dif ferences in ideas between the protagonist and "others." H e considers that the subject o f these l ines should be the same person, that is the dead protagonist. H e gives his o w n interpretation as fo l l ows : The first l ine: when I am crazy to s ing and revel , I "caught c o l d " and became s ick because o f the decl ine in the revolut ion and the co ld air. Th is is o f course a self-descr ipt ion o f L u X u n ' s inner contradict ion and dark, empty t h o u g h t s . . . . The second l ine: in the so-cal led "future golden wor ld , " wh i ch is descr ibed as paradise, I saw the abyss o f the human wor ld w h i c h is s imi la r to he l l . Th is is the dead protagonist's "mad remarks" brought on by i l lness and also a record o f his sober t h o u g h t . . . . The third l ine: in a l l that seems to exist in others' eyes, I saw the n ih i l i sm o f "nothingness," in w h i c h nothing exists. . . . The fourth l ine: this is to say that m y i l lness cannot u l t imately be cured. In despair and hopelessness, I became detached f rom the misery o f the human wor ld by means o f death. In a sense this escape by death is also a thorough "sa lva t ion . " 1 4 2 Sun Yush i ' s interpretation seems a litt le more suitable than L i He l in 's in the sense that he treats a l l these l ines as descript ions o f the protagonist instead o f a contrast between the 1 4 1 L i Helin ^fspfts LuXun Yecao zhushi # f f l S f ^ c t # (Annotation and interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 1973, p. 150. 1 4 2Sun Yushi # 1 5 , "Lu Xun Yecao chongshi VIII" H i f i S f ^ f i f P , A (Re-interpretation of Wild Grass, VIII), LuXunyanjiuyuekan ^-j&ffiftM f j , 1996, no. 8, pp. 25-6. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 156 protagonist and some vague "others." Bu t it s t i l l doesn't sound quite p lausib le because a number o f facts that are actual ly not in the or ig inal l ines have been freely added i n h is interpretation. In reading a l l the previous interpretations, I have found that scholars tend to focus on L u X u n ' s po l i t i ca l or ph i losoph ica l thought that may be incorporated in these l ines. I shal l try to g ive m y interpretation f rom an alternative perspect ive o f L u X u n ' s personal l i fe. It is d i f f icul t to give an "accurate" interpretation because o f the metaphor ical nature o f the first two l ines and the abstract nature o f the last two. Bu t by a c lose scrut iny, it is st i l l poss ib le to detect that things descr ibed i n each l ine are strongly conf l ic t ing. A l l l ines indicate sudden and thorough changes — the first two in the protagonist's l i fe and the last two in his attitude towards the changes. I v i e w these l ines as also an expression o f the contradict ion deep i n L u X u n ' s inner psyche at the turning point o f h is l i fe : W h e n he achieved the crazy rapture o f love , he felt that he was mora l ly i l l . H i s paradise might be another's abyss. A f te r he obtained love, there was noth ing he lacked. In despair he was saved emot ional ly . Th is interpretation is themat ical ly coherent to the rest o f the poem. A l l these sudden and thorough changes, together w i th the ch ie f metaphor o f the protagonist's death, serve to evince L u Xun ' s sel f -condemnat ion. The fact is that he accepted love from X u Guangp ing and forsook Z h u A n . H e eventual ly fa i led to fu l f i l l h is v o w o f 1919 to sacr i f ice h imse l f "to pay o f f a four thousand year debt . " 1 4 3 Th is fact accounts for his fee l ing o f guil t , w h i c h is metaphor ica l ly and pro foundly expressed in "Tombstone Inscr ipt ions" and is f igurat ively projected as the theme o f the d i l e m m a between emot ions and mora l responsibi l i t ies. " D r y L e a f (Lave, flgPfV44 1 4 3 L u Xun, "Suigan lu 40" Mf&tM. 40 (Random thoughts 40), LXQJ. vol. 1, pp. 323, Tthe Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 2, p. 40. 1 4 4This poem was written on December 26, 1925 and published in Yusi i p££ no. 60, January 4, 1926. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 157 In this poem when the I persona is reading at night, he f inds a dry, pressed maple leaf i n a book. The leaf br ings back to his m i n d the late autumn o f the prev ious year, when he spotted it on a maple tree i n his courtyard on a night o f heavy frost. That was a bl ighted leaf, on w h i c h chequered red, ye l l ow , and green were interwoven and in w h i c h an insect had bored a hole. The I persona felt that the hole f r inged w i th b lack was staring at h i m l ike a bright eye. In order to preserve these chequered colors and the bright eye, he p lucked it and s l ipped it inside a book. W h e n the I persona narrates the or ig in o f the leaf, he ment ions the garden, the trees in it, the heavy frost, the autumn night, and the fact that he p lucked it i n late autumn one year ago, w h i c h was the t ime L u X u n wrote " A u t u m n N igh t . " A l l this makes it possib le for the reader to associate this poem w i th " A u t u m n N igh t . " The bl ighted leaf is also easi ly reminiscent o f the date tree w i th wounds on its bark, especia l ly when the reader is aware that many scholars v i e w the dry and bl ighted leaf, l i ke the date tree, as one o f L u Xun ' s self-symbo ls . 1 4 5 But the author's moods that are cast i n these two poems are quite different. In " A u t u m n N igh t " even though the date tree has lost a l l its leaves, it stretches its boughs luxur ious ly . It knows "the litt le p ink f lowers ' dream o f spr ing" and has its o w n dream o f autumn — it w i l l be weighed d o w n again w i th bright fo l iage and dates. Bu t i n " D r y Leaf , " after on ly one year, the chequered co lors o f the leaf have faded and its "bright eye" also has become d immed . A t present it is l y ing ye l l ow , waxen , and dispir i ted as " a dry, pressed l e a f i n front o f the I persona. A t the end o f " A u t u m n N igh t , " L u X u n exalts its posi t ive effect by pra is ing the litt le green insects that dare seek brightness at the r isk o f their l ives. Bu t at the end o f "D ry Leaf , " L u X u n wri tes: "In late autumn there may have been bl ighted leaves l ike last year's; but unhappi ly , this year I even have no leisure to appreciate autumn t rees." 1 4 6 l 4 5 L i Helin $fnj#, LuXun Yecao zhushi #ififf^'<EE# (Annotation and interpretation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1973, p. 205; Sun Yushi ?/>3£5 Yecaoyanjiu S f^ iF^£ (WildGrass study), 1981, p. 81. mLXQJ. vol. 2, p. 219, the Yangs' translation in LXSW Vol. 1, p. 360. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 158 It is not merely because Lu Xun this year has no time to appreciate autumn trees and to find blighted leaves. More importantly it is because his mood has changed. The faint yet perceptible hope incorporated in "Autumn Night" totally disappears in "Dry Leaf," and there is only tiredness and gloom left. L u Xun dispiritedly predicts: "In a few more years, when its former hues have faded from my memory, I may even forget why I put it in the book.'"47 Lu Xun once explained on a public occasion that '"Dry Leaf was written for the person who loves me and wants to preserve me."148 As to whom "the person" who loves L u Xun and wants to preserve him refers, he himself also divulged in private to his student Sun Fuyuan: Mr. X u (referring to X u Guangping) encourages me very much, hopes that I will work diligently and not slacken. But she also takes good care of me very much and hopes that I will conserve my health and not work too hard. However both cannot be done contentedly at the same time. There are contradictions between them. The inspiration of "Dry L e a f was derived from this idea. 1 4 9 From his own remarks we know that "Dry L e a f is dedicated to X u Guangping. But "Dry L e a f never reads like a love poem dedicated to a lover. In the poem Lu Xun makes no secret of his feelings of tiredness and gloom. It seems that the psychological burden that love brought to Lu Xun weighed on him much more than the pleasure he received from it. On the one hand, he felt guilt toward Zhu A n ; on the other hand he didn't know the future result of his romantic involvement with X u Guangping. There is an oblique line in the poem, which reveals Lu Xun's anxiety about the duration of his romance. The line reads: "It seems the chequered colors of the blighted leaf that was soon to fall can remain in my keeping for a very short time only — to say nothing of the lush and green leaf.'"50 L u Xun does not mention "the lush and green leaf elsewhere in the poem and readers may feel perplexed at H1LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 219, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 2, p. 359. l 4 8 L u Xun, "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" S ? ^ ^ ^ t # ^ f f (A preface to the English edition of Yecao), LXQJ, vol. 4, p. 356. 1 4 9Sun Fuyuan ?/M)c|3|, LuXun xiansheng ersan shi H# (A few things about Lu Xun), zhuojia shuwu, 1944, quote from Sun Yushi #3x5 Yecaoyanjiu If J^ SJf^  (Wild Grass study), 1981, p. 78. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 219, the Yangs' translation in L A W vol. 2, p. 359. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 159 spec i fy ing its reference. F r o m the context, we k n o w that the I persona is anxious that the co lors o f the imagined lush and green leaf w i l l fade sooner than that o f the dry and bl ighted leaf. If it is reasonable to interpret the bl ighted leaf as a se l f -symbol o f L u X u n as many scholar do, it may also be reasonable to v i e w the imagined lush and green leaf as a symbo l o f X u Guangp ing , then an educated and pretty gir l at the age o f twenty-s ix. N o Wild Grass cr i t ics have ever attempted to g ive an appropriate interpretation to the imag ined lush and green leaf i n the I persona's m ind . The who le l ine about it has actual ly been ignored. I wou ld l i ke to emphasize the thematic s igni f icance o f this l ine. B y int imately emp loy ing the colors o f the different leaves to a l lude to the relat ionship o f lovers, L u X u n covert ly reveals his worr ies about h o w long this romance cou ld last. L u X u n didn't d ivu lge his anxiety to X u Guangp ing unt i l years later. A f te r L u X u n d ied , X u Guangp ing ment ioned the symbo l ic meaning o f the b l ighted leaf in an essay: "Later he h imse l f acknowledged that the bl ighted leaf in 'Dry L e a f f rom Wild Grass ... was his sel f -descr ipt ion. Bu t I had never perceived that. H o w insensit ive I w a s ! " 1 " " D r y L e a f marks the end o f the poems in Wild Grass w h i c h deal w i th the theme o f feel ings and moral i t ies. A f te r it on ly two pieces fo l l ow: " A m i d Pale B loods ta ins" and "The A w a k e n i n g . " B o t h were wri t ten in 1926 after the M a r c h Eighteenth Massacre to protest against war lord pol i t ics . L u X u n d id not wri te Wild Grass poems dur ing a per iod o f three months between wr i t ing " D r y L e a f and the last two pieces. If the M a r c h Eighteenth Massacre had not happened, " D r y L e a f might have been the last p iece o f Wild Grass. L u X u n ' s t i red and g loomy m o o d ref lected in " D r y L e a f indicates that the inspirat ion indispensable to poet ic compos i t ion was exhausted in his m ind . A f te r he secured love , " H e saw nothingness in a l l that struck his eyes" ("Tombstone Inscr ipt ions"). H i s g loom was 1 5 l X u Guangping i^ r¥ "Yin jiaodui sanshinianji er yinqi de huajiu" HK^TH+^IIM'jI^WifjIB (Talking about the old stories due to my proofreading of the Collection of the Thirty Years), In Xuexi ^>S (Studies), no. 10, 1940. Also see Xu Guangping ilfr~sf, Xu Guangpingyi LuXun i^fW-'lL^Si (Remembering Lu Xun by Xu Guangping), Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1979, p. 146. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 160 perhaps partially derived from his sense of guilt. He was clearly aware that more frustrations would be facing him once his affair became public. About one month before Lu Xun wrote "Dry Leaf," he finished editing a collection of his essays and entitled it Hot Wind (Refeng, #tjxl). In the preface, he told why he chose that title: People's perception and reflection on the environment are probably like that "fish knows coldness or warmth by itself when it drinks water." I, however, feel the air around me is too cold. I am saying my own words, thus I entitled my book Hot Wind in contrast.152 Lu Xun's own words may serve as the best footnote to understand his mood at the time he wrote "Dry Leaf." Summary Lu Xun's anxiety about the future of his romantic relationship with Xu Guangping proved reasonable. As soon as their relatives knew their affair, Xu Guangping's family broke with her, and Zhou Zuoren declared their affair illegal.153 In August 1926 Lu and Xu left Beijing together for the south. In order to avoid attention from the public, they decided to live separately in different cities for two years and then to join each other. Therefore Lu went to Xiamen University to teach and Xu went to Guangzhou to work in a college. In Xiamen, Lu Xun immediately realized his own inability to live by himself. Without Zhu An's care, his life in Xiamen was terrible. But the things that made him more anxious were Xu Guangping's plans, in which she wanted first to go to 1 5 2 L u Xun, "Tiji" ggiE (Preface to Hot Wind), LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 292. 1 5 3This is according to the reminiscence of Zhou Haiying M'M^:, Lu Xun and Xu Guangping's son. See his "Xie zai qianmian" ^femM (Write as a preface), in Chen Shuyu l^lftfiu,Xu Guangping deyisheng VfJ^^ tft—4 (The life of Xu Guangping), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1981, p. 6. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 161 Shantou to join the revolution at the invitation of a young revolutionary154 and then go to Wuchang to participate in the Northern Expedition (1926-1927).155 The enthusiasm in her letters to Lu Xun during this period perceptibly faded in comparison with her letters written in Beijing. Lu Xun was afraid of losing her. He desperately wanted to change their previous decision and to join Xu in Guangzhou as soon as possible. In a letter, Lu Xun even pleaded with her to give him "a beam of light."156 In another letter, he questioned her plans: "You also want to go to Wuchang. Do you feel it so urgent to find a job there? . . . I really cannot understand. I should spank your palm."157 Lu Xun taught in Xiamen University for only one semester and then set out for Guangzhou in January 1927 to join Xu Guangping. In October they moved to Shanghai and started to cohabit in secret. During the debate on "revolutionary literature" in 1928 and 1929, some leftist critics in the Creation Society such as Cheng Fangwu ($1$^, 1897-1984) and Feng Naichao (?47JM , 1901-1983) spread it around that Lu Xun "took a concubine, abandoned his legitimate wife in Beijing, and had sex with his female student." They asserted that Lu Xun's "thought was certainly backward."158 In May 1929 Lu Xun went to Beijing to visit his mother and Zhu An, while Xu Guangping, who was five months pregnant then, stayed in Shanghai. At this time he seemed to be more confident of the romantic affair than before. In a letter to Xu, he wrote: There seems to be no obstacle in our future. If there is any, I am determined to pass it together with you and press forward. I will never shrink.159 l 5 4 X u Guangping, a letter to Lu Xun dated October 26, 1926, Liangdishu yuanxin Mife r^Sli^ fW (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying WiU^: ed, 1984, p. 177. l 5 5 X u Guangping, a letter to Lu Xun dated December 30, 1926, ibid, p. 302. 1 5 6 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated November 15, 1926, ibid, p. 223. 1 5 7 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated January 6, 1927, ibid, p. 310. 1 5 8Zhou Bochao jWjffa^, a letter to Lu Xun dated February 9, 1928, in Zhou Haiying W\%^: ed, LuXun, Xu Guangping suocang shuxin xuan #if i, idr"F~3FB\M^i^T& (Selected letters that were kept by Lu Xun and Xu Guangping), Hunan wenyi chubanshe, 1987, p. 88. l 5 9 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated May 19, 1929, Liangdishu yuanxin Wi&^rSJ^fg (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying JW ]7§§| ed, 1984, p. 334. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 162 Lu Xun's confidence primarily came from the facts that his relationship with Xu had finally become definite because of her pregnancy and had been recognized by some of their relatives including Zhu An, who considered herself the legitimate mother of the unborn baby.160 But his remarks never meant that he had been free from the criticisms of the conventional society. Lu Xun continuously kept his cohabitation with Xu in secret, as he wrote in a letter to Li Bingzhong: Since I moved to Shanghai, I have been extremely cautious. I have almost retreated from the human world. I tie my tongue and say nothing.161 All the essays that Lu Xun wrote during this period were published under pseudonyms. It was not until 1931 that he gradually informed some of his friends of his situation. In another letter to Li Bingzhong, Lu Xun wrote: I have a family member (referring to Xu) and also a baby in Shanghai. We depend on each other for survival and will suffer if we live separately. Therefore I deeply hide myself in the hopes of extending my life. But the whole of society still cannot tolerate me.162 Li Bingzhong had one of Lu Xun's letters published in 1931. Only then did Lu Xun's cohabitation with Xu gradually become public. What subsequently happened to Zhu An after Lu Xun's death also proved his apprehensions on her behalf reasonable. After he left Beijing with Xu for the south in 1926, Zhu An stayed in Beijing, living with his mother on his financial support. After Lu Xun died in 1936, Zhu An dictated a letter to Xu Guangping and authorized her full power to deal with l 6 0 Y u Fang "Fengjian hunyin de xishengzhe — Lu Xun xiansheng he Zhu furen" if^lMMffilf # — # i f i 7 f e 4 f O ^ ^ A . (The victims of the feudalistic marriage — Mr. Lu Xun and Mrs. Zhu), in Xue Suizhi lif §c;<L and others ed., LuXun shengping shiliao huibian, #ifi^ IF 1i^4'/C^i (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p. 484. 1 6 1 L u Xun, a letter to Li Bingzhong dated February 4, 1931, in LXQJ, vol., 12, p. 37. 1 6 2 L u Xun, a letter to Li Bingzhong dated February 18, 1931, in LXQJ, vol., 12, p. 39. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 163 the issue o f the publ icat ion o f a l l L u Xun ' s works i n 193 7.163 Thus X u became the on ly legit imate heir o f the huge income f rom the copyr ight o f L u Xun ' s works . She cont inued to remit money to support Z h u , but the remittance was interrupted several t imes due to the occupat ion o f Be i j i ng by the Japanese i n 1937, X u Guangping 's arrest by the Japanese at the end o f 1941 in Shanghai , and perhaps other reasons that are st i l l unknown . Because o f the interruptions o f the f inancia l support and the terrible inf lat ion dur ing the war, Z h u An ' s situation once became quite bad. In order to surv ive she intended w i th the help o f Z h o u Zuoren to sel l L u X u n ' s book co l lec t ion left i n their Be i j i ng residence. B e i n g aware o f this, Shanghai scholars Tang Tao and L i u Z h e m i n made a special tr ip to Be i j i ng i n 1944 to persuade her not to sel l the books i n order to protect L u Xun ' s heritage. They found that she was real ly l i v i ng i n poverty. W h e n she knew the purpose o f their t r ip, she said to them: " Y o u always say to protect L u X u n ' s heritage. I am also L u X u n ' s heritage. Y o u should protect me too ! " 1 6 4 Z h u A n was after a l l a rational woman . A l t h o u g h she was L u Xun ' s legit imate w i fe and had the right to sel l the books, she immediate ly promised to g ive up the p lanned sale. He r p l ight drew attention f rom society. In 1945 and 1946 some socia l el i te in Be i j i ng made donations o f money to support her, but she refused the donations. In 1946 she, however , accepted f rom the Guomindang government $100,000 (fabi, ^ f f J ) , w h i c h was g iven in they personal name o f President J iang J ieshi (Ch iang Ka i - shek $|^r^], 1887-1975). She mad br ie f statement about the acceptance to press c i rc les, saying "I dare not refuse the President 's grant." 1 6 5 1 6 3 Zhu An, a letter to Xu Guangping dated July 2, 1937, see Li Yunjing ^ jt^x., LuXun de hunyin yu jiating, HifiW^i M^lMffik (Lu Xun's marriage and family), Beijing: Shiyue wenyi chubanshe, 1990, p. 246. 1 6 4 Y u Fang "Fengjian hunyin de xishengzhe — Lu Xun xiansheng he Zhu furen" i f Jjtif MffifflfflkH — ^ifiTte^ftl^AA. (The victims of the feudalistic marriage — Mr. Lu Xun and Mrs. Zhu), in Xue Suizhi and others ed., LuXun shengping shiliao huibian, #ifi4¥i#4'0|ii (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p. 485. 1 6 5Chen Shuyu |5&iffc?li, Xu Guangping deyisheng ^ f^t^—*E (The life of Xu Guangping), Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1981, p. 148. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 164 Frankly speaking, Zhu An did what she could to protect Lu Xun's heritage until she died in 1947. Her later life was miserable, just as Lu Xun had predicted in "The Passerby." Her only consolation perhaps came of the fact that Lu Xun never divorced her. From beginning to end she was his legitimate wife. In her life, she often said: "I am a member of the Zhou family when I am alive; and I will be a ghost of the Zhou family after I die!"166 This is a conventional Chinese saying with which a wife swears to be faithful forever to her husband's family. Since the very beginning of his romantic involvement with Xu Guangping, Lu Xun seemed to have made every effort to maintain Zhu An's status as his legitimate wife and to accept Xu Guangping as only a mistress. He cohabited with Xu without seeking legal approval or even arranging a wedding ceremony. In this way Lu Xun probably thought that he had done what he could in hopes of not hurting Zhu An too much and at the same time keeping his own psychological balance between his emotional life and moral responsibilities. Xu Guangping was Lu Xun's lover and devoted her whole life to taking care of him in his last ten years, and, more importantly, she worked painstakingly and effectively for the protection, collection, editing, and publication of his works, and wrote a great number of reminiscences about him after he died. In a sense she was a protective goddess of Lu Xun and his legacy, and made him the Lu Xun we recognize today. She, however, was from beginning to end only Lu Xun's common-law wife in the Western conception or concubine in the Chinese conventional conception. When reading Wild Grass, if readers realize that Lu Xun was seeking love and individual fulfillment in the particular era and environment of 1920 China, which was shifting from a pre-modern society into a modern one, they would probably understand why 1 6 6 Yu Fang "Fengjian hunyin de xishengzhe — Lu Xun xiansheng he Zhu furen" J+^fiSWffitt^ — # 3 L 7 l c 4 f O ^ AA- (The victims of the feudalistic marriage — Mr. Lu Xun and Mrs. Zhu), in Xue Suizhi M'gk'Z- and others ed., Lu Xun shengping shiliao huibian, # i f i 4 I P i ^ l - ' / C ^ (A collection of the historical materials of Lu Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol. 3, p. 486. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 165 there are so many tensions i n the poems. F r o m " A u t u m n N i g h t " to " D r y Leaf , " L u X u n seems to have completed the emot ional journey o f his l i fe. I f we take "Dead F i r e " as a turning point in the co l lec t ion, it is not d i f f icu l t to find that the poems preceding it ma in l y invo lve var ious wishes and desires, through w h i c h L u X u n expresses his w i l l to shake o f f the yoke o f a d issat is fy ing marr iage and seek love and a reasonable l i fe. "The w i sh , " wri tes S igmund Freud , "makes use o f an occas ion i n the present to construct, on the pattern o f the past, a picture o f the future." 1 6 7 The date tree yearns to f lour ish and to bear fruit again i n the next year ( "Au tumn N igh t " ) . The shadow longs for farewel l to h is " f r iend" and go ing to a far place ("Shadow's Leave -Tak ing " ) . The I persona i n " M y Los t L o v e " wants to find his lover, even i f he fai ls several t imes due to var ious obstacles. The lovers i n "Revenge" want to either hug or k i l l each other, a l though they can finally accompl i sh neither. The I persona in " H o p e " decides to seek "the youth" outside h imsel f . The passerby stubbornly strives after " b l o o d " to replenish h is v i ta l i ty ("The Passerby") . In "The G o o d Story," the I persona eagerly craves to see more c lear ly the imaginary ideal and harmonious l i fe o f h is dream. A l l these wishes and desires expressed in the poems o f Wild Grass indicate L u X u n ' s struggle to make a change i n his l i fe. A t the moment when he obtained love , he wrote " D e a d F i re , " w h i c h betrays a g leam o f happiness and manifests an instant sat isfact ion because o f the real izat ion o f h is desires. L u Xun ' s psycho logy reaches a transient balance i n this poem. Bu t immediate ly he fal ls into another psycho log ica l tension, wh i ch is ma in ly expressed as deep perturbations and apprehensions. M a n y poems that succeed " D e a d F i re , " especia l ly the seven pieces i n the fo rm o f a dream, are exp l ic i t l y in terwoven w i th his feel ings o f horror born o f gui l t on Z h u A n ' s part. A s Ts i -an H s i a has pointed out, "Those dreams have such a bizarre beauty and del i r ious terror that they are real ly n ightmares." 1 6 8 In "The Dog 's Retort ," the I persona is afraid to debate w i th a dog and easi ly defeated by it. In "Tombstone Inscr ipt ions," 167Strachey et a l , ed. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, London: Hogarth Press, 1954-74, vol. 9. p. 147. 1 6 8Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1968, p. 152. C H A P T E R 4, D I L E M M A OF L O V E V E R S U S M O R A L I T Y 166 the I narrator, w h o is usual ly v iewed as L u Xun ' s alter ego, is scared out o f his wi ts by a body and escapes from h i m in panic. The I persona in "A f te r Dea th " does not even dare to in fo rm both his relat ives and foes o f his death. There are four poems in Wild Grass w h i c h describe the death o f the protagonists. Bu t on ly one in "Revenge II" precedes "Dead F i re , " wh i le the other three succeed (and inc lude) "Dead F i re . " In "Revenge II" L u X u n uses the death o f Jesus as the subject matter to condemn the cruelty o f the c rowd and convent ional society. Bu t the nature o f the other deaths after " D e a d F i re " is complete ly different. E i ther the protagonist dies o f his o w n destruct ion, as i n "Tombstone Inscript ions," or the I persona dies voluntar i ly , as i n "A f te r Death . " In " D e a d F i re , " the I persona cannot even help but exhib i t h is del ight at his o w n death. In these poems the subject matter o f death is employed by L u X u n ma in ly as a metaphor for a dramatic change in l i fe or a sel f -condemnat ion in mora l i ty brought on by guil t . There are a total o f n ine poems in Wild Grass that are composed in the fo rm o f a dream. T w o o f them, "Shadow's L e a v e - T a k i n g " and "The G o o d Story," precede "Dead F i re . " The rest succeed (and inc lude) it. A f te r " D e a d F i re , " L u X u n conceives seven dream poems i n a row. H e seems to have had a long and scary dream in w h i c h he experiences f rom a fee l ing o f sl ight sat isfact ion to a feel ing o f severe self-repentance. These dream pieces may indicate that L u X u n is so apprehensive about fac ing his wou ld-be accusers due to his affair w i th X u Guangp ing that he doesn't even want to wake up. A f te r these seven poems in the fo rm o f a dream, dur ing the per iod f rom Ju ly to December 1925, L u X u n didn't wr i te Wild Grass poems for more than f ive months. Th is is an exc lus ive si tuat ion in the Wild Grass compos i t ion . D u r i n g this t ime, perhaps, on the one hand, L u X u n had been indu lg ing in h is -newly-secured love and had lost the inspirat ion to compose such n ightmar ish poems. O n the other hand, he might have been th ink ing o f h o w to act next. H e was also under stress dur ing this per iod f rom a lawsui t against Zhang Sh izhao, the M in i s te r o f Educa t ion . A l l these CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 167 elements may account for the interrupt ion o f the Wild Grass compos i t ion for more than five months. A l s o dur ing this t ime, his romant ic affair gradual ly became k n o w n to some o f his friends and students in Be i j i ng . They spread wo rd o f the affair around. E v e n though they were probably not i l l -natured, L u X u n , who had a sensit ive and suspic ious personal i ty, became quite angry about this. Later he compla ined i n a private letter, saying: I f they saw there were female students at my place, they started rumors. They started rumors for sure no matter i f there was an affair or not, unless I didn't meet women . They make up new stories, they are real ly tyrants, cruel o f f ic ia ls , detectives, and smal l people. Those who spread rumors are [Wang] P i nq i ng , [Sun] Fuyuan , [Zhang] Y i p i n g , [L i ] X i a o f e n g , and Z h o u Zuoren's w i fe . 1 6 9 Af te r a five-month break, L u X u n wrote " S u c h a Fighter," in w h i c h he seems to have awakened f rom his long dream. H e portrays the protagonist as an act ive and brave f ighter against soc ia l convent ions. In the poem, L u X u n wri tes: A b o v e their heads hang al l k inds o f f lags and banners, embroidered w i th al l honorable t it les: phi lanthropist , scholar, wri ter, elder, youth, dilettante, gent leman. . . Bu t he raises his lance. Together they g ive their so lemn oath that their hearts are i n the center o f their chests, un l ike the case o f other prejudiced people. They try to prove by their breast-plates that they themselves bel ieve their hearts are in the center o f their chests. Bu t he raises h is lance. H e smi les and hurls h is lance to the side, and it pierces them through the heart . 1 7 0 Th is passage may convey L u Xun ' s anger at those who bruit h is affair a l l around. H e does not th ink they are fair, though "they g ive their so lemn oath that their hearts are in the center o f their chests." H e describes them i ron ica l ly as "phi lanthropist , scholar, wri ter, elder, 1 6 9 L u Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated January 11, 1927, Liangdishu yuanxin Mit&45J^ fs (The originals of The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying ed, 1984, p. 315. mLXQJ, vol. 2, p. 214, the Yangs' translation in LXSW, vol. 1, pp. 354-5. CHAPTER 4, DILEMMA OF LOVE VERSUS MORALITY 168 youth, dilettante, gent leman. " 1 7 1 W h e n he is beside h imse l f w i th rage, in h is m i n d they are "tyrants, cruel o f f ic ia ls , detectives, and smal l people. " A t the t ime he needs to p luck up his courage to face the response o f socia l i ty direct ly, L u X u n wri tes " S u c h a F ighter" to encourage himsel f . Bu t he is not conf ident enough o f the fight that he launches in the poem. The fact remains that his affair w i th X u Guangp ing was never just a rumor. The protagonist finally "grows o ld and dies o f o ld age," and "he is not a fighter after a l l . " 1 7 2 The end o f " S u c h a Fighter" reveals L u Xun ' s deject ion — he is unable to conceal h is affair f rom being k n o w n and spread around. Furthermore, at that t ime he st i l l d id not k n o w i f h is affair w i th X u w o u l d succeed or not. Th is sort o f anxiety is also imp l ic i t l y ref lected in " D r y Leaf , " w h i c h was wri t ten ha l f a month later. The d i l emma between love and mora l responsib i l i ty is the most covert theme o f Wild Grass. M a n y scholars have intent ional ly or unintent ional ly ignored it. M y interpretation on the leve l o f emot ion has revealed L u Xun ' s private al lus ions and puns in some o f the Wild Grass poems and made his most int imate feel ings ident i f iable. I hope this interpretation w i l l be seen as reasonable and acceptable, and w i l l arouse the interest o f other scholars to engage in further studies a long this l ine. 111 LXQJ, vol. 2, p. 214, the Yang's translation in LXSW, vol. 1, p. 354. 1 7 2Ibid.,p.215. /69 CONCLUSION A l though many main land Chinese scholars never acknowledge a decl ine in L u Xun ' s wr i t ing career, the fact remains that, w i th the except ion o f a few stories col lected in Old Tales Retold, L u X u n stopped wr i t ing f ic t ion, new style poetry, and prose poetry after Wild Grass. In the last ten years o f his l i fe , L u X u n wrote ma in ly miscel laneous essays. In v i e w o f this, W i l l i a m Schu l tz argues that 1926 marks the end o f L u X u n ' s creative l i fe . 1 Ts i -an H s i a also laments the decl ine in L u X u n ' s creative output, saying that, "It was a loss to L u H s i i n h imse l f and to Ch inese literature that his inspirat ion should have wi thered so soon . " 2 I f we say that L u Xun ' s story co l lec t ion Call to Arms marks the first peak o f h is l i terary creat ion and earns h i m nat ion-wide recogni t ion, then Wild Grass marks the f ina l peak o f h is creative wr i t ing and sol id i f ies his reputation as a great modern wri ter w i th mul t id imens iona l achievements. L u X u n ' s l iterary achievements are to be found in a number o f forms: short f ic t ion, miscel laneous essays, prose poetry, ly r ica l prose remin iscence, and c lassic-sty le poetry. W i t h the except ion o f c lassic-sty le poetry, the other genres were first introduced into C h i n a through L u X u n ' s exper imentat ion w i th Western l iterary forms. These genres have been imitated by innumerable later wri ters and become paradigms for modern Ch inese literature. I f one surveys twentieth-century Ch inese literature, one finds that after L u X u n , outstanding works in different genres have cont inuously appeared, but few, i f any prose poems, let alone a whole co l lec t ion, have been produced as masterpieces that can favorably compare w i th the poems in Wild Grass. In the realm o f prose poetry, none o f the later wri ters can match L u Xun ' s genius. A s W i l l i a m Schul tz points out, a l though later writers recognized that both the style and manner o f Wild Grass are worthy o f emulat ion, "no one has since proven capable o f match ing the qual i ty w h i c h inheres in these h igh ly personal prose poems. " 3 'William R. Schultz, "Lu Hsiin, the Creative Years," unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, the University of Washington, 1955. 2Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, 1968, p. 129. 3William R. Schultz, "Lu HsUn, the Creative Years," 1955, p. 385. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 170 It is not an overstatement to conclude that Wild Grass is not on ly a signi f icant achievement in L u X u n ' s ind iv idua l creative output, but also stands as a masterpiece in modern Ch inese literature. Its intel lectual and aesthetic values have proven to be great and durable i n the sense that Wild Grass a lways provides the reader w i th a v i s ion o f the strength o f human w i l l , w i s d o m o f imaginat ion, and sinceri ty o f personal emot ion and moral i ty . The spir i t o f struggle i n Wild Grass A l though many o f the poems in Wild Grass are me lancho l i c , and at t imes even pessimist ic , the reader can st i l l strongly perceive a spirit o f struggle i n these poems. Th is spirit o f struggle is an embodiment o f L u Xun ' s f i rm l i fe attitude and indomitable personal i ty. M a n y o f the characters in Wild Grass are caught up in i r reconci lable conf l ic ts w i th not on ly their environments, but also their o w n fates. T o a great degree, they can be regarded as symbols o f L u X u n h imsel f , who devoted his entire l i fe to enl ightening the Ch inese people at the t ime C h i n a was be ing transformed into a modern society. L u X u n ' s spirit o f struggle has been g lor i f ied as "the soul o f the nat ion" (minzu hurt, fJ^M^L),4 w h i c h proves urgently needed by the Chinese people to reform their society and l i fe , and more important ly to change their o w n weak "nat ional character." L e o Ou- fan Lee and L i n Y i i - sheng see in Wild Grass L u Xun ' s "existent ial ist" repudiat ion o f n ih i l i sm. 5 M i c h a e l S. Duke emphasizes L u X u n ' s "debt to the tradit ion o f genuinely tragic commit ted intel lectuals who , i n the tradit ional phrase, ' know that it cannot be done but do it a n y w a y . ' . . . It is this 'spirit ' o f struggle against overwhe lming odds t h a t . . . [is v iewed as] the most obv ious legacy o f Lu 's l i fe and work . " 6 4Chen Shuyu |^ ?ftM!i, Minzu hun fJaJ^sl, (the national soul), Zhejiang wenyi chubanshe, 1982; Huang Houxing l t # 7 A , Lu Xun — minzu hun de xiangzheng #2L — K^^WI^ffi (Lu Xun — the symbol of the national soul), Shandong renmin chubanshe, 1993. 5Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987, p. 103; Lin Yii-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979, p. 137. 6Michael S. Duke, Review of Voices from the Iron House, in World Literature Today, Spring 1988, p. 332. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 171 Indeed the spirit o f struggle that in forms Wild Grass — against not on ly the outer wo r ld , but also the inner s e l f — has become a signi f icant intel lectual legacy to inspire Ch inese readers. Subject ive emot ion and l y r i c i sm W h e n Jaroslav Prusek comments on modern Ch inese literature, he considers that its most characterist ic feature is "the larger proport ion o f subjective elements. Th is w o u l d seem to be connected w i th the g rowing s igni f icance o f the writer's personal i ty, l iberated f rom the fetters o f tradit ion . . . to make o f his work a personal confess ion and mani festo. " 7 Prusek's assessment is correct. The N e w Cul ture M o v e m e n t broke the dam o f tradit ional values, and a torrent o f ind iv idua l emot ions, to a great degree in the fo rm o f literature, poured out i n profus ion. Wild Grass is such a book w h i c h lays great stress on the expression o f the author's subject ive emot ions rather than depict ion o f a realist picture. It is dominated by L u Xun ' s strong private feel ings and imaginary power. The psych ica l distance between the author and many o f the protagonists in Wild Grass is so c lose that the audience may interpret them as symbols or self-portraits o f the author h imsel f . A s a result, the readers become act ive part icipants i n the reading and, aided by their o w n aesthetic exper ience, generate an emot ional ident i f icat ion w i th the characters and the author's feel ings presented in the poems. Because L u X u n had been so deeply invo lved w i th his characters f igurat ively and psych ica l ly , I disagree w i th Feng Xuefeng 's judgment that some poems i n Wild Grass are "sharply satir ic p ieces . " 8 Rather I wou ld argue that in Wild Grass, L u X u n d id not intend to practice satire as a correct ive o f human v ice or fo l ly , or as a device to make his ma in characters r id icu lous and to evoke toward them attitudes o f amusement, contempt, or scorn. 7Jaroslav Prusek, The Lyrical and the Epic, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980, pp. 83-4. 8Feng Xuefeng classifies "My Lost Love" and other five poems as "sharply satiric pieces." See his Lun Yecao r k f ? ^ (On Wild Grass), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1956, p. 10. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 172 More perceptive critics rightly see in Wild Grass Lu Xun's subjective emotions and lyricism rather than satire. Tsi-an Hsia points out that the "images" in Wild Grass are "imbued with strong emotional intensity."9 Jaroslav Prusek summarizes the artistic merits of the Wild Grass poems to be "their emotional atmosphere, complex images and metaphors, and the extraordinary strength of their feelings."10 In a more detailed analysis on the lyricism of Wild Grass, William Lyell writes: When one thinks of a lyrical Lu Hsiin, the two books that come to mind are Wild Grass, with its sometimes indecipherable prose-poems, and Dawn Blossoms Plucked at Dusk, with its poetic reminiscences.... By "lyrical," I refer to those poetic sections of Lu Hsun's prose in which we can hear a voice singing in the background, alternately joyous and sad. Whenever that lyrical voice is heard, the subject is likely to be childhood, remembered friends, the Chekiang countryside, or family life. Homeland and youth inspired him to the joyous lyricism . . . " It is true that the most lyrical poems in Wild Grass have a subject matter related to homeland, youth, and reminiscence, such as "The Kite," "Snow," "Hope," and "The Good Story." The awareness of repentance In 1986 Liu Zaifu, a mainland Chinese scholar, delivered a paper entitled "Literature and the Awareness of Repentance" at a conference in Beijing. In his presentation he argued that the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky achieved an elevated moral vision because of the religious concepts of sin and repentance in Russian culture. But Chinese culture and literature lacked such concepts. His point of view became famous in Beijing intellectual circles for its implicit call for more introspection and honesty in literature creation.12 9Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, 1968, p. 150. ,0Jaroslav Prusek, The Lyrical and The Epic, 1980, p. 56. "William Lyell, Lu Xun's Vision of Reality, 1976, pp. 300-1. 12See Perry Link, Evening Chats in Beijing, Probing China's Predicament, W. W. Norton, 1992, p. 154. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 173 In Ch inese history, pre-modern intel lectuals had a long tradit ion o f awareness o f soc ia l responsibi l i ty . They regarded themselves as p lay ing important soc ia l roles by means o f cul t ivat ing the self, regulat ing the fami ly , govern ing the state, and pac i fy ing the who le k i ngdom. 1 3 In this respect, modern Chinese writers share the same awareness o f soc ia l responsib i l i ty w i th their ancestors, and i n general L u X u n was not an except ion. The reason he chose wr i t ing as his career was his desire "to change the Chinese people's spi r i t . " 1 4 S ince the N e w Cul ture Movemen t , modern Chinese writers have tended to employ literature as a tool to reform society and to educate people. F e w practice sel f - ref lect ion in their o w n literary works . A s a result, modern Chinese literature in general lacked the awareness o f repentance. Wild Grass, however , is an except ion. M a n y o f the poems are introspective. U n l i k e the rel ig ious concept o f s in that in forms the works o f To ls toy and Dostoyevsky , L u Xun ' s awareness o f repentance is based first o f a l l on the deep intel lectual conf l ic t i n his m ind . A s L i n Yu -sheng has pointed out: " L u X u n both rejected Ch inese tradit ion in toto and found some elements i n tradi t ional Ch inese culture and mora ls m e a n i n g f u l . . . . It caused h i m great agony — indeed, a sense o f gui l t — in the face o f an iconoclast ic tota l ism in w h i c h he also deeply be l ieved . " 1 5 In Wild Grass L u Xun ' s awareness o f repentance seems more obv ious ly based on moral i ty , a humani tar ian considerat ion for others, as he expounded it i n a letter o f 1925: M y ideas are not immediate ly understandable, because in them are contained many contradict ions. I f I am asked to sum them up, they represent perhaps the ebb and flow o f two k inds o f th ink ing — human ism and ind iv idua l anarchism. Therefore, somet imes I suddenly love people, sometimes I suddenly hate people. W h e n I work , somet imes I certainly work for others, but somet imes I work for my o w n pleasure. 1 6 nLiji ^LiE, (The Book of Rites), in Shisan jingzhushu A'^^GEM. (Annotation and interpretation of Thirteen Classic Books), Zhonghua shuju, 1979, p. 1673. 1 4Lu Xun , "Nahan zixu" P | W g J? (Self-preface to Call to Arms), LXQJ, vol. 1, p. 417. 1 5Lin Yu-sheng, The Crisis of Chinese Consciousness, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979, p. 105. 1 6Lu Xun, a letter to Xu Guangping dated May 30, 1925, in Liangdishu yuanxin Wi&4$Mfff (The origi The Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying fa\W^; ed., Hunan wenyi chubanshe, 1984, p. 69, Leo Ou-fan Lee's translation in Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 104. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 174 To a great extent the emotional tension in Wild Grass manifests the conflict between humanism and individual anarchism in Lu Xun's deepest inner mind. When this conflict occurs, sometimes Lu Xun "suddenly hate[d] people," as shown in "The Passerby." But immediately he turned to condemn himself for these feelings. Therefore a strong awareness of repentance is frequently embodied in many poems in Wild Grass. This awareness of repentance is actually an embodiment of Lu Xun's humanistic thought and his sense of morality. Lu Xun's summary of his own ideas is helpful to readers in understanding the genesis of his awareness of repentance. This awareness of repentance is also closely related to his intention in writing Wild Grass, that is, in Lu Xun's words, when commenting on Dostoyevsky's fiction, "to torture and interrogate out the real innocence which hides beneath the sin."17 The Japanese scholar Takeuchi Yoshimi (TTF*3$?) identifies Lu Xun's literature as "a kind of repentant literature," and considers his marriage and love as "the core of the repentance."18 It seems to me an overstatement to view the whole of Lu Xun's literature as "a kind of repentant literature," but Takeuchi's comment is generally applicable to Wild Grass. Another Japanese scholar Katayama Tomoyuki, when he deals with Wild Grass, quotes Takeuchi's comment and agrees with him, saying "in a sense it is reasonable."19 The awareness of repentance embodied in Wild Grass proves to be a very precious spirit for the Chinese people, especially after the atrocities and catastrophes of the Maoist era, to meditate on the weakness in their own human nature and "national character." As Michael S. Duke points out, "in the 1980s a new group of writers have begun in various ways to take up Lu Xun's use of creative literature to explore the roots (xun-geri) of Chinese culture and to ask once again what is so wrong with the Chinese 'national character' that it could bring about the 17Lu Xun, "Tuosituofusiji de shi" KS^-^^TSW^ (Things about Dostoyevsky), LXQJ, vol. 6, p. 411. 18See Katayama Tomoyuki rflhWft, Rojinyaso zenyaku #ifiS?^^:P (A complete explanation of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), 1991, p. 255. 19Ibid,p.255. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 175 Cul tura l Revo lu t i on and its af termath." 2 0 L i k e the spirit o f struggle, the awareness o f repentance that is strongly incorporated in Wild Grass should be regarded as one o f the most important aspects o f L u Xun ' s legacy. The modernist ic artistry o f Wild Grass M i c h a e l S. D u k e considers Wild Grass " a vo lume o f n ightmar ish ly modernist ic prose poetry," w h i c h , together w i th h is fiction, miscel laneous essays, and other wr i t ings, demonstrates L u Xun ' s "modern gen ius. " 2 1 H e sees in Wild Grass the "modern is t ic " features, w h i c h are the most remarkable characterist ics o f this prose poetry co l lec t ion. The modernist ic features o f Wild Grass are, o f course, incorporated in both its themes and artistry. Ts i -an H s i a has pointed out, " L u H s i i n might have carr ied Ch inese poetry . . . into a new rea lm, to g ive fo rmal rendering to a k i nd o f terror and anxiety, an exper ience w h i c h we might ca l l modern , since it is hardly found among the themes o f tradit ional Ch inese poetry, r i ch as its contents are . " 2 2 In m y preceding analysis, L u Xun ' s strong personal feel ings that are imbued in h is var ious characters and the awareness o f repentance that in forms many pieces both contain modernist ic thematic elements. Howeve r , the modernist ic features o f Wild Grass are most s igni f icant ly d isp layed in its artistic aspects. W h e n ta lk ing about the modernist ic features o f Wild Grass, the cr i t ics might first ident i fy its symbo l i sm. The major i ty o f Wild Grass poems includes symbo l i c devices and metaphors, or a l legor ica l emblems that determine or suggest further s igni f icance beyond the l i terary meaning o f the text itself. L u X u n was extremely sk i l l f u l i n exp lo i t ing an order o f private symbols i n Wild Grass to suggest r i ch ly rather than to descr ibe exp l ic i t ly . L e o Ou- fan Lee asserts, "his prose poetry is def ini tely conce ived in symbo l ic structures. B y incorporat ing many f ic t ional and dramatic devices, it seems to tel l a fictive 'story' w i th in the contours o f a 2 0Michael S. Duke, Review of Voices from the Iron House, in World Literature Today, Spring 1988, p. 332. 2 1Ibid., p. 332. 2 2Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, 1968, p. 151. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 176 dream or an a l legory . " 2 3 In short, Wild Grass is a "magni f icent harvest o f symbo l i c art" i n modern Ch inese l i terature. 2 4 The second modernis t ic feature o f Wild Grass can be said to be its surreal ist ic imaginat ion. Some o f its poems are cast i n dreams, w h i c h are del iberately conce ived by L u X u n as a surreal ist ic wo r ld . E v e n those non-dream pieces are created i n a dream- l ike or n ightmar ish atmosphere such as " A u t u m n N igh t , " "Revenge, " and "Beggars . " L u X u n frequently interweaves reality w i th fantasy, l i fe w i th imag ined death, human beings w i th beasts or monsters, and so on to construct a surrealist ic and imaginat ive f ramework in his prose poems to convey his t roubled thoughts and feel ings. Other surreal ist ic devices -•— inc lud ing personi f icat ion o f natural objects, non log ica l sequences o f events, and the jux tapos i t ion o f bizarre, shock ing , and transcendental images such as the dead fire, the demon, the ta lk ing dog, and the dead man who st i l l has awareness — are often employed to bu i ld his power fu l imaginat ion into a great surrealist ic work o f art. In this sense L e o Ou - fan Lee def ines Wild Grass as "l i terary crystal l izat ions o f h is dark moods and tortured feel ings w h i c h compr ise a surreal ist ic wo r l d o f the subconsc ious. " 2 5 Because o f the artistic complex i ty o f Wild Grass, the reader can also decipher other modernist ic features. F o r example , W i l l i a m Schu l tz considers the Wild Grass co l lec t ion to be " impress ion is t ic . " In it "m inor observat ions and poetic moods, ephemeral dream situations and cr i t ica l ideas were invested w i th poetic dress. " 2 6 L e o Ou- fan L e e sees in Wild Grass "character izat ion i n the expressionist ic mode" and regards this as one remarkable modernist ic element o f Wild Grass.21 One remarkable feature o f the character izat ion i n Wild 2 3 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 96. 2 4Ibid., p. 89. 2 5 Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 89. 2 6William Schultz, "Lu HsUn, The Creative Years," unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1955, p. 383. 2 7 Leo Ou-fan Lee, "Lu Xun yu xiandai yishu yishi" #ffl-^Sftft2^^tR (Lu Xun and the consciousness of modern art), in Tiewuzhong de nahan ^.M'P (Voices from the Iron House), Taibei: shidai fengyun chubanshe, 1995, p. 301. WILD GRASS, C O N C L U S I O N 177 Grass is indeed its expressionist ic mode, a revolt against the l i terary tradit ion o f rea l ism i n character izat ion. L u X u n undertook to express a t roubled emot ional v i s ion o f society and human l i fe by d im in ish ing or distort ing his characters such as the beggar, the prostitute, the shadow, and the heartless rotten body, and/or by exaggerating their unusual behaviors such as the couple's eternal confrontat ion, the o ld woman's si lent compla in t to heaven, and the rotten body's rev iva l . A s a result, the character izat ion in Wild Grass conveys a strong expressionist ic effect. The most s igni f icant modernist ic feature in the structure o f Wild Grass may l ie in its f ramework o f log ica l d i l emma. M a n y Wild Grass poems are conce ived as a log ica l d i l e m m a in w h i c h complete ly different images, situations, desires, feel ings, and prospects are presented to reveal d iametr ica l conf l ic ts . M a n y o f the ma in characters are caught up in these d i lemmas without a perceivable solut ion. Th is k ind o f structure is essential ly a recapi tu lat ion o f L u X u n ' s o w n psych ica l d i l e m m a between ideal and existence, se l f and others, emot ion and moral i ty , love and hate, and so on. L u X u n has c lear ly expressed his psych ica l d i l e m m a in the "Pre face" to Wild Grass, w h i c h reads: A t the t ime between dark and l ight, l i fe and death, past and future, I lay this co l lec t ion o f Wild Grass i n front o f fr iends and enemies, man and beast, those who love and those who love not as evidence. F o r mysel f , for fr iends and enemies, for those who love and those w h o love not, I w ish the death and decay o f the Wild Grass to arr ive speedi ly . . , 2 8 L u X u n ' s o w n words can be taken as the best summary o f the comp lex themes o f Wild Grass and his emot ional and psych ica l paradoxes at a cr i t ical juncture i n h is l i fe. The structure o f log ica l d i l emma metaphor ical ly and effect ively serves to express the paradoxica l themes o f Wild Grass, to reveal his mental contradict ions, and to achieve an astonishing artistic effect i n these prose poems. ''LXQJ, vol. 2, pp. 159-60, William Schultz's translation in "Lu HsUn, The Creative Years," 1955, p. 297. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 178 O n the most obv ious leve l , we k n o w that modern prose poetry i tsel f is a modern genre, w h i c h was first pract iced by Baudela i re and Turgenev, introduced to C h i n a dur ing the N e w Cul ture Movemen t . There was a long tradit ion o f rhyme and prose poetry in c lass ica l Ch inese literature. L u X u n certainly draws inspirat ion f rom this poetry tradit ion. L e o Ou- fan Lee points out that to some degree Wild Grass is s imi lar to the c lass ica l subgenre fu (IK). "Bu t L u X u n obv ious ly departs f rom the fu t radi t ion, not on ly by his pointedly psycho log ica l interest but also by his invent ion o f an unprecedented range o f poet ic images . " 2 9 In addi t ion, Wild Grass was wri t ten in vernacular language. In this sense the subgenre o f modern prose poetry is lack ing in Ch inese l i terary tradit ion. It is real ly a mi rac le that Wild Grass ach ieved so splendid an artistic success at the earliest stage in modern Ch inese literature. The artistic achievement o f Wild Grass should also be part ial ly attributed to its language. In general L u X u n explo i ted a dai ly spoken language, somet imes in the fo rm o f d ia logue or mono logue, w h i c h reads natural and ly r ica l . L u X u n frequently composed epigrams in the poems to enhance the w i s d o m and elegance o f the language. In a few special pieces such as "The Los t G o o d H e l l " and "Tombstone Inscript ions," vocabulary items f rom literary or Buddh is t c lassics and c lass ica l syntactic structures are occas ional ly employed to achieve an effect o f defami l iar izat ion. W h e n Ts i -an H s i a comments on the language in Wild Grass, he states, "he let pai-hua do things that it had never done before — things not even the best c lass ica l wri ters had never thought o f do ing in wen-yan. In this sense, L u H s i i n was a truly modern wr i ter . " 3 0 T o sum up, Wild Grass is a book that reveals the inner L u X u n . It is a magni f icent artistic crysta l l izat ion o f L u X u n ' s w i l l , emot ions, moral i ty , and intel lectual w i s d o m . Wild Grass is pr imar i ly a product o f L u Xun ' s genuine private feel ings, and displays L u X u n ' s sinceri ty and honesty. Once readers understand it, they tend to have a strong aesthetic Leo Ou-fan Lee, Voices from the Iron House, 1987, p. 93. 'Tsi-an Hsia, The Gate of Darkness, 1968, p. 151. WILD GRASS, CONCLUSION 179 response based on their own emotional experiences. In this sense, Wild Grass also possesses a universal significance. A s an artistic treasure, it is a necessary book to read for the understanding of L u Xun's complex intellectual and literary legacy. It is also very important to show one aspect of the achievements of modern Chinese literature in the twentieth century. GLOSSARY / g o A i g u bishou he touqiang £ " j = j " f H £ £ f & bu j\i bus hi ipM Buzhou shan i l l Cai Yuanpei l l T G i n Cao Kun Chang Weijun # * f £ ^ Chen Duxiu ^fcS&H Chen Ermei Chen Yuan WM Cheng Fangwu JSfcflflJ' Chuangzao she ®Jj£C%t Duan Q i r u i M ^ duanwen M$L eniao esheng fabi&m fandui youqing jihuizhuyi Feng Naichao ]B,ftM Feng Xuefeng }^1f 1$ Feng Yuxiang Fengmeng MM Fengtian I j l A Gao Changhong t ^ f x S f Geming wenxue j i ja-ffp- j t^ Guomindang HI Gws/zz xinbian t!$M-W\M H u Shi rTjoS Huagaiji Huagaiji xubian ^mM^M Iikura Shohei IfetT J W Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) $ | ft^E Jinde hui i2tl§# Jinshi i 2 ± Katayama Tomoyuki rT\L\^^l Kuriyagawa Hakuson MJl| |=j;fT L i Dazhao $ A U L i Jinglin ^ J c ^ L i Xiaofeng ^ / J M I I | L i Yuanhong %$~7U$k Lidaijiyuan bian, WiX^JG^m Lingfei ^~i< Linshi zong zhizheng l|raBT>^ # t i |£ Liumian pengbi, waijia dingzi 7\ [MMM, liwu L u Sun L u X u n (Lu Hsun) Mao Zedong Nahan f # j£ NiushouAh Pang, 4 1 ~UM$j nil ~J£ WILD GRASS, G L O S S A R Y 181 Nuwa izM Panghuang WM pojiaogu $ W # Q i Shoushan ^ r ^ L L j Qian Xuantong fJH£r|rJJ qianmian ffTtll Qing ffi qishen 3=LM Qiu Jin %kM qixin, ^ L > Refeng #ijxl renjianku A l K l f ^ sanwenshi f^3ti^F Shansi saozi J^Ltzg^l^ Shaoxing huiguan iri^^ztg she #5 Shen Yinmo VCf^fX shengxiao ^ ^ shenwai de qingchun #^ hfJljW# shi de sanwen i^ frijfSt^ t Shijing ifig shilianshi Xl&W shunxue 5ftlfil sw/s/n' ate l i a o ganxiang r^BTFJ^/hll^Jl Sun Fuyuan S u n ^ Sun Yat-sen U ^ l i j Taiyang she A K t t Takeuchi Yoshimi ft P^#?-Tayin £ # Wang Pinqing IrEtW Wei Lianshu l & j ^ i i Wei Suyuan ^ j ^ H Wengsun ft^ Wenhau da geming ~3CfoA^"fJp we w e M^ft W u Peifu ^ i l H ¥ wuxingan ;fc>L>j]f wuxwe c/e ^ j f l f l i j A M wwyaw buchou ^cW^Fft X i a Y u M Xiandai pinglun MiXMifa Xiandai pinglun pai MftWifaM Xianglin sao ###Jt Xiaogui /\^% xiaopin /hpp xiaosheguiguai X i n }L qingnian i/rW t^-Xinhai geming ^ ^ ^ - p p Xiucai ^si' xiuqi xzxwe fulfil X u Guangping Wr^ ^P X u Qinwen Wtfc3t X u X i l i n | § H § # X u Zhimo X u n jJi x«wa«g yehuacao §f j>eyow fife ew'ao ^$^fTj3£J=j vz'ge G-z'gaz — -f^ zS1^ Yin ffl youhun '0*M. youpaifenzi ^EjWij^-jr Y u Dafu £ | S & A Yuan Shikai ItlftgJt zawerc Zhang Chuandao(Tingqian) M)l\^0&M) Zhang Shizhao $ ± | ' J Zhang Taiyan $ A i ^ Zhang Xianzhong ^Wt^ Zhang Yiping ^^fx-# Zhang Zuolin Zhi l i Zhongguo zuoyi zuojia lianmeng Zhou Guanwu jo) M E Zhou Jianren j W J ^ A Zhou Shuren jWJWA Zhou Zuoren jWl f^A Z h u A n ^ ^ B i b l i o g r a p h y Abbreviation LXQJ: LuXun Quanji # f f l ^ r H (Complete works of L u Xun), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshu, 1987, 16 vols. LXSW: LuXun Selected Works, translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1980, 4 vols. Primary Sources L u X u n Prose Poetry: Yecao I f ^ (Wild Grass), LXQJ, vol . 2. "Tic i " MM (Inscription) "Qiuye" (Autumn Night) "Ying do gaobie" f ^ f f ^ M (The shadow's leave-talking) "Qiuqizhe" >fc^^" (The beggars) "Wo de shilian" (My lost love) "Fuzhou" MiK (Revenge) "Fuzhou qi'er" Jt 'fJLjJdl (Revenge II) "Xiwang" # M (Hope) "Xue" M (Snow) "Fengzheng" J*l ^  (The kite) "Hao de gushi" £FfAfW (The good story) "Guoke" (The passer-by) "Sihuo" ~FLX (Dead fire) "Gou de puojie" ^RjrTtJ^cio (The dog's retort) "Shidiao de hao diyu" XWttifttMX (The lost good hell) "Mujiewen" H?il§3t (Inscriptions on a tombstone) "Tuibaixian de chandong" M\W$L$$W$S (Viberation of the decrepit line) "Li lun" tufa (To express an opinion) "Zheyang de zhanshi" & # # J ® ± (Such a fighter) "Congmingren he shazi he nucai" XMiU^^M^ (The wise man, the fool and the slave) "Laye" i ^ P f (Dry leaf) "Dandan de xuehen zhong" iMfciftMM.^ (Amid pale bloodstains) "Yijue" — ^ (The awakening) Fiction: "Kuangren ri j i" $EA 0 iS (Diary of a mad man), LXQJ, vol . 1. "Yao" M (Medicine), LXQJ, vol . 1. "Mingtian" (Tomorrow), LXQJ, vol . 1. "Zhufu" (The new-year sacrifice), LXQJ, vol . 2. "Dixiong" k>51 (Brothers), LXQJ, vol . 2. "Duanwu jie" K f ^ f (The double fifth festival), LXQJ, vol . 2. "Lihun" (The divorce), LXQJ, vol . 2. WILD GRASS, BIBLIOGRAPHY 183 "Benyue" ^ (Flight to the moon), LXQJ, vol . 2. "Zhujian" f#$J (Forging the Swords), LXQJ, vol . 2. New style poetry: "Tamen de huayuan" Mjfft#:III (Their garden), LXQJ, vol . 7. "Taohua" (Peach blossom), LXQJ, vol . 7. Zawen: "Wo zhi jielieguan" f ^ T i ^ l M (My views on chastity), LXQJ, vol . 1. "Suigan lu 40" 40 (Random thoughts 40), LXQJ. vol . 1. "Xie zai Fen houmian" ^fe&Bffi (Postscript to Tomb), LXQJ. vol . 1. "Nahan zixu" Vfyffi £ (Self-preface to Call for Arms), LXQJ, vol . 1. Dengxia manbi" £TT7JI^I (Random writing under a lamp), LXQJ, vol . 1. "Gushi xinbian xuyan" r^l^iPf^ffW (A preface to Old Tales Retold), LXQJ, vol . 2. "Huran xiangdao III" i & f & f J ! j , H (Sudden thought III), in ZJfrO/. vol . 3. "Wuhua de qiangwei II" %1&ifiW%k, H (The rose without flower II), LXQJ, vol . 3. "Haishang tongxin" ^Jhilftf (A letter from sea), LXQJ, vol . 3. "Ji faxm" i S J t l ^ (Record of issuing pay), LXQJ, vol . 3. "Xiao zagan" / J ^ j i i (Little random thinkings), LXQJ, vol . 3. "Beijing Tongxin" ^ ^ i l f t (A letter from Beijing), LXQJ, vol . 3. "Sidi" ^Ei4 (Dead field), LXQJ, vol . 3. "Jinian L i u Hezhenjun" (In memory of Miss L i u Hezhen), LXQJ, vol . 3. "Xuaopinwen de weiji" /J^pn^trJiJJrlM (The crisis of short essays), LXQJ, vol . 4. "Tiangshuo meng" tyxi&W (Listen to talking about dreams), LXQJ, vol . 4. "Wo he Yusi de shizhong" $!c^inMfft#fW (I and the beginning and ending of Yusi), LXQJ, vol . 4. "Yecao yingwen yiben xu" If ^ J ^ t f ^ ^ J I 5 (A preface to the English edition of Yecao), LXQJ, vol . 4. "Suanzhang" (Settle an account), LXQJ, vol. 5. "Weizhang he timu" XMftl^LB (Assays and topics), LXQJ, vol. 5. "Shige zhidi" WWtZM (The enemy of poetry), LXQJ, vol . 7. "Zhe shi zheme yige yisi" &^&&^^M& (This is this kind of meaning), LXQJ, vol. 7. "Yinytte?" (Music?), vol . 7. "Wuti" (No title), LXQJ. vol . 8. "Wo de xiongdi" &tf)5l% (My brother), LXQJ, vol . 8. "Kumen de Xiangzheng, yingyan" ^ ^Pfy^M., ? l W (Preface to Symbols of Mental Anguish), LXQJ, vol . 10. "Sitang zhuanwen zaji tiji" | £ ^ i f ^ ^ ^ J I I i E (Prescript to Miscellaneous collection of brick inscriptions by LuXun), in LXQJ, vol . 10. L u X u n #JBJ and Jingsun J!;^: (Xu Guangping i^jT^f), Liangdishu yuanxin Mftk^M ftf (The originals of 77ze Letters From Two Places), Zhou Haiying ed., Hunan wenyi chubanshe, 1984. WILD GRASS, BIBLIOGRAPHY 184 Secondary Sources Abrams, M . H . , A Glossary of Literary Terms, Harcourt Brace Jovanouich College Publishers, 1993. Adler, Mortimer J. and Mark Van Doren, ed., Great Treasury of West Thought, New York: R. R. Bowkerco. , 1977. Alber, Charles, J., "Wild Grass, Symmetry and Parallelism in L u Hsiin's Prose Poems," in Critical Essays on Chinese Literature, Wi l l i am H . Nienhauser, Jr. ed., The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1976. Ch'en, David Y . , Lu Hsiin: Complete Poems, Tempe: Center for Asian Studies, Arizona State University, 1988. Chen Shuyu |^#7$f, LuXun shishi qiuzhen lu # f f l j f e ^ 5 j t j t j ^ (A real record of L u X u n historical facts), Hunan wenyi chubanshe, 1987. , Xu Guangping de yisheng i^f'^'tfy—^E. (The life of X u Guangping), Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1981. Chen Yan's WM, "Zhi Zhimo" (To Zhimo), in Chenbaofukan J S » J f J (Supplement of Morning Post), January 30, 1926. Ci Hai (Vocabulary sea), Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1979. De Zhao # '^J, "Yinianlai zhongguo wenxuejie shuping" — ^ ^ ^ I H ^ t ^ ^ - i i i ^ (Review of the Chinese literature circle in the last year), Liening Qingnian ^ ! J T 1=f^ F- (Leninist Youth), March 10, 1929, vol . 1, no. 11. 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Hsia, Tsi-an, The Gate of Darkness, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1968. Jiang Deming f H H ^ , "Dushi liangti" TMWWM (TWO topics of reading poems), Lu Xun yanjiu jikan llrffiW^SsSlf'J (Collected papers of L u X u n study), vol . 1, Shanghai wenyi chubanshe, 1979. Katayama Tomoyuki J t l J J ^ f ? , Rojinyaso zenyaku (A complete explanation of L u Xun's W i l d Grass), 1991. Kowallis , Jon Eugene von, The Lyrical Lu Xun — A Study of His Classical-Style Verse Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996. Krebsova, Berta, "Lu X u n he tade Yecao" #?Sffl{lJirJ*jIr# : (Lu X u n and his Wild Grass), in Wenyi bao ~$CzJ& (Literary Gazette), special supplement of 1956 vol . 20. Kuriyagawa Hakuson JaJJI| f=llt, Kumon no shocho ^I 'SJO M-Wi (Symbols of mental anguish), L u Xun's translation is in LXQJ. 1973, vol . 13. Lau, Joseph S. M . and Howard Goldblatt ed., The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature, Columbia University Press, New York, 1995. 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L i n Zhihao # ^ ? f j , LuXun zhuan # f f i f £ (A biography of L u Xun), Beijing: Shiyue wenyi chubanshe, 1991. L i u Yuanfang )Q\7tjy ed., Menzijinyi : H ! I ^ (A modern translation of Mencius' remarks), Jiangxi renmin chubanshe, 1985. Luo Zhufeng ^ t f M , Hanyu da cidian ^ X i f r A S f ^ (Grand Chinese Dictionary), Hong Kong: Sanlian shudian, 1993. Lyel l , Wi l l iam A . Jr., Lu Hsiin's Vision of Reality, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1976. Mail loux, Steven, "Interpretation," in Critical Terms for Literary Study, Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin ed. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1990. Mao Xiaoping " L u X u n yanjiu gaishu" W^M%%1^. (A summary of L u X u n study), in Zhongguo wenxue nianjian tpMJC^^-'M (Almanac of Chinese literature), 1991-92. M i n Kangsheng ^X^E, Diyu bianyan de xiaohua ^W^ht^^lA^^c (Small flowers at the rim of hell.), Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 1981. Prusek, Jaroslav The Lyrical and the Epic, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980. WILD GRASS, BIBLIOGRAPHY 187 Qian Liqun ®Mffi, "Gudu de sixiang xianxing zhe" ffl2&$BMftfiT% (Longly thoughtful forerunner), Zhongguo wenhua bao *p M 'X.'ikML (Chinese cultural gazette), Jan. 17, Qian Xingcun "Siqule de A h Q shidai" ft-£T$fflQttit (The A h Q era that has died), Taiyang yuekan A P T H ^ f\l (The sun monthly), 1928, no. 3. Qiao Feng %fti$. (Zhou Jianren J l H H A ) , LuejiangguanyuLuXun de shi ^ i ^ ^ c ^ ^ i f i f J i J ^ (Briefly tell something about L u Xun), Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1955. Qu Qiubai |I$CEz|, Qu Qiubai Xuanji | l $ C | = l $ y i l (A Selection of Qu Qiubai), Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1959. Sartre, Jean-Paul, Existentialism and Human Emotions, New York: Philosophical Library, Schultz, Wil l iam, " L u Hsiin, The Creative Years," unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1955. Shan Yanyi ^%X, " L u X u n shi ziti xiaoxiang tansuo" i WbffiiffiM (An exploration of L u Xun's poem "Personally Inscribed on a Small Picture"), Jinxiu cankao ziliao i £ l W # # | ? * 4 , ^jtU^m^^MMi^^^, 1977, no. 1. Also see Xue Suizhi i&Wc'^L and others ed., LuXun shengping shiliao huibian, | | } f i : z t \ ^ j f e ^ O S (A collection of the historical materials of L u Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol . 1. Shen Yanbing ttJRIftK (Mao Dun, ^ J j f ) , " L u X u n lun" (On L u Xun), Xiaoshuo Yuebao /H&M 3fl (Fiction monthly), vol . 18, no. 11, November 10, 1927. Shen Yinmo t fcFSt " L u X u n shenghuo de yijie" #3!<£$i TJ (A thing about L u Xun's life), Huiyi weida de Lu Xun AfJ5#ifi (Remembering great L u Xun), Xinwenyi chubanshe, 1958. Shi Shangwen 5 jnj and Deng Zhongqiang's XP&US Yecao qianxi i f ^ f ^ l f (A simplew explanation o f Wild Grass), Changjiang wenyi chubanshe, 1982. Su Xuel in ^ = f Wo lun Lu Xun f Jc i fc l l i f i (I comment on L u Xun), Taizhong: Wenxing shudian, 1967. , Zhongguo ersanshi niandai zuojia ^HS— H + ^ f t f r ^ (Chinese writers in 1920s and 1930s), Taibei: Chunwenxue chubanshe, 1983. Sun Fuyuan, #t^^| "Jingfu y i zhounian" JjCjIlJ—M f^ (One year of the Supplementary of Beijing Gazette), See Sun Yushi #3£^fEf Yecao yanjiu Sf^^f^S (Wild Grass 1996. 1957. WILD GRASS, B I B L I O G R A P H Y 188 study,) 1982. , Lu Xun xiansheng ersan shi # 3 S 7 f e ^ ^ — ( A few things about L u Xun), zhuojia shuwu, 1944. Sun Xizhen # 1 $ ^ , " L u X u n shige zatan" (Miscellaneous comments on L u Xun's poems), Wenshizhe ^tifel^f (Literature, history, and philosophy), 1978. no. 2. Sun Y u # W ed., Bei xiedu de Lu Xun ^ ^ ^ r K j # i f i (The L u X u n that was blasphemed), Qunyan chubanshe, 1994. Sun Yushi , " L u X u n Yecao chongshi I-VIII" WTSMW-MM, — A (Re-interpretation of Wild Grass, I-VIII), Lu Xun yanjiu yuekan W^MflR T U 1996, no. 1-8. , Yecao yanjiu I f ^ W i H l (Wild Grass study), Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1982. Takada Shoji M fflBS—, Rojin no shogai to sono bungaku # JS <D £ M t ^ <D 3 t ^ (Lu Xun's life and his literature), Daimeido JZ^M'SL, 1982. Wang Hu i SEB¥, Fandui juewang — Lu Xun de jingshen jiegou yu Nahan Panghuang yanjiu &M$M — # i f i f ^ M # ^ ^ - ^ P f i 5 i i ^ ! l W ^ (Resist despair — A study of L u Xun's spiritual construction as well as Call to Arms and Wandering), Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1991. Wang Jipeng z E t ^ i l , Yecao lungao (A treatise of Wild Grass), Chunfeng wenyi chubanshe, 1986. Wang Runhua "Chongxin renshi L u X u n " M§TiA. iK#i f i (Recognize L u Xun), in Ershiyi shiji ^"f"—tt t^E (The 21st century), no. 12, 1992. Wang Yao ^M, "Lun Yecao" i & S f ^ (On Wild Grass), LuXun zuopin lunji #fflfFnr4 T & H (Commentary collection of L u Xun's works), Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1984. Wang Yao 1EM and L i Hel in ^ f S J # , Zhongguo xiandai wenxue ji Yecao Gushi Xinbian de zhengming ^^MiXX^^M^-WC^W\Wi^^% (Modern Chinese literature and the debates on Wild Grass and Old Tales Retold), Shanghai: Zhishi chubanshe, 1990. Wang Zhefu i ^ T f ? Zhongguo xin wenxue yundong shi ^ M^^C^&^J$L (A history of Chinese new literature movement), Beijing: Jiecheng yinshuju, 1933. Wei Junxiu J Q J E H , LuXun yecao tansuo, # 3 f i S f ^ 4 r f ^ (Exploration of Lu Xun's Wild Grass), Shanghai nitushe, 1953. X i Jin Hjfe:, "Lu X u n shi benshi" # i & i # ^ l r f (Stories behind L u Xun's poems), Wenxue yuekan JC^H f J (The literature monthly), November 1956. WILD GRASS, BIBLIOGRAPHY 189 X u Guangping VrT'^, Xu Guangpingyi Lu Xun i ^ r ^ ¥ f £ l l i f i (Remembering L u X u n by X u Guangping), Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1979. 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Zhu), in Xue Suizhi 1^^^. and others ed., Lu Xun shengping shiliao huibian, # 3 S ^ £ ^ 2 ' 5£!40iti (A collection of the historical materials of L u Xun's career), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1983, vol . 3. Yuan Liangjun M H.^?, Dangdai Lu Xun yanjiushi ^W^kWffi'St^L (A contemporary history of L u X u n study), Shanxi jiaoyu chubanshe, 1992. WILD GRASS, BIBLIOGRAPHY 190 Zhang Enhe Irfci&Sl, LuXun jiushijijie # i E - I B i # ^ ^ (A compendium of divergent views on L u Xun's classical verse), Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1981. Zhang Yiping "Yemiao zatan" If/fi^iifclfMiscellaneous talks in a wi ld temple.), no. 5, Jingbao fukan i r ^ M ' J f J (Supplementary of Beijing Herald), March 31, 1925. Zhang Y u 3 f c H , "Yecao zhaji, daixu" K F ^ t L i F i , f t J ? (Reading notes of Wild Grass, in lieu of a preface), in Wei Junxiu J2 f J? H , Lu Xun yecao tansuo, # i f i S f ^ : r 3 ? ^ (Exploration of Lu Xun's Wild Grass,) Shanghai: Nitushe, 1953. 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Zhou Zuoren jnlf^A, Zhitang huixiang lu ^ f l^dlJ i^ ; (Recollections of Zhou Zuoren), Hong Kong: Sanyu tushu wenju gongsi, 1974. -, (Zhou Qiming ja\fn ^ ) , Lu Xun de qingnian shidai #iE< W FT" ^ ¥ HTft (The times of L u Xun's youth), Zhongguo qingnian chubanshe, 1957. , (Zhou Xiashou fflM%), LuXunxiaoshuo li de renwu # i £ . / J n f t J I # j A % (The characters in L u Xun's stories), Shanghai chuban gongsi, 1954. O R I G I N A L C H I N E S E PASSAGES C I T E D IN T E X T Footnotes for Pages 1-15 Introduction: WLM%$;W£-&ikfe, ft<<mmtfa.mtp>>, mmBm^m^-, # A M M ® m i m & . mm, & & m m m m . i2. mmwmmw, mmmm, w m ^ ^ m ^ n w ^ m m m ^ - m m m K 17. {fe#jW4NP&^&«!W>>m. is. i f « ^ f » , "fjjm^fflww^ 20. « r # ^ T ^ x t # ^ # f f l ^ 27. f)c-iiA^<<3T^>>^#^ mmm^jsfc, 6. # f f i M « J # j A £ H J t i n i I f c , 0 f v m i f « 3 r ^ » - ^ 1 l ^ # ^ i I A , » M A * i t , ^ ^ \ m x $ L , t m n m m ^ M ; A ^ ^ m m & m , t m r n t ^ m M - , ^ # M r ^ ^ E f r , f ^ A ^ W ^ A ; > F J i t t # W m t f t j i ^ i f t ^ ; * J i W A 3 l J & i £ | W | J O T Chapter 1: WILD GRASS, APPENDIX 192 Footnotes for Pages 16-36 Chapter 1: i o . ^m^mm^m, m ^ ^ ^ m ^ ^ n ^ m ^ , ummm^^xm nm^xmm, ^iimitm&Bm^, i m m g . m w ^ n t ^ , f i m ^ / u t m m m . mMm^mmmm&mmMiEMmMtim, i 4 . ^<m^»mm, n^m-km^M-^nm. mm^B^-mm &wj!§Mi&m±, mmrt-mm. mmmsk*\\-.mm^A-. (original emphasis) 16. WW/mm, mi, mn-to. /mmimi 1 7 . mM>m^M^^&mxm\^mmm^M±^mm^M^ i s . «mw»* m^MK *m$L &mm. 20. $4ft # / i t m ± £ i s mmm. 22. -m^m#m\m^m^Mfa&tf)ni%. Chapter 2: 5. ftmmm&mM®&wm#&±. 10. K ^ - p W A f n A ^ « t f Mmm&jKMBp&mm? 1 1 . * * J | / j \ IPI H£¥*fc/J>S3P4*, j l ^ W M f a ^ f r T J g , nT/f^  - ^ A L t f f i S i t * T , l l ^ » J A , M H ^ 4 p ^ t ^ T W ^ ^ ± ^ . 13. f f c f n w ^ ^ j m , M M . • / ^mmmmm^m^, m^wm. 14. f i j B ± x # / taip^m%mmmm*km, %®%&, t ^ m m m m ^ . 16. mm-. &MMJ, ^Aimm^t, ^ximm^, ^ A I ^ ^ T M , m m , 17. mi-^mx, SM-xmrn, m&M*. M m m m m M ^ m ^ n ^ ^ i^ff 19. ^Rmrrmmrm, mm^m%\mm±M, nmm, ^m^m-, xm* xiumm, %&&&Aim=rtii, %m^xm, m7%mm=f^^mmMmx 20. mm^mn, ^Mm, m a m $&Aumm&, ^n^mx±^ 21. umm^m^Anmi^nzi'mmmmKjtmAiiimi^nzi1, mnz WILD GRASS, AP P E N D I X 193 Footnotes for Pages 36-50 Chapter 2: 22. ffifr,—x%%*m&},—7%&Mmmm%. m&±.m, n^mmu, mm 23. m®L%tiL. 30. «xwmmm»-ifmmmm^mu^mm, -irm^mm^mtM *m. /&®%%%m&*Mn&UMm&%*mAm. 31. [ft%mmuu%&nm:'&inwL%, m m t ^ m ^ - m m&ft-mmiv w » ± j Bxtmmmmm^Am^njm tmtmmm, M$m$$>mmM. 33. mmnn, ^~xfm, \925^^mx"m}um^itmxmm^", is.mmm, I S L S I ^ J S , tM-^mz, mmm, mmtm, m^mm Am&*, s t f i f i t ^ T X T , T^-mimx-T; mm%m&,tmmx 36. s u ? ^ K mmmz, m^xr. 37. i W ^ I I & M , i § ; t £ A « P , M - M ^ . 42. f M i s i ^ M , i t i f n>^m^imm, ®Aim, -Mmm&. 43. A ^ M % ± m m T ± % m ® w A m f i L , mm^R&mm±. Amr&mm « 5 f e ^ ^ f M i l , M » A , M J J I J J , M ^ ^ l , 44. M ^ & i j J P i l f a T . 7 J - # ^ ; X-Wtk -WU 45. &£Amm^A 47. n^mmAm^mm. mmwMm, m^wum-, ^U^T^A, ii%Tumm,%j&mmmm. / n%ffit¥t&&mmKmM-Rmtt&A. m%mfyA®>mxmm. / mmmmm^m, ^ B a x m , M M ^ K ^ + K 49. Mm, %MM&,mm&fmm%}. / m i ^ - x ^ m . so. A ^ # a #A®m, m3tnmi%. 56. ^^JiSSft^W. 5s.<<&wM$±>>%%mTXA¥±inm^mmft. 59. ^ w s # w - # $ ± - / f f e j w s a , m « ^ A # f f f l 60. ^ ^ ^ r ^ A W i t ^ , ^ A ^ M l f f t m # £ $ ± ^ £ i l f c 3 J c t : . 63. # ; W t m / M l t l / f K ^ R j ! f ! # , / £ g * f c ± ; & . 64. ^ f £ P $ E ^ J t t , # 7 f l i f i J , @ ^ 3 4 0 ^ T ^ W ^ # ^ ^ W ¥ A . WILD GRASS, APPENDIX 194 Footnotes for Pages 50-63 Chapter 2: 67. i m m m m x ^ m ^ , ^ m ^ j K - ^ & m i t ; m m m & ^ M t : , ^ 7 X S i L ^ # . M M A ^ A I S r t t J ! ^ 69. f f t * i i 7 ^ B ^ e x £ ; 4 « M * 1 $ A ^ £ , ^ c ^ A ^ A ^ , 71. i S ^ - ^ ^ r W A S W f l T t , ; E 1 f - ^ f i i « F s r f t « , ^ - i i j B ^ E , -Jf*£, 72. t * ^ T , M T , ^ i m . *mLm±Mm.*T%&&. f M I ^ 0 T « ^ f f e M " ^ " r l < J ^ . 75. m W ^ M ^ I ^ ^ I M , M E ^ f f i ^ r , ^ # # ^ a # r , ®mmg& 2. » ^ X - A - A W T ^ A ^ * , JmXmtfc, m&TftttzL&T. 3. / r j ^ « i r W ^ » W f f l r a ^ T , 4 f Mmfv, W W i i l i , ^ W m i i 2 , i t f c ^ & T - l e l ^ X£M, i l t J t f , K m M - * , il£<<gf#:>>. # ? | J ^ « ^ W # I 4 , &Bm&}i&%*%K&ix$i. n m n & m ^ M , m.mxmm^.m. v i ^ i a ^ n m 6. £ SP£^, £ ittnJiBife. 8. T ^ A M ^ i & T ^ i f t t ^ M f f l , ^ S S ^ * ^ i ± S ^ W © f i " . g®m, nmm^m^, m^mkiEZ, m t m ^ , m i t t s . i o . mwM&mnm&, m ^ x ^ m m m ^ m m ^ m . n ^ x ^ m m ^ i m - . # i s . mmx i xT'b%&mz.mL&.\ 16. ^ f f l W ^ H . i 8 . i h A ^ ^ . / m A & m % ^ m $ T m m ^ t j m m i % x L . m m m m i m x m n±m&-~^t)m&#*&few&} ' E K - ^ - ^ A ^ W A I I 21. £B*Ji! iJ£0&M&£#M3£ffiE, JTOftfcSHfrMtt. 22. M M / £ ^ £ l f o 23. ^ n i M A ^ , l i i c ^ , B : E A ^ ; < : $ t . Chapter 3, WILD GRASS, APPENDIX 195 Footnotes for Pages 63-76 Chapter 3: 24. m^rm^mmji, mvm&mm, mvj, m- ' b % x & m \ ( « 27. ^ u m m m - ^ m ^ , vmn^MM^xs^xm^-mm^, 28. i m m $ ? m ^ j i x $ x mmmmm, m x m m m ^ z m , R&MT®. 29. t m i t ^ m m $ t ! i * j » 7 # ^ i m * m m m -xmx^w - mm 33. ^ ^ ^ j i t w f W M s ^ mil. mMm&^mztw&ttMMtk'fojj, M K ^ ^ s ^ w m m w f ^ w ^ ^ T , mttftxm% mx%^%fa^n&mmx, &&^nx±, M-m^tkmym. 35. mj%xm%fa±, IP^H^JAL , i s ^ t s ^ , t ^ M ^ m mm 36. f ^ f f i f t " A i T O , , f f i * i ^ # J . 37. ^x>%TL±wm^M^mmmn&xzmm, m^mwtkjb^rxmtm 39. n^nwm^m. 4 i . mMmM%/mmm±mm^i.xw. 43. f f c i ^ ^ ^ M ^ f A M B f T. 44. m^i#^W^"^"^AW"^iJ", ^ P ^ ± ^ # f f l ^ ' ' ^ M M t ^ W ? ^ ® ^ ^ W ^ ' 45. xmrn^mnrnmrn, m*%m, \%mm% -46. d f H c 0 f ^ ^ W ^ A ^ M , 3 G * M £ ; ^ ^ 0 f ^ ^ W l E * M , WUc 52. i t¥>M£7^A. 53. ^ a - m ^ m m u m E ^ m j . mmmmx^^n, mmitmx^ 56. m m m ^ m ^ m z n , $t^m&nw&&ww mmfe^mHmm m m . H ^ » ( t m I « # £ J S T ^ £ B . 60. U c ^ ^ a ^ « > L > , mm^tz±, %^mm, m>b, mm. 61. f ^ # * S I « , #*2JWfc; Hc##iiJ £ J g 7 ^ £ ± l f f ^ M , I^ L>, fit ' u ' 65. mmm^mTyAjj&^: m^Mpm? mm, m^w^-m WILD GRASS, APPENDIX 196 Footnotes for Pages 76-91 Chapter 3: 66. nmmiGMZjmHW&t / mm^mmm^ 76. 77. ^ mmM^&M^miimu, ^ i M m u m ^ n m m ^ 80. M T f f e £ S r M 6 W » # , i f e g f t j i f f e £ I B M W 3 t ^ J f f i t s . 85. ^ £ B r J l J £ & £ - H m n , T I ^ W M ^ . He £ B , i t f r ^ W f f i f f t , ^ £ a ^ M , J s J f ^ » M A ^ i , fr»£«^^*lW; liPl^ffiJIWI, * # , A % ^ F M m ' r £ & ¥ £ ¥ 3 f c i t t ^ ? £ J t £ & £ 4 m 87. 7 ^ « ^ t f j , g f « M M ^ / h M M . 88. ^^¥^m^iLRmm^HmM:fmnmM^m&-^, &&&mmft, 89. j i ^ E - # s m i f t # ^ m a . 95. ^ m * A & m ? m m - ^ & % . ^mm^xz^ ioo .2S/5*tesmit t$&t . & i f t 5 i L £ » & i f t & ^ b £ ; S 7 , f f e ^ J i m i l ^ ^ i i ^ M "5T. TTf*. n 101. ^ f ^ j i S . 102. ^ w « g i j ^ w ? E # ' f 3 * ^ , - f f i ^ , mmxmm^r11^, jEi&mmm 104. I n j ^ i f e M f i f e m ^ ^ i a * . 111. I B i n f i t l t t M r # / / $ ± / / # ^ 3 t B J W A / i t ¥ 112. ^ ^ H ^ A ^ ^ I ^ W ^ S f n m ^ T ^ ^ I ^ W i ^ . ^ - J t ^ J i -' i l l M ^ A J t a ^ W ^ . 114. ^ £ 0 t ^ , fliftpjm m ^ , s u t , m ^ ^ f ' m n 9 . ik&^miJi'kmmm, M i i i i i . 1 2 0 . f » ^ J y ^ WILD GRASS, APPENDIX 197 Footnotes for Pages 91-101 Chapter 3: 121. R-^m^urR-^tR^mHi,&-&mmmm^%,&-&m&m . 122. m^mm$uMi> t^mmm, ^mn%mto&M. 123. ^ m & m m m & m j , m n ^ s t . mat, m ^ ^ m r - , m 127. m m m u m m ^ m , m m \ m m m ^ m p - m , temmtm, ummmx 128. jxm&iznmmM, m m - ^ x . 132. 133. ? S R « « M - m 6 , ifcji: mmm&xmu^mtfj, ^ m m ^ i 136. S^^EA= i m ^ m , i m m m ^ m m m ^ m m, m & t h x x ^ m , m m m . &w, m&ik&imm, w i s i s ^ , it^xtmmm, 137. i n . ^ i m m m M x x . i4o. ^ ^ « ^ A M f i s ^ , ^MwiieMrrumfe, " m ^ t m ^ - n ^ m 1 4 7 . B&mm*fti£, jzmmw, ftt:##. " P * P & ! " f l ^ T , i g f t , "*3t i£*#nA"J&. " &^M#5'J±ftlJ#; " "K-m m i m m \mfamxpw&* 154. m n m m m m m m x i & umm, m^mmi^m^u-^m "£E7? " "it . — & " " i t . m " WILD GRASS, APPENDIX 198 Footnotes for Pages 101-121 Chapter 3: 155. m^mf^x, immmMAc^mmmMm. \57.^mMxmmm,mm^^ I ^ E ^ T I 160. mfrmu^x&mx&mim^mxm,m^mmmmm. t M ^ m , mmmiiXiiWAn. 161. ^mmsiMi-SMmsfmiXfo. 164. mmmTik'&^mmviT-, p m m m i m ^ x i t - m , m^M^rm^ \65. %fe%,^fwm-wm. 166. &mm, A ^ i M ^ r s , m t m m , t m ^ m ^ M -168. immmm, ^ m - r ^ m m no. & * i t t £ i f t E ^ E t : . m ^ m t - t ^ x ^ m , mxm%^m.tmmm. 173. u t r i m t m , * m m m —xmx^M - wimm. 174. ^ x ^ r m n m ^ ^ n m m n ^ x - z m m . Chapter 4: \Mmi\mmikXT, ttWMzmjE&m, m&m, xwmmmxn. mmm 7 . 5. ^mif^mxx^M^m, m » ^ m , ^ * A A I W F M , mxwm^& ^ t r n t m . ^ A W J I I ^ R^m&ttwcxm w ^ m a mx io. m j E t t ^ a m , ix x u zKXfeM, ^mmM^^xmtt, mmmxT. 1 2 . & - £ r t t A i t , w&w*#*%&Btrn, - w n x m i "r^mm-m 13. #^^^1^0 2i. m x m m ^ m & j m ^ t t m m ^ m r . 24. f l ^ M A i m 25 31. fokiTfr S I ^ P ^ : f M i A T O S , m^ftft. 32. 8Mi&nr#8:*PMfc, #^rt i )«a7i l i?L! n& ft&fcj&M,» 33. 4 i f r i f t « # £ M ± , R ^ i f j f , & ^ f « i - t 34. s ^ i i s p s f f i J f L K p q f r ^ ^ ^ , ximiMiitA^ mm^-w^mR 36. xmtm. / mmzwrn^-kx. 37. ^ n m i m m - m i m , m p m f t M t m t , ^.m^mm^mm. 38. ; & A A 5 f c £ « m w ^ m i m — M M , WILD GRASS, A P P E N D I X 199 Footnotes for Pages 121-131 Chapter 4: 3 9 . i m w M w m & . mffimfott&w%B,MJtjM&s%m&£me. 1R-M,mm 40. mmfoWL&&ffi*&M&}-l a x n^mmm, $t*m&. m r & ^ n m m m m m g mn. nrnMim, M T X — 41. H^m^mmtm, %mR&m?m g a. 43. m s m m m 46. &toffig&\hm;/m£^M\hxnj4&&xmmim. /^xmn^m^-, 47. ^ 1 * 1 $ ^ — r M * W = 48. i M i J ^ H T ^ f W ^ ^ i # . 49. TWE^tf j . 51. \mm%u%\mtm, im^mm^, ^ m ^ m ^ i t u zmwg&i, * mmp^foM, m m ^ m , m m & ^ m M . & £ - * I F J S , m i f ^ w 53. g Rft 54. A ^ 7 [ H T ; i l M A ^ f a l l ^ ^ t r f ; 7 J i j & T ^ E , ftn&lhmUP. mmmxK MMmmnmmq, &®&m®%mi\ y 57. &%mww&, &*n%mttw%.. 58. $m&&*&%%, m^mmmmmm. m ^ ^ , m t , WAU^m, ^ ^ % m m r ^ i f A , ^ n m g . 59. HU r L A 4 « , HcBPM Aspirin R ^ W M l t ^ Z , H A t W T . 60. mwimmnvztt^n. 6 1 . & M r ^ M . /$1§L. 63. « £ { f o > J 5 £ t N H * ^ W £ m . 65. A W ^ i ^ J I , A « E * £ J ¥ # , t r ^ f t ^ l f t L , f c f « 0 B f f i , tEtm^MMimtt m^mm^,», mm, vm^muwMAix% f ^ A t t ^ l , T f i i J ^ f t ^ f t f e M f t A ^ ; I K S t , J H ' j 7 l c i £ ^ T ^ i f t i f t " m ftraftA&l1^. 72. f T ^ T " A ^ T " W A J n f t # ± , fcLlT^T"#^Mft7tM^,i7Jlli. f l fn WILD GRASS, APPENDIX 200 Footnotes for Pages 131-142 Chapter 4: 76. %m ^ ^ M l ^ l T ^ ! 77. st^Mjt^m m&^m. ^ m m ± A m - M m >Afr 'j?M%£WAfaM, % m m r &<b, mmm w&, *imm n T J t ^ ^ a , AZ^MJ; immAmmmm; ^ i i T i A H u - D i ^ w ^ W M G f f t J K ; 7 ^ £ 7 m 5 f c n £ j i j & m | ^ . 78. m&}.bft&m&%. i m ^ , mM&, wmm&mp^. 79. $m&&&*mm&T. imm^3\mYm^m,^M\%B^-mm^m 80. ^ W W # B r t 6 J i * & ^ H t » ¥ ^ W W f f . 82. 3 ^ f t ^ F f t ^ l t t # # B ^ i £ 7 ? fHlM^#^WW#@S: M, ft, ffi^#J*Bl 41, ffi&m&}*ftZ% ttilMlfil, ^ f W f r r , mmm&i$mm&n'> mmM^mm^um^, mRn&m*\%m&£& 83. @ 3 / # * r l f t t t # ^ - m A , H c ^ ^ W i S M B P D f ^ 7 . 88. t t *Ezmta. 93. 7jC^fMAWJis7, - i J J # t ? ^ ± f f i ^ H , *Rj f t -3 f , T K T I ^ , 7X^11^. 96 WA±®, ^$Hit tAft i | t i f t* , # J A L , 97. f f t { « # p j 7 M « , mm\nxmm^Mr-w, tmmm, ummmx SiftWJ g BM*f3MK*i Bin-5 @ B ^ W A W ^ W f f i ^ . WILD GRASS, A P P E N D I X 201 Footnotes for Pages 141-153 Chapter 4: 101. m i ^ , M%ft>$L g VfoZM. 103. m%tmn&, mm^^^m, mit^x^, ^ ET, mx%<t\ %M!&&&«# 104. mR^m% " t m m*i&<bn, ^ m m w ^ x ^ w ^ m ^ , m m ^ x , T, m%>bn, &%%ttxw*fottn. log. ^ m m m x ^ R ^ m ^ , mmnmm-^mm io9. n r t i j i a i i f i i f e ^ a i T f i b f t g i f ^ s , M ^ ^ - ^ - w ^ i t ^ t i E g ' f f , i n . <<&%>>m^mmmmm, nm^mm^mm^mimmM, famm, imnmji, %m^mm£^ - m^^h - m, m mmmwrA^ i n . %® &mm*mm, wm*£, ftan # r r £ & ^ £ ^ i $ * M * t # ? m m f t ^ m m ^ ^ i m ^ m ^ M w m m ^ i ^ mmmm-u s . ^ m m ^ ^ m ^ m x m ^ m m u ^ m n n ^ m m i t 119. -k,mm imrim-um, ftmrnmr. - t m " m w ^ x m ^ ^ m ^ , " "m^n^Ext:, r m r . m&mmmtm 8lE£&«f j£a j*£M2ffe ; 8 M & S S M v £ , i » 7 K « nmmw&, &mxrr n ^ a T : ^ a i j i f t K ^ -120. m§£T-^&£*£#i t t<L\ T R ^ M ^ . 121. 0 £ ! ^EftA^, I S M I J i T ! 123. t ^ l A ^ £ ) ^ , # £ # i f % I T T ! * / » , H H & i A t f m 126 %-m$k,ik%&i&,n%m%. TO^A, &?r! 127 g-&, ^ ' J « a » f « £ f l ? $ » a i & I B , # ! * X M & * J i ? m ^ ? f ! WILD GRASS, AP P E N D I X 202 Footnotes for Pages 153-166 Chapter 4: 137. AH^TM, m m ^ m m , t m m m , &'m-mm. =r®=rm 138. m^mmTM, immmx-Mftx 139. mmm, AASI, xxtm, x=ru\mm, t^ft&mu. HO. ^mwmkzu^m-, xxxm&wm. x-m^m&xm-, xxm^m H I . mix^mB^^mmm, nmmxmmm m\x\kXM%m^m^nm, nnm-Y^m^xm. 142. f£-4rj: mttmmummm, ^mmx^wmm, mxxmm^% n*m' nmr. ^ m^m\H^mmmm^m^WM\nu mm*}-, m nmmm^xmm, &xmmmmz*, ^timnmrm mxm±wM^ mmwt, &M-nnx±i&, ^ - ^ « « i # t " . 146. ^fflkft, M^m^&x^mmmmmnmm, 147. ntim&jisf, immm&mz^mx, imn^^mmm^^^ 148. «j3tnf», &%&m%toWM&#nmft&>. 149. iwimmm, ^mmmxxrt, ^ w ; mxumm, ^mn^ua^n, * 150. ^ A^m^mmm, u^p.m^mH^mn, mm&mM 151. a m ^«m^»^mm«mn» mwmMWf, tmm 152. ttTmmwmgffi&iK, xxm&mw'imi&K n^un-m-, mnmmm M£%xmmT,m\nimm$jmixmfoZR<<?m>>. 156. 157. #S,(referring to X u Guangping)X*!Jf r r±f f^ i7 , W i t i S ^ ; ? 9fcfi»Sffl, 158. itmxx, mt&ziEmm5±¥tk&tk£%, %x®Mmm. 159. mimwimi&¥m%Bw, imim, n^mt^rn^mm (referring to x u Guangping)&j£'£MmT&&l, 161. mmpvm, immxn, 162. mx^mm&p, mwxifc, mm®, g mm, mu&^, m 164. mi&im&m®), ^®&\ mmnu^u^mmi 165. fcitM^WCft. 166. m^xmmx, ft%mm&. WILD GRASS, APPENDIX 203 Footnotes for Pages 167-179 Chapter 4: 169. mn&i&mm. &mtm,%\mz%%,mamtim^ ft, mmmizx^&m. mr\mft%a&m, ^m^mm, m%., \m, * A . m m ^ & i f , t m , » , ZIAA. 170. M A ± ^ # # » , If * # # # £ # : 3 t ± , £ # , S A , mmnp±rm*®ri%, iMi^u^tmmm^, msmrn'mAmnw. Conclusion: \3. i m , m ^ S , ¥ A T . i 4 . ^ m n ^ w . 16. H c f t ^ j A L J ^ ^ ^ T a S ^ ^ ^ ^ i ^ m f l aift, " A 3 i ± x " ^ " ^ A f t ^ ± X " f t w ^ m i w ^ ^ m mmnm&x, mm® A-, i m m m , %tf&%MA, g ast^t 17. ^ l ^ t B ^ W ^ T » J £ f t ' / r i e * . 27. mmm^A^mm. 28. U c W 3 i - / A g f ^ , ^ B J ^ B t , £ ^ ? E , xL£tt*ZB, m=f-^i%, A - 5 # , ^ 3/15 £ a , # £ - 5 0 1 , A ^ # , £ # - 5 H c # M » ^ f t ^ E t : ^ ^ , A i l 

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