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Shi Tuo’s alienated man and the times Henneberger, R.J. 1980

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cJ S H I T U O « S A L I E N A T E D M A N A N D T H E T I M E S 5. A . , T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f V e r m o n t , 1976 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E B E Q U I R H E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S ( D e p a r t m e n t o f A s i a n S t u d i e s ) H e a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s a s c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A S E P T E M B E R 1980 b y R.J. H E N N E B E R G E R M A S T E R O F A R T S R.J. H E N N E B E R G E R , 1980 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Brit ish 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 representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of PiS^^A STuP\£S The University of Brit ish Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date "MlD / * p i i ABSTRACT This t h e s i s focuses on the s h o r t f i c t i o n of the l a t e 1930 'S and e a r l y 1940 *S Chinese author named Wang Chang j i a n (pen names: Lu Fen and Shi Tuo ) , and t r i e s to e s t a b l i s h how i n the realm cf s t r u c t u r e and s t y l i s t i c s the a u t h o r ' s l i t e r a r y technique underwent c e r t a i n s h i f t s i n order to b e t t e r convey how the i n t e l l e c t u a l , p o l i t i c a l , and s o c i a l f o r c e s opera t ing on the Chinese scene i n the 1930's a l i e n a t e d man from h imsel f and h i s f e i l e w man. The I n t r o d u c t i o n p r e s e n t s : a summary cf p rev ious s c h o l a r s h i p dene cn Wang Changj ian ( h e r e a f t e r , S h i Tuo); an o u t l i r - e cf the a u t h o r ' s genera l c a r e e r ; a d i s c u s s i o n of the concert c f a l i e n a t i o n which w i l l serve as the foundat ion f o r our a n a l y s i s cf Shi Tuo's f i c t i o n ; and a synops is of t h i s t h e s i s ' s approach to the a u t h o r ' s prose. Chapter 1 d i s c u s s e s three s h o r t s t o r i e s which represent the a e t h e r ' s e a r l y pe r iod (193 1-1938) . Aside from i n v e s t i g a t i n g t i e t e c h n i c a l and themat ic mer i ts of these works t h i s chapter a l s o t races the i i rpact df two of C h i n a ' s g r e a t e s t w r i t e r s , Shen Corgwen and Lu Xun on Sh i Tuo's e a r l y n a r r a t i v e s t y l e . , 'Richard i s a cccd Icy . Chapter 2 t r e a t s Sh i Tuo's f i r s t pub l i shed c o l l e c t i o n of shor t f i c t i o n The V a l l e y (1936). These s t o r i e s evince the i n f l u e n c e of the Sat i cna1 Defense Movement i n l i t e r a t u r e . focus on the physical a t r o c i t i e s committed by invading foreign powers. He t r i e d instead to convey a sense of the alienation and psychological scars i n f l i c t e d by the turbulence of the times. Chapter 3 of t h i s thesis analyzes The Shanghai E p i s t l e s (194 1) and shows how Shi Tuo uses the technique of mosaic composition to paint a pessimistic portrait of Shanghai struggling to survive the Sino-Japanese War. In t h i s c o l l e c t i o n the individual i s no longer seen as having any sort of relationship with his fellow man, rather he i s competing with him i n a struggle to survive. The f i n a l chapter examines Memories of the Orchard Citjy (1946). These s t o r i e s stand at the pinnacle of Shi Tuo's l i t e r a r y career, because by using the technique of the 'short story cycle' he manages to go beyond the individual themes of e a r l i e r works to create a t o t a l p o r t r a i t of l i f e i n early Republican China, and the powerful s o c i a l , c u l t u r a l , and p o l i t i c a l forces of the times influencing i t . In sum, t h i s thesis analyzes stories which best represent the development of Shi Tuo's unique l i t e r a r y consciousness and t r i e s to establish that Shi Tuo's writing makes certain humanistic and philosphoical statements which demonstrate his subtle yet i n s i s t e n t sense of the alienating impact which the p o l i t i c a l l y and s o c i a l l y turbulent 19 30's had on China and i t s inhabitants. TAELE 0.F CONTENT'S Abstract i i I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 Chapter 1 .......................... 8 Chapter 2 ............................................... 36 Chapter 3 58 Chapter 4 80 Conclusion .............. 110 Notes ................................................... 114 Bibliography ............................................ 121 1 SHI TUO'S ALIENATED MAN AND THE TIMES INTRODUCTION Although Shi Tuo "j|tp was one of the most active authors on the l i t e r a r y scene during the 1930*s and 1940's, his contribution to modern Chinese f i c t i o n has generally been neglected. For the ¥estern reader i t i s d i f f i c u l t to understand why an author who was as well-published and recognized as Shi Tuo has remained overlooked for as long as he has. One possible explanation for such an oversight would be that Shi Tuo has suffered a fate which b e f e l l many of the authors just a r r i v i n g on the l i t e r a r y scene during the l a t e 19 30's: the talent of such authors f a i l e d to gain widespread recognition u n t i l the stormy 1940*s and following Liberation in 1949 many of these authors never published again. With the exception of an occasional book review i n the Li t e r a r y Supplement of the Da Gong Bao s f i (newspaper) of T i a n j i n and Shanghai, there exists v i r t u a l l y no Chinese l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m on Shi Tuo. In the West, only C.T. Hsia, Edward Gunn, and Zbigniew Slupski have contributed any scholarship on t h i s Shanghai author. . The Polish s i n o l o g i s t Slupski's a r t i c l e "The World of Shih T'o" ( Asian and African Studies 9, 1973), i s the most ambitious Western study done on the author. In t h i s a r t i c l e Slupski outlines Shi Tuo's general career, then he discusses in some d e t a i l the only two novels which the author ever produced. Ma Lan ( , 1948) and 2 Marriage ( Jiehun ^ £ iz^° , 1947). . Although Slupski's judgements are not always t o t a l l y acceptable, his study does deserve recognition for having saved Shi Tuo's name and contribution to modern Chinese narrative from ob l i v i o n . Just as there i s a dearth of study done on t h i s writer's f i c t i c n , what l i t t l e i s known about Shi Tuo's biography i s also very fragmented. Shi Tuo i s the pseudonym for Wang Changjian ^ l w j * w a s b ° r n i n He nan province in 1908. 1 As a young man growing up in the countryside Shi Tuo received very l i t t l e formal education. In 1931 he traveled to Peking, where he established himself as a writer of 'rural f i c t i o n ' by publishing short stories and reminiscences which used the countryside of his old Henan home as a backdrop. These early s t o r i e s of Wang Changjian's were published under his o r i g i n a l pen name of Lu Fen (a pseudonym which he used u n t i l 1946). For some unexplained reason several other authors from this period also adopted this pan name. , So confusing became the whole l i t e r a r y scene with numerous works being produced by dif f e r e n t pens but a l l under the same name, that Wang Changjian decided to a l t e r his nom de plume from Lu Fen to Shi Tuo. In an open l e t t e r to the other "Lu Fen's" he discussed the grounds for such a change. B a s i c a l l y , he was displeased that his own works were being confused with a reporter for the suspected traitorous newspaper Zhonqhua Ribap ^ \9 , who was also publishing under the name of Lu Fen. The second motivation behind h i s adopting a new pen name was in reaction to some c r i t i c s having labe l l e d him "arrogant" after having received the 1936 Da gong 3 Bao l i t e r a t u r e award for his short story "The Valley" ("Gu" )., 2 i n his open l e t t e r he s a r c a s t i c a l l y states that i f c r i t i c s i n s i s t on c a l l i n g him arrogant he may as well do something to j u s t i f y such a l a b e l l i n g , so he mockingly changed his pen name. 3 Before and during the war with the Japanese, Shi Tuo compiled various c o l l e c t i o n s of short s t o r i e s . at the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War he migrated to Shanghai, where i n hopes of perhaps cashing i n on an expanding theatre market, he shifted his attention to becoming a playwright.^ In a sense, Shi Tuo was not a genuine playwright, for he chose?, to adapt and translate plays rather than create from scratch. His f i r s t big h i t was The Eig, Circus ( Da Maxi Tuan jC^ L2j |Jl , 1948) which was adapted from the Russian playwright Andreyev's play, He Who Gets Slapped, The second play adapted by Shi Tuo and Ke Ling was Gorky's The Lower Depths ( Yedian j ^ ^ , , 1946) During his stay i n Shanghai he also managed to produce two novels Ma Lan and jiarrj.acre, both of which were published soon after the war. While i n the years prior to Liberation Shi Tuo did publish two novels, the reading public had generally come to know him not as a novelist nor as a playwright but as an author of short f i c t i c n . The short story was the e a r l i e s t genre in which Shi Tuo created and dominates his career as a whole. The f i r s t chapter of this thesis w i l l focus on the evolution of Shi Tuo's early prose (1931-19 38) and some of the forces which influenced his development as a writer. In l a t e r chapters t h i s thesis w i l l 4 discuss three volumes of Shi Tuo short s t o r i e s : The Valley { Gu fe- , 1936) ; The Shanghai E p i s t l e s { Shanghai Shouzha X- ~s^tt % ^ L i r 1941) ; and Memories of the Orchard City ( Guoyuancheng J i ^ ^ J t * , 1946) and w i l l try to establish that Shi Tuo's writing makes certain humanistic and p'hilcsophical statements which demonstrate his subtle yet i n s i s t e n t sense of the alienating impact of the times. A close inspection of the author's works suggests t h i s scheme and the s t o r i e s to be discussed show the development of Shi Tuo's unigue l i t e r a r y style and a r t i s t i c consciousness. Over the course of the l a s t century the concept of alienation has come to gather a number of d e f i n i t i o n s and applications. Karl Marx broke the ground f o r the modern concept of a l i e n a t i o n , which he saw as a r i s i n g from the relationship between a worker and his labour in an in d u s t r i a l i z e d society.* Other more contemporary d e f i n i t i o n s of a l i e n a t i o n do e x i s t , such as that of the psychologist R.D. Laing who has said that "the condition of al i e n a t i o n , of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one's mind, i s the condition of normal man."5 The d e f i n i t i o n of a l i e n a t i o n which w i l l serve as the foundation f o r our study of Shi Tuo's f i c t i o n does not f a l l into either of these categories, but i s that of the psychologist E r i c Fromm: By alienation i s meant a mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an a l i e n . He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his own world, as the creator of his own acts—-but his acts and their conseguences have become his masters. . . , . , The alienated person i s out of touch with himself as he i s out of touch with any other person. He, l i k e the others, i s experienced as things are experienced: with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the 5 world outside productively, 6 What i s key to note about our d e f i n t i t i o n i s that i t goes beyond a s u p e r f i c i a l description of external symptoms and characterizes alienation as a "mode of experience." In t h i s thesis, then, we w i l l examine Shi Tuo's technique, form, and themes i n order to show how the author r e f l e c t s the s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l o rigins of this mode of experience, as well as the nature of alienated man in r e l a t i o n to himself and mankind. In 1936, Shi Tuo was awarded the Da Gong Bao l i t e r a r y award for his short story "The Valley" ("Gu" , 1936).. after receiving t h i s prestigous award Shi Tuo's reputation began to grow, so much so that in the years 1937 and 1938 he published no less than four c o l l e c t i o n s of short prose pieces: Memories of Li men { LiJSJS S h i j i ^ ^ ' 19 37) ; The Declining Sun ( JL35.IS Guano, ft, , 19 37) ; The Wild Birds Ant^ologi ( Yeniao J i ^ ^ , 19 37) ; The Rivers and Lakes Anth cloqy ( Jiang.hu J i >i- , 19 38 ). The arrangement and content of these four volumes may best be described by the words of Slupski, who commented on Shi Tuo's f i c t i o n by saying that "his short prose pieces have no fixed form and the l i n e drawn between short story, essay, and mere report tends to disappear. 1 1 7 Many of the short s t o r i e s included in these c o l l e c t i o n s were previously unpublished works. Thus, although the The Rivers and Lakes Anthology did not arrive on the l i t e r a r y scene u n t i l 1938, many of i t s s t o r i e s had been created long before the publication of Shi Tuo's f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n The Valley. The f i r s t 6 chapter of t h i s thesis w i l l discuss three such s t o r i e s : "Cheng Yaoxian" ( 4$. 1$f^ ^ L> , 1935) ; "The Pilgrim" ("Xingjiao Ren" ^ l ' S^ f ^ 1 9 3 4 ) « a n d "Night in the Valley" ("Gu zhi Ye" 2- /f^- ' 1 5 3 5 ) * These s t o r i e s represent Shi Tuo's early r u r a l style and show him as developing a brand of prose which reflected his own unique world-view. Aside from discussing the technical and thematic merits of these early works we w i l l also trace the impact of two of China's greatest writers, Shen Cong wen y^^$L>C_ a n ( i L u X u n J ^ jfL on Shi Tuo's early narrative s t y l e . The Valley represents Shi Tuo's f i r s t published c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s . Appearing during a period when China was suffering under foreign oppression, this c o l l e c t i o n of s t o r i e s shows influences of the National Defense Movement in l i t e r a t u r e . Online ether authors of thi s period, however, Shi Tuo was not content to create sterotyped anti-Japanese f i c t i o n . . Shi Tuo used foreign oppression and Japanese encroachment as a backdrop, but rather than focusing on the physical a t r o c i t i e s committed by invading foreign powers he t r i e d to convey a sense of the alienation and psychological scars i n f l i c t e d by the turbulence of the times. During the course of the Sino-Japanese War Shi Tuo moved to Shanghai and i n The Shanghai E p i s t l e s he once again seeks to reveal the impact of such p o l i t i c a l l y unstable times on China. Unlike in The Valley, however, the author's focus of attention i s not on r u r a l China but on Shanghai's petit-bourgeois c l a s s . Shi Tuo uses the technique of mosaic composition to paint a 7 pessimistic picture of Shanghai struggling to survive the Sino-Japanese War and the physical and psychological impact which these p o l i t i c a l l y unstable times had on a l l Shanghai's c i t i z e n s . Shi Tuo's The Shanghai E p i s t i e s portrays a society where the i n d i v i d u a l i s no longer seen as having any sort of relationship with his fellow man, but competing with him in a deathly struggle to survive. Memories of the Orchard City i s Shi Tuo's f i n a l c o l l e c t i o n of short f i c t i o n . In t h i s volume Shi Tuo uses the technique of the 'short story cycle* to r e f l e c t the problems of a t r a d i t i o n a l society confronted by change. From an a r t i s t i c standpoint, Memories of the Orchard City, stands at the summit of Shi Tuo's l i t e r a r y career, for i t presents his cumulative vision of the powerful s o c i a l , c u l t u r a l , and p o l i t i c a l impact which the events of the years 19 1 1 - 1 9 3 1 had on China. In these s t o r i e s we not only note a re-assertion of certain themes which concerned the younger author, but also a consummate re-working of e a r l i e r themes into a narrative of greater scope and complexity. In sum, t h i s thesis w i l l consider works which seem to best represent the development of Shi Tuo's l i t e r a r y v i s i o n . . Our analysis of s t o r i e s from various c o l l e c t i o n s w i l l reveal how in the realm of structure and s t y l i s t i c s Shi Tuo's l i t e r a r y technique evolved over time i n order to better portray various aspects of the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l turmoil of the 1 9 3 0's and 1 9 4 0's, and to better convey his subtle yet i n s i s t e n t sense of the impact which these years had on their inhabitants., 8 CHAPTER J In attempting to establish the various stages of Shi Tuo's l i t e r a r y career, the paucity of study done on the author necessitates that we examine a number of diverse sources; even then many det a i l s about the author remain obscure. In an a r t i c l e published as a supplement to his 1948 novel Ma Lan, t i t l e d "To Messrs. Lu Fen" ("Zhi Lu Fen Xian sheng men" y^i /£j ^ ^ ' S n^" T u o c o m m e n t e c i that he began using the pseudonym Lu Fen i n 19.31. As t h i s was his o r i g i n a l nom de £lume we may assume that he launched his l i t e r a r y career around that year. At that time, Shen Congwen had placed him, along with many other young writers, such as L i Ni , He Qifang ^ v j j ' J $ ' " - ^ f ' a n d L ^ Guangtian ^ ^ , under the guidance of the Literary Supplement to the Da Gong, Bao " ^ L . (newspaper) of T i a n j i n , which he then edited.\ In t h i s chapter, aside from assessing the impact of Shen Congwen and Lu Xun on Shi Tuo's early prose, we w i l l also discuss three s t o r i e s representing Shi Tuo's developing narrative s t y l e . To reduce Shen Congwen's long and distinguished l i t e r a r y career to a sentence or two i s to do the author a huge i n j u s t i c e ; nonetheless, in the annals of modern Chinese f i c t i o n he w i l l be best remembered as an author who stressed h i s r u r a l o r i g i n s : I am a countryman. The statement i s neither pompous nor 9 s e l f - e f f a c i n g . The countryman i s one whose personality i s deeply rooted in the country. He has his own sense of love, hatred, sorrow and happiness. As oppossed to the c i t y man, the countryman i s stubborn, and conservative, lacking guile but not alertness. His love for the s o i l i s consummate. He i s serious about everything, so much so that he appears i d i o t i c . 2 Shen began contributing prose to newspapers under the pseudonym of Xiu Yunyun ^j/fs. -^N i n 1923. 3 In those early publications he t r i e d to convey the multitude of sights and sounds experienced i n h i s wanderings about China. While these s t o r i e s were highly successful in th e i r a b i l i t y to evoke mental images, Shen was at his best when he wrote of that which was closest to him: the r u r a l dweller. He wrote of his novelette The Border Town ( Jiancheng {*jf _ ' 1 9 3 2) : [ i n i f ] I want to express a form of l i f e which i s f i n e , healthy, and natural, and not against human nature. My intention i s not to take the reader on a tour of Daoyuan F the border town] . I want to take a few ordinary people who l i v e in a small town in the Yu r i v e r area i n order to show the reader how they l i v e i n their share of sorrow and happiness when involved i n a human a f f a i r , thus giving an accurate i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the word love. . . .. * Shi Tuo demonstrated a "pre d i l e c t i o n for the r u r a l subject matter" 5 reminiscent of Shen Congwen, yet h i s writings did not always express a form of l i f e which was f i n e , healthy and natural. In the opening paragraph of "The Giant," ("Juren" , 19 36) Shi Tuo remarks: "I r e a l l y d i s l i k e my home town, yet I have fond memories of that great p l a i n . " 6 Many stories from Shi Tuo's early period paint negative . and sarcastic images of small town l i f e , while others are completely devoid of any mocking commentary and are s t r i k i n g for the sentimental and reminiscing tone which they take on, 10 B a s i c a l l y , Shi Tuo seems to have had a mixed view of l i f e i n the countryside and his stories c e r t a i n l y r e f l e c t t h i s emotional v a c i l l a t i o n . Thus, while his opening comments i n "The Giant" reveals him as having no great affection for his native parts, the story s t i l l contains hints of h i s nostalgia for r u r a l l i f e . The story centres on an old s t o r y t e l l e r who returns to his native v i l l a g e after a twenty year abscence. Upon returning, the v i l l a g e r becomes melancholy and depressed, r e a l i z i n g that in having been away for so long he has become a stranger i n his own home town. Finding the situation unbearable, he moves from the v i l l a g e to a nearby farm. Here he leads a l i f e of simple pleasures with only his work and a few barnyard animals to keep him company. The story concludes with Shi Tuo celebrating this simple and unencumbered existence: He [the s t o r y t e l l e r ] stood within the sea of time, the sea of manknd; months and years passed, people died and he stood alone. He was a youth forever, l e t t i n g his neighbors go scratch and fight over t r i v i a l matters. 7 aside from "The Giant," there are a number of other prose pieces which reveal the thematic impact of Shen Congwen's l i t e r a t u r e on Shi Tuo, for example, "A Piece of Land" {"Yi Pian Tu," Da Gong  Bap Dec. 13, 1936). Perhaps the most noteworthy c h a r a c t e r i s t i c which these two authors share i s an embellished and poetic writing style which both employ i n many of t h e i r s t o r i e s . , Shen Congwen created some of h i s best prose when he attempted to convey in words the beauty and mystery of the natural world. I t was t h i s aspect of Shen's genius, this a b i l i t y to paint a landscape with words that 11 earned him the t i t l e of shirgn { ^ — , poet), At times i n his career Shi Tuo was able to match the b r i l l a n t l y r i c a l prose produced by Shen, At t h i s stage of his career, however, Shi Tuo's l y r i c a l a b i l i t i e s had not yet f u l l y matured and can be described as being inconsistent. Many of his prose pieces from th i s period contain s t y l i s t i c defects reminiscent of the a r t i s t i c flaws which often plagued the young Shen Cong wen. Despite his s e n s i b i l i t y to a wide range of experiences Shen's early f i c t i o n was marred by an undisciplined writing s t y l e which was prone to "superfluous d e t a i l and essay-like and translated in an English anthology of his f i c t i o n , we note how shen's early prose technique was often too inexperienced to deal with his f e r t i l e imagination.: Among the Miao's, the White Ear t r i b e was famous f o r i t s handsome youth. It looked as though the parents of that d i s t r i c t had a l l participated in the task of carving a statue of the God Apollo, and so handed down to their sons a model of beauty. Longzhu, the son of the c h i e f t a i n was seventeen years old, and he was the most handsome of a l l the handsome sens of the t r i b e . As beautiful and strong as l i o n and as gentle as a lamb, he was the archtype for man; he was authority, strength, and l i g h t . Because of his beauty he deserved a l l these similes. As with beauty he was g i f t e d also with moral virtue, which f a r surpassed the share cf ordinary men. 9 The above passage i s a t y p i c a l example of Shen's early prose. As a young writer, Shen's fascination with the customs and r i t e s of aboriginal t r i b e s encountered i n his wanderings was outmatched only by h i s desire to somehow incorporate his experiences into works of prose. In short s t o r i e s , such as "Longzhu" and "Under the Moonlight" ("Yue Xia de Xiaojing" d i s c l o s u r e s . " 8 From a story e n t i t l e d "Longzhu" ( 12 tfy , 1932) Shen's experiences find a form f o r expression, but his inexperienced pen f a i l s to capture the o r i g i n a l power of the experience which so moved him. In spite of these early d i f f i c u l t i e s , added experience and a greater degree of understanding of the formal properties of the modern short story eradicated many of Shen's early s t y l i s t i c problems, and in time he was to emerge as one of the most distinguished writers of the l a t e 1920's and the 1930's., While Shen's f i r s t attempts at prose were judged to be "verbose and cumbersome,"10 Shi Tuo's were c r i t i c i z e d for being " a r t i f i c i a l , wordy, and f a t i g u i n g . " 1 1 A major technical defect of Shi Tuo's prose from the 1931 to 1938 period was his often overzealous devotion to l y r i c a l l y describing even the most mundane of events or scenery. In delineating objects of nature l i k e the sun, moon or the earth, Shi Tuo frequently r e l i e d on banal generic adjectives, such as, "the earth i s a 'mother',who •takes f r i g h t ' , 'holds her breath', 'slumbers with her red-brown bosom uncovered', and so f o r t h . " 1 2 In passages such as these, Shi Tuo's descriptive technique exhibits degrees of variation i n content and grammar, but the p a r a l l e l s drawn, fo r example, between the sun and some other c e l e s t i a l entity are so overdrawn that they become tiresome: Village elders say that the sun god resides i n the far away and distant sea. Nobody knows just how beautiful and b r i l l a n t i t s shine r e a l l y i s , It i s from here, however— even i f she only knew this from her dreams and from myths— that the sun, r i d i n g in a golden chariot began i t s d a i l y o r b i t . The gleam of i t s arrows blazed a path, flew over t a l l mountains, vast plains, r i v e r s and lakes. They made a hissing sound as they swept the heavens, , . , . 1 3 13 In t h i s story call e d "The Pastoral Song" ("Shou Ge" i^K, Jsfj? , 1936) Shi Tuo's l y r i c a l style'and pastoral v i s i o n are inseparable. That i s to say, the author indulges i n such ardent and exaggerated expressions of feelings to convey his idealized vision of a r u r a l people's uncompromising reverence for the natural world, In the f i n a l analysis, however, such over-adorned description f a i l s i n t e r n a l l y to achieve what Shi Tuo set i t out to do. Aside from being awkward amd loquacious, the analogies drawn are s o j a r t i f i c a l . and ornate that they cannot leave a strong impression. They become exaggerated romantic decoration and non-functional backdrop to the action of the story. B a s i c a l l y , at t h i s stage of his career i f would appear that while Shi Tuo may have had Shen Congwen's l y r i c a l eye his prose a b i l i t i e s had not yet f u l l y matured. Yet despite having to endure a period of development before he was able to take f u l l control of t h i s type of narrative defect, other s t o r i e s from this period reveal his potential for creating works which express his own unique world-view. These s t o r i e s w i l l be discussed in a future section. Aside from assessing the impact of Shen Congwen on Shi Tuo's early prose technique, Zbigniew Slupski has also t r i e d to point out the influences of another great Chinese author, Lu Xun. Unfortunately, because the Polish s i n o l o g i s t ' s study i s concerned more with providing a thematic overview of Shi Tuo's works, he f a i l s to discuss i n d e t a i l many of the common narrative features which the two authors share. Lu Xun (pen name for Zhou Shuren ) was a 14 medical student i n Japan when he suddenly chose writing as a profession after seeing a news s l i d e of the humiliation of his countrymen during the Eussian-Japanese War of 1904-1905. In the preface of his f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s c a l l e d C a l l to Arms (Nahan <}()9 , 1923) Lu Xun r e c a l l s t h i s incident; One day I saw a fil m showing some Chinese, one of whom was bound, while many others stood around him. They were a l l strong fellows yet they appeared completely apathetic. According to the commentary, the one with h i s hands bound was a spy working for the Russians, who was to have h i s head cut off by the Japanese mil i t a r y as a warning to others, while the Chinese beside him had come to join the spectacle. Before the term was over I had l e f t f o r Tokyo, because after t h i s f i l m I f e l t that medical science was not so important aftera11. The people of a backward nation, however strong and healthy they may be can only serve to be made examples of, or to witness such f u t i l e spectacles; and i t i s not necessarily deplorable no matter how many of them die of i l l n e s s . The most important thing, therefore, was to change the i r s p i r i t , and since at the time I f e l t that l i t e r a t u r e was the best means to this end, I was determined to promote a l i t e r a r y movement.i* I t was because of the above incident that Lu Xun abandoned a medical career for a l i t e r a r y one, believing that the best way he could serve his country was as a s p i r i t u a l physician. C a l l to Arms i s one of the most celebrated c o l l e c t i o n s of st o r i e s ever published in China. In a story c a l l e d "Kong Y i j i " ), Lu Xun probed for the f i r s t time many of the s o c i a l i l l s plaguing Republican China. The story i s sketched by an adult narrator reminiscing about his early days as a lackey at a l o c a l eating-house c a l l e d Prosperity Tavern. The c l i e n t e l e of the Prosperity Tavern are mostly members of the "short-jacketed" (working) cl a s s . The tavern's atmosphere i s usually quite somber, except for when a patron nicknamed Kong Y i j i a r r i v e s . In contrast with the regular c l i e n t e l e , Kong wears a 15 tattered scholars' gown and i s the only long-gowned customer who associates with the tavern's common folk. Despite being clad i n the t r a d i t i o n a l garb of the i n t e l l e c t u a l class and i n t e r l a c i n g his speech with maxims quoted from the c l a s s i c s , Kong has never even managed tc obtain the lowest of a l l o f f i c a l ranks, the doggedly views himself as a member of the scholarly class and when he puts cn his q u a s i - i n t e l l e c t u a l a i r s the other tavern patrons delight i n mocking him. Having never passed the c i v i l exam, Kong i s forced to eke out a l i v i n g as a scribe and even here he gets into trouble by st e a l i n g his employers' books to finance his fondness for drink. Kong's stealing usually just r e s u l t s i n a public thrashing. One day, however, he makes the mistake of trying to s t e a l from the home of a high-ranking o f f i c a l . After catching Kong i n the act, t h i s o f f i c a l orders his henchmen to break Kong's legs. Rendered a v i r t u a l c r i p p l e , Kong's mobility i s severly l i m i t e d . After a long abscence, Kong returns to the tavern one day by dragging himself along the ground on a piece of rush matting. Despite his p i t i f u l state the Prosperity Tavern's owner r i d i c u l e s him as harshly as ever. Kong's eyes plead with him to d e s i s t , but i t i s to no a v a i l . Disheartened beyond words, Kong drags himself away from the tavern and i s never heard from again. Kong's pathos l i e s in his blind acceptence of the r u l i n g classes norms (where, f o r example, success and f a i l u r e was measured by one's a b i l i t i e s on the c i v i l exam) and his u n r e a l i s t i c clinging to a r i s t o c r a t i c ways. In b r i e f , Lu Xun's xiucai ( ).- In spite of his academic f a i l u r e s , Kong 16 message stands between hi s compassionate portrayal of Kong and his description of the cruelty and callousness which the other tavern patrons show to Kong's sorry plight. Having outlined t h i s story of Lu Xun's we s h a l l now turn our attention to Shi Tuo's "Several T i r i n g Conversations" ("Juan common to both works. As Slupski has accurately pointed out, both Lu Xun and Shi Tuo wrote s t o r i e s depicting characters' apathy and indifference in the face of horror. In "Several T i r i n g Conversations," Shi Tuo portrays v i l l a g e r s ' reaction to the executions c a r r i e d out in t h e i r small community by the l o c a l puppet government. The background and d e t a i l s of these executions are never d i r e c t l y portrayed; rather, one learns of v i l l a g e reaction to such events via snatches of "conversation" which form the plot of the story. The conversations are guite varied;: one involves the executioner and two of his admirers; a second involves a young g i r l imploring the executioner for the d e t a i l s as.to how he c a r r i e s out his appointed task; and one f i n a l one i s between two Western ministers discussing their reaction to Chinese l i f e . In "Kong Y i j i , " Lu Xun repudiates the cruelty and hypocrisy of small town l i f e by sketching Kong's tragic demise against the backdrop of the Prosperity Tavern and i t s patrons' cold and callous nature.. In analyzing "Several Tiring Conversations," t h i s technique of Lu Xun comes immediately to mind. Each conversation recorded in this story of Shi Tuo's further illuminates the v i l l a g e r s ' apathy and peverse inte r e s t 1935) and d i s c u s s a t e c h n i c a l f e a t u r e 17 to the gruesome events being carried out around them.. Furthermore, besides t h i s fundamental approach to subject matter, both authors employ a si m i l a r narrative agent to mediate t h e i r t a l e s . Lu Xun heightens Kong Y i j i ' s pathos by making use of an almost emotionless narrator. During the course of recounting events which occured to him ten years ago Lu Xun's narrator points out that Kong was, i n part, the author of his own f a i l u r e . Despite the accuracy of such an observation one cannot help but be disturbed by the behavior of Kong's fellow patrons who take such a peverse delight i n taunting him. This want of compassion on the part of these people s i g n i f i c a n t l y heightens one's sympathies for Kong, Moreover, what heightens one's sympathies even further i s that t h i s adult narrator shows absolutely no more involvement or compassion for Kong's demise now than he did ten years ago as a mere youth. Actually, the only reason why the adult narrator remembers Kong at a l l i s because he provided the otherwise cheerless tavern with a l i g h t moment or two. In b r i e f , even more disturbing than the cruelty which the characters of the narrator's reminiscences show towards Kong i s that t h i s adult narrator s t i l l suffers from a t o t a l lack of insight and sympathy to Kong's f a l l . This lack of emotion and vision creates a greater degree of emotional distance between reader and narrator, and i n t e n s i f i e s even further one's sympathies for Kong. In "Several T i r i n g Conversations," Shi Tuo creates a structure similar to "Kong.Yiji," in that as the story develops 18 one becomes further and further disturbed by the actions and attitudes of the dramatis personae. Furthermore, even more disturbing than the apathy and peverse inter e s t which the characters show for the executions carried out i n t h e i r v i l l a g e are the words of the narrator himself:: Everyday a few people are t i e d up and sent to say good-bye to the world, We've a l l pretty much gotten use to t h i s and i t r e a l l y i s n ' t much of a big deal. . . . , , , It's seemingly strange, but i n t h i s l i t t l e town there r e a l l y i s n ' t anything strange about i t at a l l . They [the townspeople] say, "This? Why t h i s sort of thing has been going on since the e a r l i e s t of times, but now people have turned i t in t o a hobby; i t ' s r e a l l y a l l guite the sanie."»5 Such unfeeling commentary i s , of course, i r o n i c . I t distances one emotionally from the narrator and i n t e n s i f i e s our empathy and anguish for the events and and the characters' reaction to them. In both "Kong Y i j i " and "Several T i r i n g conversations," the authors have heightened reader response by using a narrator who i s as unmoved by the events he describes as the characters themselves. Aside from the si m i l a r narrative agent i n both s t o r i e s , Lu Xun and Shi Tuo also share a number of motifs, . Perhaps we can see evidence of t h i s technical s i m i l a r i t y most concretely i n Shi Tuo's "Sickness" ("Bing" > 1937) and Lu Xun's "Medicine" ("Yac" j | L , 19 19). In the closing section of Lu Xun's work, one reads of two \ mothers standing by adjacent graves, each mourning their respective son's death.. One of the youths has been executed as a revolutionary by the Manchu government, the other suffered from a case of consumption and died when a l a s t - d i t c h "cure" of 1 9 eating a dumpling soaked, i r o n i c a l l y , in the fresh blood of the executed revolutionary f a i l s to save him. In her mourning.the mother of the revolutionary notices a wreath of flowers on her son's grave and taltes i t as a sign of his disturbed soul. Seeing a raven on a nearby branch the mother blurts out to i t : "If ycu are r e a l l y here and can hear me then l e t t h i s raven f l y over the top of your grave before my eyes." 1 6 The raven remains on the bough of the tree, however, "perched immobile as i r o n . " 1 7 After resting a few seconds i t caws out loudly, "stretches i t s wings, braces i t s e l f to take o f f , then f l i e s l i k e an arrow toward the far horizion. 1 , 1 8 While the symbol of Lu Xun's raven has been debated extensively, "in both Chinese and Western t r a d i t i o n s the raven has mainly represented tragedy, death, f r i g h t , and the unknown."19 Viewed from t h i s perspective, the raven's sudden f l i g h t l i k e an arrow to the horizion may be interpreted as Lu Xun's vision of the vast hardship and tragedy which b e f a l l s a c t i v i s t s seeking p o l i t i c a l change. In essence, i t i s an ambiguious symbol, representing at once a strong revolutionary s p i r i t which dares to explore new p o l i t i c a l horizions, yet one whose ultimate accomplishments and tragedies l i e s i n the vast unknown. Shi Tuo's short prose piece "Sickness" has three d i s t i n c t sections. Written some thirteen years after "Medicine," a l l three sections are the reminiscences of a narrator who i s at home sick i n bed. In the f i r s t section the author r e c a l l s a period of childhood i l l n e s s and in the t h i r d section he revives 20 memories of some of the mischief he and his brother would get into during Chinese holidays. In tone, these two sections r e c a l l many of Lu Xun's youthful reminiscences, such as "The Vill a g e Opera" ("Canzhong X i j u " <^  , 1923) or others from his c o l l e c t i o n Wild Grass ( Yecao ^> \^  , 1926). Unlike the f i r s t and t h i r d sections, however, the section called "The Baven" ("Wu" J^p ) i s a remembrance of an event which involves characters other than the narrator himself and i s a complete prose unit in i t s e l f . B r i e f l y , the story t e l l s of a young man returning home to his wife and c h i l d after a one year absence. During t h i s year in which he was seperated from his kin, the young husband had hoped to earn a good deal of money. Unfortunately, his personal s a c r i f i c e s have a l l been f o r naught, for he returns heme In no better f i n a n c i a l shape than when he had departed the year e a r l i e r . Forced by f i n a n c i a l cicumstances to t r a v e l at night rather than take lodgings, he f a l l s victim to the elements and freezes to death not to f a r outside his v i l l a g e . In the end, the deceased's wife, c h i l d , and other friends gather at his grave to perform b u r i a l r i t e s . Completing the ceremonies the v i l l a g e r s depart, leaving only the wife and c h i l d to weep alone. As the mother and c h i l d stand too grieved to move, a raven lands on the grave i n front of them and glances at them i n a "transcending manner." In Shi Tuo's "The Raven," the narrator's description of the bird's actions i s a good deal more succint than Lu Xun's; nonetheless, i t does provide the key for interpreting the raven's significance. The four characters used to describe the 21 the manner in which the bird glanced at the grieving mother and meaning of the raven. , Shi Tuo's raven i s an ambiguous symbol, as the t r a d i t i o n a l connotations of the raven representing tragedy, death and the unknown are recast in a less portentous mode. Just as Lu Xun used the raven as a symbol of his uncertain v i s i o n of what the future held for China's p o l i t i c a l iconoclasts, Shi Tuo incorporates the same motif to represent his uncertain view of death. Death, when seen from the position of the raven — a certain image of the deceased young husband--.is not necessarily something to be feared or grieved. In point of f a c t , the four characters which are used to describe the raven's movements may be translated as "to be above a l l material desires." As a reincarnated image of the young husband, the raven's contentment with death i s not to be considered unusual, for l i f e proved to be nothing more than a series of good intentions f a i l e d . The f a i l u r e of these good intentions not only created great physical hardships, but emotional ones as well; freezing to death being just the most extreme example of man f a l l i n g victim to l i f e ' s t o i l s . Thus, although his death may be regarded as t r a g i c by the l i v i n g i t may not necessarily be viewed so by the deceased, who perhaps achieved some so r t of s p i r i t u a l peace through i t , Shi Tuo's message would seem to be that in an often cruel world, death i s often the only r e l i e f from l i f e ' s hardships. This would explain why, as the mother and c h i l d b i t t e r l y weep over the death of their kin, the raven looks on i n a s p i r i t u a l l y contented manner. c h i l d : chao ran wu wai ( ) 20 reveals the hidden 22 Thematically, this section of Shi Tuo's "Sickness" reveals him as having a much more pessimistic—almost n i h i l i s t i c - - v i e w of l i f e than Lu Xun. The point we wish to establish, however, is that while the raven i s often an unauspicious symbol of death, Shi Tuo has adopted i t i n much the same manner as Lu Xun to become a paradoxical symbol of the unknown future, a f u l l comprehension of which l i e s beyond the individual's ken. Although Shi Tuo and Lu Xun share a number of technical features, they did have very d i f f e r n t views about the s o c i a l value of their writings. Lu Xun was a s p i r i t u a l physician. . In many of his works he probed the "diseases" troubling an increasingly backwards China. The pathos of many of these st o r i e s l i e s in his depiction of characters defeated i n t h e i r struggle with the t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l forces of Chinese feudal l i f e . Shi Tuo's st o r i e s do not have the moral seriousness of Lu Xun's, they do not i n d i c t Chinese l i f e as being hy p o c r i t i c a l and c r u e l . In contrast to Lu Xun's remarks i n the Introduction to Ca11 to Arms, Shi Tuo once remarked that he was : . . . an i n s i g n i f i c a n t person. . . . . i f 1 am able to l i v e I, s h a l l be doing something or other s i l e n t l y , I s h a l l follow my path s i l e n t l y , think s i l e n t l y about myself and other people, and then die s i l e n t l y ; there w i l l be nothing remarkable about i t . , Nor do I hope to be understood, for I know that he who longs with h i s whole heart to be understood by others usually brings disaster on h i m s e l f . 2 1 In a word, th i s statement shows Shi Tuo as doubting the s o c i a l value of his l i t e r a t u r e and "as to whether human action could ever r i d society of a l l that makes i t cruel."22 s h i Tuo's s t o r i e s imbue the reader with a heavy pessimissim. His 23 characters struggle, but i t i s a doomed struggle, This i s a theme which w i l l be elaborated on in later sections of t h i s thesis. In sum, for Shi Tuo the years 1931-1938 represent a period of experimentation and development in l i t e r a r y technique., Many of the s t o r i e s created i n th i s period show l i n k s to Shen Cong wen and Lu Xun in either theme, language or motif. , Such influences represent a r t i s t i c milestones which Shi Tuo transcended i n his development as a writer. In the f i n a l analysis, Shi fuo w i l l not be remembered as a mere imitator of Shen Congwen or Lu Xun, but as a writer who exceeded the l i m i t a t i o n s of such a s t y l e and went on to create his own unique brand of f i c t i o n . In t h i s period, Shi Tuo's potential f o r creating prose which expresses h i s own unique world-view i s c l e a r l y seen i n s t o r i e s , such as "Cheng Yaoxian," "The Pilgrim," and "Night in the Vallley.'' The f i r s t story to be discussed i s simply call e d "Cheng during the course of a return v i s i t to his home town, encounters a certain Cheng Yaoxian. This Cheng i s a b i t of a l o c a l enigma. Not being a native of t h i s v i l l a g e , but rather someone who simply wandered into town, many d e t a i l s about h i s past are shrouded in mystery. During the course of a lenghty v i s i t , the narrator becomes intrigued with the character of Cheng and the question of how someone of his obvious education could be content to remain in such a small town. As his sojourn wears on the narrator is gradually able to assimilate a few fragments of Yaoxian"( 1935)., In t h i s work, the narrator, 2U Cheng's unusual l i f e history. It i s unfortunate, however, that t h e i r developing friendship comes to a sudden end one day when Cheng unaffectedly announces that he i s leaving for other parts: "You're going to leave?" The abruptness of this news shocked me. More than l i k e l y he detected my message, wherein he h a l t i n g l y replied, i n a half-explaining, h a l f -lamenting tone, "Even I f e e l that to continue on l i k e this would be a l l too meaningless, i t would be better to move on* "2 3 As announced, Cheng leaves the very next morning and henceforth i t i s only through his periodic l e t t e r s from various parts of China that the narrator comes to learn of his whereabouts. The tone of these l e t t e r s i s as varied as t h e i r postmarks, ranging from the f r i v o l o u s to the s u i c i d a l . In time, these l e t t e r s from afar arrive more and more sporadically u n t i l they stop completely. In the closing paragraphs of the work the narrator remarks that i t has been years since he heard from Cheng and asks in an elegiac tone; "Where are you Mr. Cheng?" 2 4 E a r l i e r we mentioned that the young Shi Tuo adopted prominent Lu Xun motifs and discussed the raven as a case in point. , The story "Cheng Yaoxian" f a i l s to impress one with any technical or a r t i s t i c v i r t u o s i t y on the part of the author, yet i t remains noteworthy i n that i t presents a unique Shi Tuo motif common to this and many other s t o r i e s : the wanderer. Shi Tuo's wanderer i s a character, who, l i k e Cheng, goes roaming from c i t y to c i t y , town to town, through mountains and small v i l l a g e s for reasons that are often never made e x p l i c i t l y clear. According to the narrator's limited information, Cheng i s the son of an upper-class landowning family. Being from a prominent cl a s s , Cheng has the opportunity to receive a good 25 education. After he graduates from college, Cheng returns to his native parts where he assumes the position of teacher. It was at t h i s stage of his l i f e that he goes, as the narrator, reports, "a l t t l e c r a z y , " 2 5 Overnight, he s e l l s p r a c t i c a l l y a l l his worldly possessions to become the organizer of a revolutionary school, Deemed harmless by l o c a l elders, Cheng and the rest of h i s youthful followers are l e f t undisturbed u n t i l the revolutionary wave is judged to be a national threat. . Due to t h i s rapid change in p o l i t i c a l climate Cheng i s forced to f l e e . He travels through Shanghai and no sooner arrives in Wuhan when the anti-revolutionary wave forces him to fl e e once again. In the subsequent months he wanders aimlessly i n the wilds of the mountains u n t i l by chance one day he stumbles across the narrator's uncle, who leads him to their v i l l a g e . Cheng was fortunate to be able to escape from the hands of those who sought to exterminate suspected Communists such as himself, but the future held for him a fate, almost as tragic as death.: L i f e [ f o r Cheng] revealed i t s e l f as being even gloomier. As the world was becoming c r a z i e r , young a c t i v i s t s were being threatened and s l a i n , Cheng bore wounds both flew and old. Naturally, i f you add on the fact of h i s age and that he had already l o s t the vigor of his youth . . and I come to understand that when people [ l i k e him] reach the point of being t o t a l l y broken they hope to be able to have a temporary period i n which they can restore their strenght, pick-up the pieces of the i r l i v e s , regain -their w i l l , and then once again dedicate themselves to the b a t t l e f i e l d . * 6 Having f a l l e n victim to t h i s clash between the old and the new, Cheng arrived i n the v i l l a g e in search of a mental and physical solace. In retrospect, although Cheng was to eventually regain his physical strength he was never able to 26 recapture his mental vigor. Having survived the extermination of Communists, Cheng wandered from place to place. , He often stumbled into a v i l l a g e , such as the narrator's, where he f e l t comfortable with the people and the immediate environment. Nonetheless, no matter how seemingly tranquil such a l i f e was i t f a i l e d to restore a sense of purpose or d i r e c t i o n to h i s l i f e — " T o continue on l i k e t h i s would be a l l too meaningless"--and because of this he ultimately had to take to the road again., Thus, while Cheng was seemingly content with his l o t , he was in fa c t alienated from himself and the others around him. His feelings of anguish and confusion are symptomatic of man i n a society i n which the in d i v i d u a l i s at a t o t a l loss to f i n d any point of reference as to his own existence and where he reaches the" point of questioning his own worth as a human being. Mr. Cheng's i n t e l l e c t u a l bearing in the external world rested in his zealous devotion to propogating the revolutionary cause. Sudden changes in the Chinese p o l i t i c a l climate forced Cheng to abandon his family and native parts, and destroyed his i n t e l l e c t u a l bearing i n the external world as well. Thrown into a state of tot*.l d i s o r i e n t a t i o n , Cheng sought to regain a certain s t a b i l i t y in these tumultuous times and so he wanders, haphazardly searching for that which w i l l once again give him certainty and a renewed sense cf purpose in what he perceives i s a menacing universe. B a s i c a l l y , Cheng searches for what he hopes and believes i s his authentic s e l f hidden under the b a n a l i t i e s of small town l i f e . As the various postmarks on his l e t t e r s would suggest, t h i s renewed sense of purpose and di r e c t i o n eluded him 27 no matter where he traveled. In sum, although Cheng was fortunate to have survived the wave of terror which forced him to begin his f l i g h t , he was to bear the psychological damage which such times i n f l i c t e d f or the rest of his l i f e , as he wandered aimlessly around China searching for that e l l u s i v e "something 1 1 to give his l i f e meaning again. , In the remaining sections of t h i s chapter we w i l l discuss how Shi Tuo uses t h i s wandering motif to make certain philosophical statements. Shi Tuo also incorporates the just described wandering motif in another story t i t l e d , "Night in the Valley" {"Gu zhi named dramatized narrator and characters are described against the plain backdrop of a remote r u r a l valley at sunset. As the story opens, the narrator and his tra v e l i n g companion (an orderly) are slowly winding their way up a mountain path on horseback. Traveling along t h i s makeshift t r a i l they come across a shepherd's hut, and with dusk rapidly approaching they opt to take lodgings at t h i s shepherd's primitive home. , After having a few moments to get acquainted, the herdsman drops his rather abrasive manner and proves himself to be a very c o r d i a l host. Having entertained his two guests with dinner the shepherd offers a tale as a way of rounding off their evening. The story which he r e c i t e s concerns an adopted l o c a l lad who spent most of his youth tending h i s uncle's sheep i n a nearby valley. He i s a fine shepherd, leading a seemingly happy l i f e u n t i l one day he abruptly announces to his uncle that he i s leaving. The uncle, r e a l i z i n g that he has no real power over 1935)., In t h i s piece, the actions of the un-28 this already full-grown man, has no other choice but to respect his wishes. at the time of his departure, various v i l l a g e r s speculate as to what prompts him to leave so suddenly. Some of these folk thought that he was leaving to go join the army, others thought that he was running away with a g i r l from the next valley. But, alas, a l l such speculation remains nothing more than just that, for the shepherd in closing his tale remarks that the young man has never been heard from again. Having concluded his story the old man l i g h t s his pipe and s i t s s i l e n t l y next to the already sleeping orderly, and so "Night in the Valley" concludes. In t h i s story Shi Tuo expands the wandering motif i n a different d i r e c t i o n . In both "Cheng Yaoxian" and "Night i n the Valley," the focus of attention i s cn a character who one day suddenly decides to pack-up a n d — l i k e many of Shi Tuo's c h a r a c t e r s — i s never heard from again. In the l a t t e r story, however, the author uses the wandering motif to make cer t a i n philosphical statements about man's knowledge, rather than as an expression cf a character's disoriented state alone. The unknown fate of the young shepherd oppresses the characters with i t s vision of how fate's f i c k l e movements discount any knowledge we have of cur immediate environment and those who reside in i t . Like Cheng, the young shepherd was a well-known i n d i v i d u a l i n his community, but one day t h i s figure of f l e s h and blood suddenly vanishes from sight and i s never heard from again, almost as i f our having known him was a dream or i l l u s i o n , aside from the implication that man's knowledge is li m i t e d and 29 transitory, the backdrop of t h i s work, a remote uninhabitated valley, v i r t u a l l y engulfing the figures of the narrator and his companion, paints a disturbing vision of man helplessly floundering i n nature.: Under the darkness of the evening l i g h t , the s i l e n t mountain ridge seemed to be engaged i n some form of ancient meditation. Where w i l l t h i s path which seems to be getting longer and longer the more we travel i t take us? Moving along in desolate mountains such as these, I had long ago turned everything over [as to where they traveled] to my horse, 2 7 This cumulative v i s i o n of man's, l i f e , ambitions, experiences and knowledge representing but a small speck i n a boundless and timeless universe i s reinforced by the words of the narrator as he remarks on the rather abrupt manner in which the old herdsman ended his t a l e : " . . [The story] was told--ended--the way we observe and frequently meet--without any conclusion,'! 2 8 In the f i n a l story to be considered from this c o l l e c t i o n , Shi Tuo once again makes use of the wandering motif to reaffirm his vision of the l i m i t a t i o n s of man's l i f e and knowledge when standing in the face of i n f i n i t e nature., The short story "The Pilgrim" ("Xingjiao Sen" , 1935 ) i s broken up into two pieces. In the f i r s t section a great deal of space to describing the weathered features of a wanderer, who i s casually roaming about a remote h i l l s i d e . This well-traveled wanderer slowly makes his way along a ridge and pauses b r i e f l y to s i t down and survey the scenery below and around him. In the course of making t h i s rest stop, he c a l l e d "Twilight" ("Huanghun" ) the narrator devotes 30 encounters a herdsman's daughter and inguires of her as to where he might find accomodations for the evening. The young g i r l s l y l y points out a d i r e c t i o n and departs., In the second section young g i r l s d i r ections and comes across a small hut. The occupants are none other than the shepherd g i r l , her s p i r i t e d grandfather, and t h e i r dog. Though the el d e r l y man and his granddaughter make an e f f o r t to share t h e i r few creature comforts with t h e i r guest, the traveler maintains a sullen pose throughout, content to l i s t e n to the bantering and kidding between his two hosts. , During the course of the evening i t becomes quite obvious that the young g i r l i s agitated over her brother's f a i l u r e to return home from a journey into town. As days have apparently past since his expected return, the grandfather has already succumbed to the notion that the young man has abandoned them fo r other parts. The young g i r l , however, remains unshaken i n her be l i e f that he w i l l return. The story ends on a gloomy note with the young shepherd g i r l standing outside her hut, pining f o r her brother's return: After checking the sheep s t a l l she stood outside by herself cn the road. Suddenly the moon started to r i s e out of the end of a far away mountain stream. The shadows of the trees and the hut were cast upon the c l i f f s , the road, and on the gleaming water. . . . The sun's bright red gleam seemed to be burning the many mountains and valleys, She looked out into the distance at the small footpaths—footpaths which connected a countless number of mountain peaks--being engulfed by the moon's rays. . She stood s i l e n t l y f o r a long time, then, she breathed a deep sigh and slowly walked back into the l i t t l e h u t . 2 9 As i s the case with the previous story, the concluding passage of "The Pilgrim" engages one's emotions as we imagine ca l l e d "The Lodge it ) , the traveler follows the 31 the young g i r l ' s loneliness as she stands alone unable to comprehend how someone she has known for her entire l i f e has suddenly evaporated into thin a i r . In discussing "Night i n the Valley," we noted how the author e f f e c t i v e l y employed the motif of the wanderer to r e f l e c t his personal vision of the ephemeral nature of man's knowledge. In "The Pilgrim," Shi Tuo not only questions the l i m i t a t i o n s of man's knowledge, but demonstrates how a sudden r e a l i z a t i o n of the l i m i t i a t i o n s of one's knowledge can crush a character's entire world-view. By virtue of having been raised in t o t a l l y r u r a l surroundings, the young shepherd g i r l ' s sphere of experiences and observations have been severely limited to the material world within the boundaries of her immediate environment. As far as she and the other residents of t h i s valley are concerned, the "world" corresponds precisely with the boundaries of their v i l l a g e . What exi s t s beyond these boundaries i s extremely unclear and has r a r e l y been contemplated: "In thi s valley which i s seperated from the rest of the world, . . . people simply l i v e d from one year to the next, . , . . I l 3 ° The emotional anguish suffered by the young g i r l stems from her i n a b i l i t y to reason out the experience of her brother's running away from her inherited world-view. The g i r l ' s unconscious conception of her native surroundings as the "world" i s not only shattered, but even more f r i g h t i n g , t h i s shattering leaves her incapable of comprehending a newly expanded world which i s suddenly seen as being as vast as the sky i t s e l f . This glum picture of the emotional and mental imbalance 32 created for man by an experience which transcends the l i m i t a t i o n s of a knowledge which has been shaped by and extends no further than one's immediate environment i s enhanced s t r u c t u r a l l y by the author as well. In "Cheng Yaoxian" and "Night i n the Valley," the events and observations related to the reader are bound by the personal experiences of the dramatized narrator himself. In narratives of this type, the raconteur i s only capable of reporting information which i s available to himself. In "The Pilgrim," however, the author creates an undramatized third-person observer to relate the events of the prose piece. This third-person observer relates the story from what may be described as a omniscient point of view. His narration i s characterized by his s h i f t i n g from the external world to the inner selves of a number of characters and freedom in commenting upon the actions and thoughts of the characters and relate information which would otherwise be unavailable to the reader. As the story develops, however, Shi Tuo's narrator, while demonstrating a l l the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of an omniscient narrator, i s revealed as being deliberately not all-knowing. Basically, Shi Tuo's creation of a quasi-omniscient narrator, whose knowledge of these characters, their background, and desires i s limited, i s a e s t h e t i c a l l y motivated.; Just as the young g i r l ' s knowledge i s seriously r e s t r i c t e d by the narrow bounds of her immediate environment, Shi Tuo's narrator's knowledge extends no further, no deeper than the few bare facts l a i d cut in the story i t s e l f . In the f i n a l analysis because of such a limited knowledge the narrator can only 3 3 speculate about the characters 1s motivations and fate: At this point i t wouldn't hurt to do some speculating. Perhaps this family was not always as cold and cheerless as thi s . But perhaps because everyone else had died, that l e f t only the three of them--the grandfather, brother, and s i s t e r — t o l i v e this forever poor but honest existence, , Maybe the young g i r l was mad because her elder brother who went into town had promised to buy her a kerchief and he had not yet returned! Maybe i t was because her ring f e l l into the stream l a s t night when she was washing the dishes:; or maybe i t was because l a s t evening a marten made off with some her chicks, . . . 3 1 By Incorporating a narrator with such li m i t e d a b i l i t i e s into his narrative Shi Tuo has demonstrated great a r t i s t i c s e n s i t i v i t y , for such a technigue enhances his vision of man's limited knowledge. This harmony of theme and technique i s further demonstrated by the promising maturity of the author's l y r i c a l s t y l e . E a r l i e r we noted how many stories from Shi Tuo's early period were marred by a l y r i c a l descriptive s t y l e which was often wordy and a r t i f i c i a l . In "The Pilgrim" and "Night i n the Valley," however, Shi Tuo's young pen gains f u l l control of what had been a rather tedious l y r i c a l s t y l e . The inclusion of such passages, which often seem to be ju s t f o r l i t e r a r y l u s tre now have the more important function of l i n k i n g the delineation of an object with the mood of a character. In both "Night In the Valley" and "The Pilgrim," p a r t i c u l a r s of time and place, as well as de t a i l s about the characters such as name and o r i g i n are never established. In both cases the s t o r i e s are merely described as taking place in a remote r u r a l valley at sunset. Shi Tuo's deliberate f a i l u r e to put such r e a l i s t i c elements within the body of these two prose pieces draws attention to the 34 few descriptive elements that remain, and more importantly, leaves the impression that the described si t u a t i o n i s i n a world which i s universal and timeless. Furthermore, these few remaining passages also demonstrate Shi Tuo's a b i l i t y i n moulding what was once a l y r i c a l s t y l e that gets carried away with i t s e l f to better express his own i n d i v i d u a l themes. In the following passages superfluous analogies, such as the sun being a god or the earth a mother, have been expelled. What one discovers in i t s place are examples of the t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese The wanderer was smoking and casually glancing around at the scenery. The woodpeckers. . . were s t i l l knocking. . .. It was only because i t was t h i s l a t e that they were noiser than usual. The valley also seemed more desolate. . . The wanderer once again glanced back at the mountain peaks which he had already traveled over. The sun's rays had already been blocked out by the c l i f f s . The c o l o r s hazed together and were d i f f i c u l t to distinguish from one another Although i t was late this fellow was i n no hurry whatsoever. He continued to s i t on t h i s boulder and he began examining his shoes. This pair of shoes was as honest as could be. They had walked many a mile, stepped on many a stone and s t i l l they remained comfortable on his f e e t . 3 2 Just as Shi Tuo creates a narrator with del i b e r a t l y limited a b i l i t i e s to enhance the theme of "The Pilgirm," he often uses simple physical description to paint a composite landscape in which the i n f i n t e reaches of nature are suggested by distant mountains and l i m i t l e s s expanse of sky. Such descriptive passages r e f l e c t the inner moods of characters and enhances Shi Tuo's vision of man being rendered i n s i g n i f i c a n t by the vastness of nature. In sum, these three s t o r i e s demonstrate the a b i l i t y of Shi l i t e r a r y fusion of ginq ( emotion) and jing; , scenery): 35 Tuo's pen to create works which express his own unique world-view. In "Cheng Yaoxian" Shi Tuo uses the wandering motif to show how Mr. Cheng was a victim.of the times and the devastating impact which these p o l i t i c a l l y unstable times had on his psychology, In "The Pilgrim" and "Night i n the Valley," the author develops the wandering motif in a different d i r e c t i o n to focus on man's role i n nature. T r a g i c a l l y , the wanderer and other characters cf these stories seem to be unable to f i n d any real escape or gain any insight i n t o l i f e from the r u r a l surroundings of nature. In fact, by setting his characters against the backdrop of a remote mountain valley he carves a deep impression of the li m i t a t i o n s of man's knowledge and l i f e when viewed from i n f i n i t e and boundless nature. , The alienation experienced by the characters of these s t o r i e s i s overwhelmingly permanent: a r e a l i z a t i o n of man's ins i g n i f i c a n c e in the cosmic scheme of things. 36 CHAPTEB 2 Although by the mid 1930's Shi Tuo had written a large number of prose pieces, few had ever been published. It was not u n t i l 1936 that Shi Tuo had the opportunity to publish h i s f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n , The Vallej;. When seen from his career as a whole this c o l l e c t i o n marks an important stage i n the author's l i t e r a r y development, as the s t o r i e s to be discussed show the author breaking away from his r u r a l style to create works which incorporated themes of national resistance. The Valley arrived on the l i t e r a r y scene during a period of great c i v i l turmoil. P o l i t i c a l l y , the 1930's were marked by the extension of internal s t r i f e between the Nationalist government and the Communist Party, as well as a period which saw the Japanese encroach upon and seek to dismember China with a methodical persistance. During these years many a r t i s t s , having been swept up i n a wave of patriotism, sought to create works with anti-Japanese themes. Unfortunately, although many writers sought to r e f l e c t a love of country in t h e i r works, the results were far from being a r t i s t i c successes. Shi Tuo's uniqueness l i e s in h i s a b i l i t y to incorporate a sense of t h i s age of p o l i t i c a l i n s t a b i l i t y as a backdrop to many of h i s st o r i e s . However, unlike many of h i s contemporaries, he chose not to centre his attention on describing the physical a t r o c i t i e s committed by invading foreign powers, but on the 37 alienation and psychological scars i n f l i c t e d by the turbulence of the tines. Because of the close relationship between the p o l i t i c a l unrest which marred the 1930's and authors who sought to create works r e f l e c t i n g i t , i t would be impossible to discuss Shi Tuo or any other writer of t h i s period without some accounting of the huge shadow of history which they worked under. Since the turn of the 20th century the Japanese had been seeking to gain a foothold on the Chinese mainland. They f i r s t gained control of Korea, Formosa, the Pescadores and the Liaodong Penisula as a re s u l t of t h e i r victory i n the f i r s t Sino-Japanese War of 1895. In September of 1931, the Japanese f i n a l l y established that foothold by launching a suprise attack on Shenyang(Mukden). In subseguent years, the Japanese took advantage of Chiang Kai-shek's policy of non-resistance towards th e i r aggression; conquering Shanghai i n 19 32, Jehol and Chahar i n 1933, and Eastern Hebei i n 1935.1 Japan's seizure of China's northeast created a surge of patriotism and protest rarely seen since the early days of the May Fourth Movement. As demands that action be taken against the Japanese reached h y s t e r i c a l l e v e l s members of the i n t e l l e c t u a l community began to voice a c u l t u r a l side to this protest. In b r i e f , they called for a unity among a r t i s t s to aid in warding off further Japanese encroachment and to save the nation from extinction, As a r e s u l t of such exhortations various organizations were to be set up by people from the c u l t u r a l sphere. The most i n f l u e n t a l of these associations was 38 the Shanghai Cultural Workers Association for Saving the Nation {Shanghai Wenhuajie Jiuguohui ^ >^ %T ?r>0^] ) formed on Dec. 28, 1935.2 Thus, at this c r i t i c a l point in China's history a united front was forming in both the p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l worlds. This common desire to do battle with the Japanese created a fusion of p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l causes and begot National Defense Literature. In an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "The Establishment of National Defense Literature" {"Guo Fang Wenxue de J i a n l i " 5(^ _ )^ tf) \^_, ) the l i t e r a r y c r i t i c Hu Luo ^ remarked that the purpose of such a l i t e r a t u r e was to "expose the rotten character of the t r a i t o r , expose the cruelty of imperialism, the decay of national c a p i t a l , the poverty of the farmers and the retarded development of the c i t i e s . " 3 Early essays such as t h i s sparked what was to become a heated and often personal debate as to precisely what constituted a work of National Defense Literature. For -the purposes of t h i s thesis i t should s u f f i c e to say that although the promoters of National Defense Literature had s p e c i f i c t h e o r e t i c a l differences, they a l l at least agreed with the writer Guo Moro's ^ ^ words that National Defense Literature was a l i t e r a t u r e that "does not stand for s e l l i n g out the nation."* Works such as Xiao Jun's ||| ^ The Story of Green Leaves ( Lu Ye de Gushi -^JT ^  ~jp . 1936) and Yu Jing's J^- /j-^1 The Descendants of C h i n a T r a i t o r s { Han j i a n de Zusun 7 ^ r 193 7) were produced as a di r e c t outcome of the National Defense Movement. The former i s a c o l l e c t i o n of 39 essays and poems which speak of the author's p i t y for northeastern Chinese driven from t h e i r v i l l a g e s by the Japanese. The l a t t e r i s a novel attacking the Chiang Kai-shek policy of non-resistance to Japanese aggression. The antecedents of National Defense Literature, however, can be traced back to the early 1930's. The handful of writers who pioneered t h i s early national resistance style were mostly from northeast China. As one might expect, their works spoke of the pli g h t of t h e i r people at the hands of the Japanese and other im p e r i a l i s t powers. One of these writers was Ke Qin ^ , who at the i n v i t a t i o n of the great female novelist Ding Ling j wrote a short novel c a l l e d Total fietreat ( Zong Tuibu , 1 9 3 2 ) . 5 Ke Qin's novel was based upon her personal experiences as a hospital worker treating injured members of the 19th route army fig h t i n g the Japanese. Perhaps the most renowned novel of this early period was Xiao Jun's Village in August ( Ba Yue de Xiangcu, y \ . )^  ^ -^j> ^ f j ' ) which was completed in October 1934 and f i r s t published i n early 1935. The work has a number of a r t i f i c i a l l y developed, interweaving plots, but they e x i s t only as a convient backdrop for demonstrating the revolutionary ardor and persistance with which the g u e r r i l l a s defeated the Japanese The l i t e r a r y h i s t o r i a n C.T. Hsia has noted Xiao Jun's contribution to s o c i a l i s t realism: Just as Chiang Kuang-tz'u, Pa Chin, Ting Ling, and others had contributed to the plot and structure of V i l l a g e i n August, so Hsiao Chun begueathed a legacy of formulas for g u e r r i l l a f i c t i o n : . . 6 Despite such praise, a defect of t h i s and many other works i n the caticnal defense style was an over-attention to theme. This led to a r t i s t i c flaws: character portrayal and narrative development were bound by the narrative's themes. As a r e s u l t , such f i c t i o n often reads as stale war-time propoganda. In this respect Shi Tuo far surpasses his ccllegues in. his a b i l i t y to fashion work which succeeds in a r t i s t i c a l l y conveying the grim r e a l i t i e s confronting an internationally weakening China, The three s t o r i e s tc fee discussed from The Valley paint a bleak picture of Chinese l i f e suffering under the influences of aggression and imperialism. The might of Shi Tuo's pen i s , demonstrated in these three short prose pieces, for they show how his l i t e r a r y technigue underwent certain changes to incorporate f i n e l y themes of national resistance. In making such a s h i f t , however, Shi Tuo was intent upon portraying something mere than a mere mechanical, ad hoc adoptation cf some p a t r i o t i c theme. These stories demonstrate the writer's unigue insight into the alienation and psychological scars which these turbulent times i n f l i c t e d on a l l who survived them. "The Mute Seng" ("Ya Ge" ) i s s e t i n a small rural v a l l e y , in an area occupied by the Japanese. Unlike many an t i -Japanese works cf f i c t i o n , Shi Tuo chose not to focus on the grim physical hardship endured by the Chinese under Japanese r u l e ; on the contrary, the inhabitants of t h i s small settlement 41 have seemingly ccme tc terms with the Japanese. These f o l k despise and express contempt for the Japanese behind t h e i r backs, yet stunsble and stutter in fear at the mere sight cf the Japanese-controlled, ffiilitia. By the same token, though the Japanese rely upcr brute force to subdue the v i l l a g e r s and often demano free food and liquor from tradesmen, they r a r e l y resort ' tc physical violence to obtain their ends, r e a l i z i n g , perhaps, that psychological intimidation i s their most e f f e c t i v e weapon. In terms cf daily l i f e t his mutual understanding of positions projects a s u p e r f i c i a l order of the Chinese attending to t h e i r everyday chores aid bending the knee when t o l d tc do so., As the story opens an elderly man named Uncle Yu i s seen t a k i r c a walk tc the highest knell i n the v i l l a g e . The path i s a fas i l i a r cue tc Uncle Yu as he walks i t almost every evening at sunset. His purpose i s to scan the surrounding h i l l s i n the hope of catching some glimpse of the v i l l a g e sons returning from the countryside, where they have gone to f i g h t the Japanese as vclurteer g u e r r i l l a s . Precisely how long these young men have been engaging in anti-Japanese resistance i s never e x p l i c i t l y stated; however, for Uncle Yu, the years are passing a l l tc quickly. After reaching the top and seeing no sign of the young g u e r r i l l a s ' return, Uncle Yu decides to go heme. Upon reaching the v i l l a g e , Uncle Yu finds his friends and kin in an extremely somber mood, because the advent of a holiday reminds them that yet another year cf Japanese rule has passed. On t h i s mocnless evening of the Mid-Autumn - F e s t i v a l — a most unauspicious symbol— Uncle Yu and the ether v i l l a g e r s spend t h i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y 4 2 f e s t i v e occasion in s i l e n t contemplation, unable to quell their anxieties about the fate of the v i l l a g e sons. During t h i s solemn evening the ever f a t a l i s t i c Uncle Yu severely admonishes his wife and another woman when he catches a glimpse of them praying for the young g u e r r i l l a s * return; "Forget about i t ! If they come back, t h e y ' l l return without your praying; i f they don't, even praying won't help." 7 Uncle Yu's innermost thoughts, however, were not as harsh as his admonistions would seem to indicate because in his heart he was thinking " t r y , t r y , [praying] again." 8 Nonetheless, even t h i s slim hope that the divine w i l l somehow intervene i s shattered.. In the midst of t h i s dreary night, the v i l l a g e r s are rudely awakened to the drunken sounds of Japanese soldiers who are, i r o n i c a l l y , celebrating a Chinese holiday: Imperialists] were completely drunk, they went roamimg through the streets pounding on any broken down door they f e l t l i k e and screaming incomprehensible phrases. Moving along they laughed and sang th e i r droning [ m i l i t a r y ] song. 9 Technically, "The Mute Song" i s narrated from an objective third-person point of view. Shi Tuo's narrator i s not a dramatized character but functions only as the mediator of the ta l e . By providing physical descriptions and surveys of characters thoughts, he insures that the reader possesses a l l the material necessary for a f u l l comprehension of the f i c t i v e state of a f f a i r s . Aside from performing the function of representation, Shi Tuo steers his narrator away from expressing his subjective attitudes and value judgements. Since the narrator rarely attempts to influence reader response by any Because the [ Japanese 43 d i r e c t commentary, other narrative features need to be examined in order to discern how the author's message i s conveyed. , In "The Mute Song," Shi Tuo's theme i s expressed by the, Japanese military song functioning as a recurring motif,. «The motif i s introduced when the narrator describes Uncle Yu's disappointment after he climbs to the top of the small kn o l l and he f a i l s to see any sign of the young g u e r r i l l a ' s return: The sun was l a z i l y setting on the outskirts of the v i l l a g e . The leaves on the trees were already changing from their o r i g i n a l yellow and green to a dark chocolate brown— one more year had past. , . The sound of that song was s t i l l around.. The sound of that strange and incomprehensible droning song s t i l l continually pierced their hearts . . . The great mi l i t a r y song of the Japanese i m p e r i a l i s t s , . . . 1 0 &s the story develops the Japanese m i l i t a r y song comes to gather a dual s i g n i f i c a n c e : representing the grip which the Japanese have over the l o c a l v i l l a g e r s and a symbol of t h i s r u r a l people's loathing and desire to overthrow their Japanese superiors. The narrator, describing past g u e r r i l l a a c t i v i t y of the v i l l a g e sons, remarks: During the second holiday period these young fellows struck once again, k i l l i n g some militiamen and slaughtering some [Japanese] "bandits". After that, they stumbled about the a l l e y s drunk, shooting off their guns and singing our v i l l a g e ' s own song. They said they wanted to k i l l the bandits and and get r i d of them once and for a l l . A couple of months la t e r the [Japanese] "bandits" and the mayor [a collaborator] returned once again. They k i l l e d people and along with the k i l l i n g came their droning [ m i l i t a r y ] song. 1 1 As t h i s section of narrative c l e a r l y demonstrates, the g u e r r i l l a s ' a b i l i t y to defeat the foreign oppressors c o n t r o l l i n g t h e i r v i l l a g e grants them the p r i v i l e g e to sing their own lo c a l 44 d i t t y — a symbol of t h e i r freedom. The return of the Japanese and th e i r military song shackles once again the v i l l a g e r s ' independence and, thus, their l o c a l ballad must ba, as the t i t l e implies, muted. During t h i s early period of National Defense Literature many authors devoted page after page of description and commentary to the a t r o c i t i e s committed by the Japanese against the Chinese. Very few of these writers, however, were able to evoke the psychological horror of such an experience. Certainly the physical savagery and i n d i g n i t i e s endured by the Chinese were great, yet imagine the even greater horror of characters r e a l i z i n g that there was l i t t l e hope of being rescued from the reign of Japanese repression, that they would die as the "slaves of a broken nation" < wangguo nu, f ^ j J^J?^ ) : "Who would have ever imagined," said Uncle Yu shaking his head; a head which was becoming harder and harder to l i f t every day, "Who would have ever imagined that we'd die as the slaves of a broken n a t i o n , " 1 2 As the story concludes on the evening of the Mid-Autumn F e s t i v a l , one can e a s i l y imagine the pain and heartache f e l t by the v i l l a g e r s upon awakening to hear the sounds of the Japanese mi l i t a r y song. The song returns reminding them once more of their position as prisoners i n th e i r own v i l l a g e : Uncle Yu was unable to sleep. . . . Tears poured down his face as he stood i n the courtyard. . . , The sky was already beginning to show the f i r s t signs of dawn, There was some wind. The moon was slowly fading away; i t s glimmer accompanying the distant sounds of the droning [Japanese m i l i t a r y ] song, 1 3 In sum, Shi Tuo's recurring motif of the Japanese m i l i t a r y 45 song successfully conveys his theme of how the experience cf l i v i n g under Japanese rule could create a mental anguish as great as any physical suffering, For the residents of t h i s v i l l a g e the droning sound of the Japanese m i l i t a r y song produces a sense of alienation which disrupts and disfigures the human s p i r i t . An alienation suddenly created by the advent of h i s t o r i c a l circumstances over which they have no contr o l . Such events estrange these folk from the freedom to l i v e their t r a d i t i o n a l l i v e s , as well as imbuing them with a f e e l i n g of powerlessness as to th e i r a b i l i t i e s to control their own destinies. In our brief discussion of the author's biography we mentioned how the 1936 Da Gong Bao l i t e r a t u r e award was conferred on Shi Tuo for his short story "The Valley"; a story that came to be published in the volume of the same name. When viewed from the Z e i t g e i s t working on the Chinese l i t e r a r y scene during the 1930's, Shi Tuo's "The Valley" can be considered an a r t i s t i c success because of i t s dual portrayal of the gross inequities suffered by the Chinese at the hands of foreign powers and how the times had disfigured the bonds joining fellow countrymen. • B r i e f l y , the story has for i t s backdrop a joint Chinese-English operated mine located in a small r u r a l valley. The main from teachers' college, Is hired to teach at a school maintained by the mining company. Upon a r r i v a l , Huang's enthusiaisoi for teaching slowly wanes as he becomes disenchanted by the feeble character, , having recently graduated 4 6 educational standards and attitudes of students and f a c u l t y a l i k e . Finding the situation unbearable, he resigns. He has no sconer made arrangements to leave the valley when he i s compelled to delay his departure upon hearing that a fellow teacher, Hong Kuangcheng * has been arrested, Along with a few ethers, Hong has been taken into custody for his alleged connection with a s t r i k e that has l e f t work at the mine v i r t u a l l y at a s t a n d s t i l l . Realizing the seriousness of the situation Huang and another collegue, Bai Guansan ^ , t r a v e l together to the police station in hope of obtaining news on the fate of their friend, Their hopes are extremely shortlived. In a private meeting with a high-ranking B r i t i s h representative of the mining company, Bai not only f a i l s i n his e f f o r t s to procure any knowledge about his colleague's arr e s t , but he also evokes the wrath of t h i s o f f i c a l . In escorting Bai outside h i s o f f i c e , t h i s hot-tempered Englishman suddenly explodes into a f i t of rage: "You Chinese",the manager said as he once again raised his voice i n anger, "You're a bunch of scoundrels. You're completely devoid of human compassion and you have absolutely no manners or respect for other people . . . . you want to smash a rock with an egg. Ok, go right ahead and try i t , there are rocks a l l around you! You open your mouths and y e l l about down with the i m p e r i a l i s t s , . . . , Damn [Communists], what do they have to do with you anyway? Take your Hong f o r example, why that sonuvabitch earns his l i v i n g from foreigners, what the h e l l i s he doing with this party? . . . . If you do not want to work thats f i n e . At New Year's don't eat r i c e , . . . . . . go eat [the Communists' ] p r i c k . " 1 * F a i l i n g in this attempt, Bai proposes that they try and bribe the "chubby Englishman," figuring that 300 yuan placed in his 47 pocket could have a f r u i t f u l outcome. In the days which follow, and despite the helpful appearences of Bai, Huang develops suspicions regarding the s i n c e r i t y of Bai's e f f o r t s to extricate his collegue. This sense of di s t r u s t grows stronger as more and more v i l l a g e r s are arrested, and suddenly climaxes when Huang learns that h i s fr i e n d has been executed despite their e f f o r t s . . Hearing of the execution, Huang i s c r e s t f a l l e n : Hong was dead, . . . he (Huang] didn't r e a l l y f e e l any sorrow f o r his old school chum's death nor did he f e e l any sympathy for his wife. A l l that was going around his head were the words: ".Hy God what i s t h i s world a l l about." 1 5 In the end, Huang discovers that his suspicions about Bai's i n t e g r i t y were completely warranted. I t i s revealed that rather than negotiating for his friend's release, Bai had actually been working as an undercover agent for the po l i c e , who apparently are also heavily influenced by the mining company. His cover blown, Bai i s attacked by a small group of v i l l a g e r s , but he manages to escape. Returning to the safety of the police station, Bai f i l e s a report warning that the v i l l a g e r s , seeking revenge f o r t h e i r kin, were going to attack t h e i r post. Fearing the worst, police o f f i c a l s relay orders to their subordinates to arm themselves and to prepare for the ensuing seige. Meanwhile, the a t t a c k e r s — a ragtag unarmed group of old men, women and children—were r a l l y i n g themselves i n the freezing outdoors. Feeling vengeful and unable to to l e r a t e any further abuse, these v i l l a g e r s , lead by the "Charge" of Huang, begin t h e i r attack. This gallant troop of ragamuffins moves closer and closer to the object of their assault, u n t i l the 48 order to open f i r e i s given to the force stationed inside the f o r t r e s s , within seconds of that order, the freshly f a l l e n snow i s stained with the bleed of the scattering mob: Tuon! Tuon! Tuon! Tuon ! People scattered, running and bumping confusedly into each ether in the process. Volley after volley of shots were being f i r e d from a l l sides. People forgot everything as they desperately ran for t keir l i v e s , . . . . . . . Cuite a few people took shelter behind a small nearby hut, The people who had the least courage were huddled together, t h e i r faces were as white as snow, their mouths were open sucking a i r i n , 1 6 Seeing their attackers r e t r e a t , an o f f i c a l blows his whistle c a l l i n g for his iren tc cease-fire. Having withstood the impotent assault of the unarmed v i l l a g e r s , an eerie silence f i l l s the police station. An elderly policeman stutters i n horror at the b r u t a l i t y of the just committed act: •Skat had they just dene? Not a single one of them knew, almost as i f they had just awoken from a drunken stupor. The elderly o f f i c e r l a i d his gun down near the door and climbed up into his hunk. He was shaking uncontrolably, his eyelids were so heavy that he could barely keep them open. Be didn't say a word and suddenly he was asleep. " S i r , s i r , " he muttered to himself i n his sleep, "They haven't dene anything! Bo ycu think, oh . . . s i r . . . . " 1 7 As the story closes, Huang, having survived the massacre at the police s t a t i o n , r e f l e c t s i n equal bewilderment: He thought t c himself.- Hhat had he just done? . . . . f i n a l l y , he remembered, wasn't he the one whe y e l l e d "Charqe"? He f e l t responsible for this a f f a i r , yet he had somehow managed to return home safely. . . . "How i s i t possible that I didn't get hurt? . . . . "Justice [he thought] , where i s the j u s t i c e ? " 1 8 In narrative, point of view i s the prime force motivating the selection, union and d i s t r i b u t i o n of f i c t i o n a l elements. In 49 chosing point cf view, the author i s r e s t r i c t i n g his reader's observations tc a particular l e v e l of awareness. Every angle of narration has i t s own inherent freedoms and l i m i t a t i o n s . fl general analysis cf a l l the various modes of narration reveals that omniscient narration grants i t s author the largest number of f i c t i o n a l freedoms. This all-kncwing narrator i s characterized by: God-like p r i v i l e g e of unhampered v i s i o n , penetration into the minds of the dramatis personae, free mcvenent i n tine and space, and t o t a l knowledge of the past and prese n t . 1 9 yet tc state that a story i s told, from an omniscient viewpoint i s of very l i t t l e s i g nificance unless one can describe hew the q u a l i t i e s of that mode cf narration relate to particular e f f e c t s . Different narrators may share omniscience as a common denoninator, yet they may d i f f e r greatly in other equally important respects. One such difference i s in their degree of willirgness to share their unlimited knowledge with the reader., B a s i c a l l y , lack of f u l l communication on the part of the narrator may be accounted for in two possible ways: . . the guasi-mimetic approach, in terms of the narrator's own human l i m i t a t i o n s , and the purely aesthetic, i r terms of the omniscient narrator's deliberately pursued aesthetic aims. 2 0 Dpon hearing of his ccllegue's execution, Huang's words of "My Gcd, what i s t h i s world coming to," in e f f e c t , r e f l e c t the the theme of the work: i n these chaotic times the cruelty which people i c f l i c t upen cne another i s so senseless that i t numbs the Bind. In the opening stages of The Valley Shi Tuo's omniscient 50 narrator introduces Mr. Huang and describes the story's se t t i n g . After providing t h i s , he steps into the background and the reader sees the f i c t i v e events come to l i f e just as Huang experiences them. Such a s h i f t in point of view i s aesthetically motivated. The close r e f l e c t i o n of the action through the workings of Huang's mind v i r t u a l l y assures that the dilemma he faces w i l l become more our own., As the narrative develops we become more and more aware of the determinants of Huang's actions, confusion, and errors of judgement as they evolve on the f i c t i v e stage. Furthermore, because i n these sections the omniscient narrator does not i n t e r j e c t any p r i v i l i g e d information into the narrative, the reader, l i k e Mr. Huang, can only see that which i s immediately i n front of him— as the ground i s cut out from beneath him i t i s cut out from beneath the reader. By substituting a more dramatized b u i l t in rheto r i c in place of overt commentary Shi Tuo enhances the l i t e r a r y effect of his work. Periodic s h i f t s back to the omniscient narrator's point of view, however, also have an important e f f e c t . Here, the reader, instead of sharing i n Huang's dilemmas, stands outside of them and so views them more as an expression of a universal human condition. In not being confined to Huang's experiences alone the reader i s given the chance to view Huang's situ a t i o n and his reaction to i t from a more objective position. In b r i e f , this dual system of presentation accurately renders the author's vision of characters struggling to survive a world turned topsey-turvey. The r e f l e c t i o n of the action via Huang's mind 51 presents an i n t e r n a l r e f l e c t i o n of the times, while a switch to an omniscient point of view places the reader outside of Huang's experiences, where the reader sees the action from a universal perspective . In sum, "The Valley 1' presents a disturbed vision of a China gene out of cont r o l . I t i s a pessimistic p o r t r a i t of a world f i l l e d with collaborators and t r a i t o r s , where Chinese b l i n d l y slaughter innocent countrymen, In this story the i m p e r i a l i s t s are no longer the sole enemies of China, the Chinese have beccrae enemies of themselves. The f i n a l story to be considered from this volume w i l l be Similar to the other works of this c o l l e c t i o n , "The Story of the Sain" successfully renders a clear image of the effects the p o l i t i c a l l y unstable 1930•s had on Chinese l i f e as well as reveal the devastating blows such times dealt to the human s p i r i t . The p r i n c i p l e characters of the story are an un-naraed guard and his prisoner only referred to as number f i v e . As the story opens, the guard i s mulling over the news that h i s wife i s pregnant. O r i g i n a l l y , the guard had planned to abandon h i s spouse (apparently chosen for him through an arranged marriage), but this pregnancy cancels any such plans. As the guard makes his rounds on a dark and dreary night he becomes further and further enraged at the thought of this "beast", as he comes to c a l l her, giving birth to his c h i l d . During the course of his p a t r o l l i n g , the second major character of t h i s tale i s "The Story of the Sain" ("Luo Yu Pian" ) • 52 introduced: prisoner number f i v e . This otherwise nameless character has been so badly beaten that his body i s described as resembling a huge pustule. I t i s implied that the prisoner has been taken into custody because of certain p o l i t i c a l a f f i l i a t i o n s [Communist], and "interrogated" daily i n the hope of extracting information about his organization. Needless to say these questioning periods have taken th e i r t o l l on the prisoner both physically and mentally. The intensity of the pain ravaging his body i s so great that he i s no longer able te-l l e down on h i s c e l l bed. Onable to sleep because of the pain, the prisoner paces his c e l l l i k e some sort of rabid animal. Using his f i n g e r n a i l s he has written the following poem on his c e l l wall: This i s not the end, i t i s the begining. Devil, please open your mouth. This i s a body you see lying i n the gutter. This i s blood, i t w i l l write the f i n a l words of h i s t o r y . 2 1 On t h i s evening the prisoner i s p a r t i c u l a r l y unsettled and the guard t r i e s to ease t h i s p i t i f u l creature's pain by throwing him a cigarette. The prisoner accepts and the guard r e a l i z i n g that his own predicament cannot compare with the sorry p l i g h t of this fellow human, i s suddenly overcome by a wave of happiness: The guard hurriedly walked to a place beneath a post. , It was as i f he had cleared a huge [burden], . . . H e had to take a a deep, deep, breath. Leaning against the post he l i t a cigeratte. , He l i f t e d h is head and the l i g h t on the post looked down on his happy and smiling face. . Folding his arms he slowly closed his eyes thinking once again of that soon to be born c h i l d ! 2 2 Before the prisoner has a chance to pick up the cigarette his interrogators arrive once again. The prisoner takes but one 53 lock at their faces and r e a l i z e s immediately that the end i s at hand. The cigarette remains on the ground and he i s escorted away. Within minutes of number f i v e ' s departure, the guard also c ernes to realiz e the seriousness of the si t u a t i o n when he hears the scund cf boots marching outside: Be thought of the cigarette which he had just thrown in to the prisoner and the p o s s i b i l i t y of i t s t i l l lying on the ground smouldering gave him a shiver, I t made his whole head spin. Kis dream of the c h i l d evaporated, . . . Oh, l i s t e n , the sound of guns! a l i f e ! He saw as a man aet tongues of f i r e and grey smoke [from the ends of the r i f l e s ] and a body f e l l into a pool of water. 2 3 Having outlined the work we s h a l l now consider some cf the technical features of t h i s story. The p a r a l l e l description cf the impending b i r t h of the guard's c h i l d and the sudden execution of prisoner number f i v e produces Shi Tuo's dramatic visicit cf l i f e ' s capricious nature and how a true understanding cf mar's nature l i e s beyond his ken. revealed, i r part, by the poems he scratches cn the wall., This i s a narrative technigue whose tr a d i t i o n s can be traced at least as f a r back as the early King dynasty novel The Kater Margin < prisoner's nightmarish experiences in j a i l and reveal him as having a clear vision of the often incomprehensible nature cf returned to his c e l l after yet another interrogation session., l y i n g bruised and defeated the prisoner rests. Looking outdoors through a crack in his c e l l , he comes to most s t a r t l i n g conclusion: Shi Tuo's description of the prisoner's psychology i s ) , 2 * These poems r e f l e c t the man's being. On the eve of his execution, the prisoner i s 54 Through a small crack in h i s c e l l door he looked out at the vast open sky. The sky was confined to this small l i t t l e frame. . . . . I t was sunset and he saw some ravens f l y i n g by, . . . The outside wall blocked his view, but it. couldn't block his heart. The sight of those lonely birds sent him soaring out into the sky. He glanced around at the tense existence his fellow prisoners were leading. Ihis i s not the begining, t h i s i s not the end; there i s just a big road and now i t seemed he was a l i t t l e b i t further dcwn that road. But what was he doing! . . . . using his f i n g e r t i p s he scratched "World, please advance," on the c e l l w a l l . 2 5 In watching the sunset from a small crack in his c e l l door, prisoner number f i v e comes to the s t a r t l i n g conclusion that he and a l l the other prisoners have had t h e i r l i v e s devoured by t h e i r own ambitions. O r i g i n a l l y , perhaps, prisoner number five could endure the nightmarish tortures acted out within the confines of the prison because he be.lieved--as his poems suggest—that his s a c r i f i c e , the s p i l l i n g of his own blood, could a l t e r history. Ultimately, however, he r e a l i z e s that within the confines of nature—the material world separate and d i s t i n c t from human beings--his own s a c r i f i c e , and in f a c t a l l cf man's achievements count f o r naught. When viewed from the prisoner's c e l l , the human condition i s mutability, l i f e i s i l l u s o r y : for the pursuit of ambitions and ideals seem to give an order and meaning i n an often chaotic world, although i n f a c t , they only provide a temporary sig n i f i c a n c e to our l i v e s . The true tragedy of our existence i s reflected by the guard's reaction to learning that prisoner number f i v e had been sent to h i s death, The natural euphoria which the guard f e e l s for his c h i l d , about to be born into a world "free from s i n " 2 6 or any other wrong doing, i s suddenly shattered by the sound of the f i r i n g squad's r i f l e s . Upon 55 a r r i v i n g in t h i s world, Shi Tuo believed that man was a chaste, but doomed being. We are no sooner born than we begin our path to death--"This i s not the beginning, t h i s i s not the end; there i s only a big road and now i t seemed he was a l i t t l e b i t further down that road." Man ultimately disappears from the face of the earth almost as i f to prove the irrelevance of his role i n the cosmic scheme of things. In sum, regardless of what i n s i g h t s , b e l i e f s or experiences we have, they are but temporary i l l u s i o n s . In the end, nature remains unmoved, her cycle of l i f e and death eventually conquers a l l , both prisoner and guard a l i k e . T r a g i c a l l y , man's ultimate destiny l i e s beyond his control. A l l proof of h i s joys, ideologies, and s a c r i f i c e s can be o b l i t e r a t e d within the short time i t takes for an executioner to complete his appointed task. Shi Tuo's theme of how l i f e ' s capricious nature discounts any knowledge we have about ourselves or our ultimate destiny i s enhanced s t r u c t u r a l l y as well. In "The Story of the Hain," the reader i s thrown into the unfamiliar world of the story without the benefit of any background information normally considered indispensible for a f u l l comprehension of the f i c t i v e state of a f f a i r s . We are denied the time and place of the work, as well as the names, history, t r a i t s , and habitual behavior of a l l the dramatis personae, and of the relationship between them. Aside from neglecting some of h i s expositional duties of defining time and place, this narrator also does not try to sharpen our vision as t c the meaning or significance of the character's actions. By r e s t r i c t i n g the point of view to t h i s narrator of limited 56 a b i l i t i e s Shi Tuo delegates his reader to the role of a helpless spectator. Unknown characters arrive on the stage and before one has a chance to gain any sort of insight into t h e i r l i v e s they disapppear again. As the reader has only the barest of facts l a i d cut i n front of him, he i s hopelessly incapable of comprehending the forces which produce the story's dramatic turn of events. In the f i n a l analysis, the story's dramatic turn of events oppresses both characters and reader, for the reader, l i k e the characters themselves, can only conclude that a f u l l . comprehension of l i f e ' s capricious nature extends beyond man's ken. . In The Valley Shi Tuo's movement towards creating works which embodied the themes of national resistance to Japan and other foreign powers was influenced, no doubt, by the Communist's United Front p o l i c y . Many writers of thi s period took a very positive position and created works describing the i n j u s t i c e s suffered by the Chinese and how the s i t u a t i o n was amenable to action.. Shi Tuo, however, chose not to celebrate the causes which the whole nation was soon to fi g h t f o r . . The stor i e s discussed from The Valley did not try to raise national consciousness nor did they inspire the reader to combat the extreme i n d i g n i t i e s that China was suffering at the hands of foreign powers. In each of these three s t o r i e s , Shi Tuo's only . goal was to bring the reader face to face with the harsh r e a l i t i e s of the times., In "The Mute Song," Shi Tuo uses the Japanese military song as a recurring motif symbolizing Japanese control over a small Chinese v i l l a g e . I t imparts a disturbing 57 vision of the mental anguish which b e f e l l many northern Chinese following the invasion of Shenyang in September of 1931.. "The Valley" reveals hew the pressures of unstable p o l i t i c a l conditions compelled people to commit senseless and brutal acts upon each other; acts which alienated fellow countrymen from each ether. The f i n a l story, "The Story of the Rain," also employs a p o l i t i c a l backdrop and evokes an egually disturbing picture of the horrible and gruesome acts which people were committing on each other. The s t o r y 1 s message, however, extends f a r beyond the narrow bounds of the p o l i t i c a l realm to a more universal ground. E a r l i e r s t o r i e s , such as "Night i n the Valley" and "The Pilgrim," showed Shi Tuo's pessimistic v i s i o n of man's i n s i g n i f i c a n c e in the cosmic scheme of things., In "The Story of the Rain," Shi Tuo reaffirms this v i s i o n by describing how the experience of having li v e d through these p o l i t i c a l l y unstable times could foster an almost n i h i l i s t i c philosophy of l i f e ' s fickleness and how a true understanding of i t l i e s beyond one's ken. It i s primarily due to the author's s k i l l i n e f f e c t i v e l y evoking and juxtaposing images of the physical and psychological pain experienced by the Chinese of thi s period that the reader i s t r u l y able to get an inside view (and therefore a more vivid view) of the effects of such p o l i t i c a l l y unstable times on China. 58 CFiaPTEE 3 As the 1940's dawned on China, Shi Tuo's name and reputation were already well established on the Chinese l i t e r a r y scene. By virtue of his Da Gong Bao award and sheer number of publications, Shi Tuo had managed to r i s e from the ranks of the obscure to become one of China's' most recognized authors. Following the rapid issue of four c o l l e c t i o n s of short prose pieces in 1937 and 1938, Shi Tuo's l i t e r a r y output i n the ensuing years was to dip d r a s t i c a l l y . After the publication of a c o l l e c t i o n c a l l e d The Looking At People Anthology ( Kan Ben J i Tuo's works once again found their way into a c o l l e c t i o n . During t h i s two year abscence, Shi Tuo removed himself from the public eye, yet he remained active in l i t e r a r y c i r c l e s . He was involved i n a number of projects, such as the writing of h i s novel Ma Lan (which was written in 1941 but remained unpublished u n t i l 1948. l) , as well as a number of minor projects which included the adaptation of two plays for the Chinese stage. . This r e l a t i v e l y long publishing drought f o r Shi Tuo ended in 1941, when his sixth volume of stories c a l l e d , The Shanghai Epistles ( Shanghai Shou zha 7% ~$( ) , came to press. According to the author's afterword, the thirteen pieces which comprise t h i s c o l l e c t i o n were primarily composed between 1939 and 1940. P o l i t i c a l l y , t h i s i s a period best remembered f o r 1939) there was a two year hiatus before any of Shi 59 China desperately trying to defend i t s e l f against Japanese encroachment. Thematically, I propose that in The Shanghai E p i s t l e s , Shi Tuo was seeking to create a work reminiscent of The Valley_, i . e . , a work which revealed the physical and psychological impact of the Sino-Japanese War on China's .inhabitants. Unlike in past s t o r i e s , however, Shi Tuo's focus of attention was not on r u r a l China, but on Shanghai's p e t i t -bourgeois c l a s s . In order to render this cumulative p o r t r a i t of how Shanghai's well-off classes fared during t h i s period of expanded Japanese aggression, Shi Tuo adopted an e p i s t o l a r y s t y l e . Aside from the e p i s t l e s t y l e , a l l the i n d i v i d u a l prose pieces of The Shanghai E p i s t l e s share a second unifying feature: a f i r s t - p e r s o n narrator who often appears i n a dramatized role. This dramatized narrator establishes himself in the f i r s t f i v e e p i s t l e s . When viewed from the work as a whole these f i v e e p i s t l e s can be regarded as a complete prose unit, for they comprise a cycle in which the dramatized narrator and his companion return to Shanghai from the countryside. The opening e p i s t l e c a l l e d "Tired Travels" ("Juan You" ), deliberates rather extensively on the peculiar sights and sounds of the remote valley the two main characters--the narrator and his traveling companion only refered to as Mr. P--are vacationing i n . Besides highlighting their d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s , the tale ends on a rather gloomy note when upon going into town to r e t r i e v e their mail, Mr. P discovers that f i g h t i n g has broken out i n northern China (The Marco Polo Bridge 60 * Incident) . Having learned of this s t a r t l i n g development, the narrator and Mr. P immediately decide to go back to Shanghai, for they were afr a i d that i f they did not return they would become "cut off from the world": We had a resolve, a most important objective: to use a l l possible methods to return to Shanghai. y o u ' l l probably find this r i d i c u l o u s but we actually f e l t that i f we didn't return to Shanghai, i t would be as i f we had cut ourselves off from the world. 2 In the opening paragraphs of "Tired Travels" there are a large number of references made to some of the c u l t u r a l and s o c i a l d i s p a r i t i e s which disassociates the narrrator and h i s traveling companion from what he describes as the " p r i m i t i v e " l o c a l residents. The most serious of these r i f t s , however, extended beyond the bounds of the s o c i a l realm to an i n t e l l e c t u a l one. In t h i s f i r s t l e t t e r , the narrator d e t a i l s how one- of his f a v o r i t e pastimes i s his enjoyment of the mountain scenery from the comfort of a porch adjoining t h e i r temple residence. S t i l l , as their sojourn wears on, t h e i r i n i t a l awe of and elevated sentiment for these r u r a l surroundings {and one mountain in p a r t i c u l a r ) , wanes: The f i r s t impression t h i s mountain gave us was exactly the same as a l l v i s i t o r s here, i t s steepness shocked us; we gradually changed our opinions though. , F i r s t we discovered that the mountain was lacking trees; a f t e r this we r e a l i z e d that i t lacked earth. F i n a l l y , we discovered that i t did not f i t in [with the rest of the scenery], .Its steepness was i s o l a t e d . Except for the mountain's sharp sloping there was nothing else that made i t stand out. In general, we f e l t that i t was as i f i t had suddenly appeared on the horizion, i t had no h i s t o r i c a l colour, i t was not i n harmony with our s p i r i t s , . . . 3 For the narrator, the temple's surrounding topography serves as a symbol of t h i s small mountain vi l l a g e ' s i s o l a t i o n 6 1 from the rest of the world. when examined from a s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l viewpoint, the people of t h i s remote temple area have always l i v e d their l i v e s i n accordance with the thinking and the tra d i t i o n s handed down frcm one generation to the next. Aside from the unchanging s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l aspects of their l i v e s , the jjeltansicht cf these 20th century characters i s also i d e n t i c a l tc that of their forefathers. That i s to say, the concept of a world exi s t i n g independently from and contrasting tc t beir own has rarely been contemplated. These people's conception cf the world i s i d e n t i c a l with that of the young shepherd g i r l of "Night In the Valley. "That i s to say, these people also view their immediate environment as the "world"; "These lovable ancients, I'm referring to these primitive mountain pecple, their world i s probably limited to a few narrow stretches of land between mountains, . . ."* Mr.. P's returning frcm tcwn tearing the news of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident shocks the narrator, while reaffirming his b e l i e f about t h i s region's detachment from the everyday world. What distresses the narrator i s the fact that i f Mr. P had not made the t r i p into town, they would have remained unaware that fi g h t i n g had broken out i n the north. The true tragedy of this i s o l a t e d existence i s dramatically revealed i n subsequent vignettes which narrate our t*o characters' return passage to Shanghai. During the course of their journey, the narrator and Mr,. P come across hordes of pecple fleeing frcm the northern countryside as the p o s s i b i l i t y of Japanese aggression looms larger. The panic of these pecple 6 2 hastening to get themselves and their few worldly possessions onto an already overcrowded t r a i n creates for him a sense of dis t r e s s almost as intense as when he f i r s t heard the news of the fighting breaking out: Some of these cars were from Nanjing, some of them were from Shanghai, . . . because the sit u a t i o n was growing tenser they were being used to drive their passangers longer distances. Regardless of the s i t u a t i o n , rich people always l i k e to vie for f i r s t position, and in fleeing they quite obviously were not w i l l i n g to f a l l behind either. Aside from t h i s you could occassionally run into one or two people moving along slowly with their carrying poles. From this you could seemingly gain a hint; people do everything fox-l i f e . I f in the future there i s something which they can't fathom, then that's fate. No matter how fate manipulates people they can only act according to i t ; besides, they have already done everything f o r l i f e . Have you ever heard of a phenomenon more painful than t h i s ? 5 4 The chaos of such p o l i t i c a l l y unstable times knows neither age nor s o c i a l c l a s s , as the poor as well as the more af f l u e n t are affected: These members of the petit-bourgeois, these often looked down upon, well-dressed, well-fed empty l i t t l e heads were now s i t t i n g inside the hotel with their eyebrows a l l knittd up. They were no longer able to be content with t h e i r l o t s . Ihey had no choice but to think of their f u t u r e . 6 The chaotic sight and sound of these r u r a l dwellers and t h e i r r e l a t i v e l y fewer petit-bourgeois counterparts i s an omen of the pli g h t which w i l l b e f a l l both the v i l l a g e r s l e f t behind by the narrator in the mountain temple area and his p e i t i t -bourgeois and i n t e l l e c t u a l friends s t i l l comfortably residing i n Shanghai. In the case of the former, the v i l l a g e r s are seemingly isolated from the harsh r e a l i t i e s of the re a l world by virtue of their r u r a l environment. In his Zur P3jcholo£ie des Bauerntums ( The Psychology of the Peasantry) the psychologist 63 L'Houte states: It has often been said that the peasant i s incapable of thinking in h i s t o r i c a l terms. It i s the same thing with things p o l i t i c a l and geographical. For the ty p i c a l peasant, there i s nothing but his farm with which he i s en t i r e l y familiar . . . . . . P o l i t i c s , the co n s t i t u t i o n , the nation, and even humanity are strange to him, not very authentic. He possesses . „ », an extremely narrow horizon. 7 Applying L'Houte's observations, we conclude, that by f a i l i n g to comprehend the implications of a p o l i t i c a l happening such as the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, the residents of Shi Tuo's mountain v i l l a g e w i l l suffer a devastating shock and sense of disorientation when the horrors of Japanese encroachment become a r e a l i t y in t h e i r hamlet. This disorientation occurs because these people with their inherited world-views are hopelessly incapable of comprehending the complex p o l i t i c a l events which are suddenly shaping t h e i r l i v e s . Though the petit-bourgeois originate from completely d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l and educational backgrounds, Shi Tuo c l e a r l y eguates t h i s urban group with the poorer peasant c l a s s . That i s to say, Shi Tuo saw the petit-bourgeois as being equally unprepared to have to reassess the course of their l i v e s because of rapid changes i n the Chinese p o l i t i c a l climate. In sum, tunnel v i s i o n i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h e i r world-view as well. , In their p a r t i c u l a r case, however, i t i s not their i s o l a t e d environs which distances them, at least psychologically, from the mainstream of Chinese l i f e , but their healthy f i n a n c i a l standing instead. This i s a point which i s further elaborated on i n l a t e r e p i s t l e s when the narrator arrives back in Shanghai 64 and he turns his attention to delineating i n more d e t a i l the effects of these tumultuous times on Shanghai's petit-bourgeois c l a s s . The circumstances which Shi Tuo's refugees crowding the t r a i n station find themselves in c a l l s to mind a sit u a t i o n which Lu Xun describes in the Introduction of Nahan. , In t h i s section Lu Xun poses the guestion of: should the people standing outside of an escape-proof iron box l e t a group of people sleeping peacefully inside the box die i n th e i r sleep or does one try to awaken them with screams of f u t i l e warning? B r i e f l y , Shi Tuo's refugees are highly reminiscent of the people i n Lu Xun's iron box: the c r i e s of war, l i k e the f u t i l e screams of those standing outside the iron box, arouse the r u r a l dwellers from a peaceful sleep and they only f i n d themselves i n a situation from which there i s no escape. In making such a comparison, however, one must also note that C a l l to Arms stands as Lu Xun's hypothesis in action. The c r i e s of this s p r i t u a l physician are purposeful and imply that the human condition i s amenable to action. Unlike Lu Xun, Shi Tuo's c r i e s of war are t o t a l l y devoid of any hcpe or purpose. They are but a s h r i l l voice representing doom and tragedy. At the conclusion of the f i f t h e p i s t l e the narrator and Mr. P have arrived back in Shanghai. Whereas the remaining e p i s t l e s have the unity of backdrop and character of the f i r s t c y c l e , the l a t e r sections do not develop through time as had been the case with the f i r s t five l e t t e r s . Bather, i t i s the author's intention to juxtapose the comfort of Shanghai's p e t i t -65 bourgeois class with what Harold Issac's in the Introduction to Straw Sandals described as; . . [Shanghai's] great mass of he l o t - l i k e poor that kept flocking in from the ravaged countryside, providing an endless supply of the laborers, human beasts of burden, prostitutes, and utterly helpless people who l e f t some 5,000 babies on the street of the c i t y every year. 8 Such a juxtaposition shows how dehumanizing l i f e has become in these troubled times: for the helots i t s i s the obvious degradation, for the petit-bourgeois i t i s a slow, but rude awakening to the harsh r e a l i t i e s of the times. In an e p i s t l e c a l l e d "Return to One's Home" ("Chao Fu" ^ ^% ) o n e learns how upper-class white-collar workers manage to spend their i d l e hours now that they've been forced to flee t h e i r jobs and homes for the safety of Shanghai. Having the benefit of some accumulated savings these famalies are able to rent a small apartment, purchase e s s e n t i a l sundries, and generally remain content to wait out the war. The members of such families while away their days by walking the streets and al l e y s of Shanghai. Rising early i n the morning they leave t h e i r homes for a cup of tea or a bowl of noodles, searching for any serf of diversion which might temporarily a l l e v i a t e the boredom which they so desperately seek to escape. As the war ling e r s on these Mr. Xu's , Zhou's ., and Zhang's frj^C (as Shi Tuo c a l l s them) have no alternative but to tighten their belts. Some of these Mr. Xu's are fortunate i n that when their own personal finances have been depleted they are able to send their famalies to l i v e with r e l a t i v e s i n the countryside. Such plans, nevertheless, are not always ea s i l y accepted by t h e i r 66 mere sophisticated wives: lake for example Kr„ Xu's wife, she w.as already use to l i v i n g in shanghai. She was not p a r t i c u l a r l y fond of the countryside; the rooms had no flo o r s and no matter what you • wanted to buy i t was d i f f i c u l t . . Moreover, once you passed ever the threshold there was nothing tut wilderness. As far as she was concerned the distant mountains and the small stream cut back of one hundred years ago and today, one hundred years, l a t e r were exactly the same.9. Several of these Mr. Xu's don't have the benefit of such an alternative and are l e f t with no other choice but to pawn clothes and tc steal i n order for th e i r kin tc survive. l Hor these people fornerly employed in semi-executive positions, the grim r e a l i t i e s cf the war manifest themselves guickly as their finances become acre and mere constrained. . There i s a d i s t i n c t aura cf tragedy created as one becomes aware of how these characters are reduced to thievery and in some cases suicide in t h e i r quest tc dc battle with the times. S t i l l , any sympathy for the plight of these mere well-to-do white-collar famalies i s undermined by the narrator's own words i n the f i n a l paragraph of this e p i s t l e ; Aside frcm t h i s , there are people who don't belong to this class [Messrs. Xu, Zhou, and Zhang's]. O r i g i n a l l y they were wcrkers, maids or peddlers on street corners. In the f i r s t half year of the war we could see them everywhere along the side cf the roads and In back a l l e y s . In Shanghai begging i s a profession and these people, having l o s t their . jebs, had absolutely nothing. On a December morning they ccver themselves with their only possession, a ratty blanket that they snatched out from under a r t i l e r y f i r e , and sleep or the sidewalk cr in front of some door. In t h i s Shanghai of 3,000,000 people—by this time i t had already swollen tc 1,500,000 p e o p l e — i n this prosperous Shanghai, the so-called "adventure's paradise", we heard the sounds cf weeping day and night. 1 0 In short, for t h i s l a t t e r group su r v i v a l has always involved more than just a temporary readjustment i n l i f e s t y l e , 67 i t has become the essence of their daily existence. For t h i s vast majority of Shanghai's population, having neither c a p i t a l nor any r e l a t i v e s to f a l l back upon, the streets of t h i s great metropolis are not a source of diversion but the backdrop against which a nightmarish existence i s enacted. With regard to these p i t i f u l creatures, l i f e has been reduced to a simple sur v i v a l cf the f i t t e s t . These people wander the back a l l e y s of Shanghai for as long as th e i r mysterious fates allow, eventually disappearing completely from sight. In l e t t e r s six to twelve Shi Tuo t r i e s to describe the effects which such p o l i t i c a l l y unstable times had on Shanghai by s p l i t t i n g his e p i s t l e s between those which delineate how the miseries of the war slowly came to effect Shanghai's more privileged classes and those which describe the h e l o t - l i k e existence of the masses. In an e p i s t l e e n t i t l e d "Abandoned time Shanghai;, hordes of children lying forsaken in the street was not to be considered an unusual sight. They were abandoned by parents who because of dire economic s t r a i t s had relinquished a l l hope that they were capable of r a i s i n g t h e i r own ch i l d r e n . , Not knowing what else to do these unfortunate people abandon t h e i r own fl e s h and blood on Shanghai's streets, hoping that some .humanitarian might take pity on them. Unfortunately, however, the narrator reminds us that under the tension of war-time Shanghai, humanitarians are d i f f i c u l t to f i n d . , I t seems the rich are so involved in gold speculation and the hording of r i c e that they l i t e r a l l y f a i l to hear the wailing of these Children" ("Yizi" ), the narrator discusses how i n war-68 children at th e i r feet. Abandoned and rejected by a l l , these children are l e f t to fend for themselves, u n t i l one day, they simply disappear i n the garbage l i n i n g the Shanghai s t r e e t s : Nobody knows what fate awaits these children. . They themselves don't know . . . Everyday, starving, they go rummaging about garbage cans i n search of bones or a rotten piece of f r u i t and from t h i s they grow i l l . . , They run a fever for a few days and afterwards they die i n a heap of garbage or by the side of the road. Nobody goes over to inquire about them; when they die people just sweep them away l i k e garbage. 1 1 Some of Shi Tuo's petit-bourgeois characters are temporarily distanced from the grim r e a l i t i e s of the war because of a healthy f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n , while others are able to ignore the horrors around them because they are blinded by a sort of economic paranoia. In l a t e r e p i s t l e s Shi Tuo sketches p o r t r a i t s of i n t e l l e c t u a l s from t h i s class and reveals them as being s i m i l a r i l y disassociated from the plight of Shanghai's masses. Their disassociation, however, i s not d i r e c t l y linked with th e i r sound f i n a n c i a l standing or economic paranoia, but due instead to an ivory tower mentality. The most noteworthy feature of an e p i s t l e called "Shanghai" ( j> yfy- ) i s the manner i n which Shi Tuo juxtaposes the narrator's i n i t a l reaction to Shanghai's generally chaotic si t u a t i o n with the description of their a r r i v a l at the home of a professional type whose home i s located i n of the few remaining safe areas of Shanghai. After a r r i v i n g there, the narrator and Mr. P discover that their friend i s not only incapable of providing them with any re a l information as to where, for example, they might find accomodations, but, i r o n i c a l l y , he must friend of theirs Mr. Mr. l i u i s an academic-69 go and make a phone c a l l in order to ascertain "Shanghai's in t h i s episode rather than relying on a p a r a l l e l description t c establish the d i s p a r i t i e s i n the l i v e s and attitudes of war-time China's upper-classes versuses the masses, Shi luo illuminates Mr. Iiu's t o t a l unawareness to the crises engulfing t h i s c i t y by his i r o n i c gesture of making a phone c a l l to inquire of "Shanghai's conditions." In many of the remaining epistles the chasam separating the various strata of Shanghai society are further explored. In with Shakespeare and Moliere i s perhaps more reminiscent of Lcndcn or Cambridge than Shanghai: We were s i t t i n g in Mr. Wei's library.. S i t t i n g amongst Shakespeare, Moliere, . . . There were two couches that looked like s n a i l boats ycu could paddle, a writing desk, a revolving chair, and a small desk. . . Though, of course, the most important thing were s t i l l the bookcases. They sere t a l l , imposing; i t was almost as i f they had sp e c i a l l y teen placed there to be revered. 1 3 Cn t h i s day the narrator and a few other i n t e l l e c t u a l s are lamenting the recent departure cf Mr. P from Shanghai. . In his closing remarks the narrator once again touches upon the theme cf just hew iso l a t e d Shanghai's i n t e l l e c t u a l s , l i k e Mr. L i u , were from the r e a l i t i e s of war-time China: We can assume that Mr. Wei and Mr. P were going tc the tr a i n staicn to buy t i c k e t s . The western street they were walking on had very few other people on i t , as the war was ret very far from t h i s area. . . . They were walking slowly. . . talking about Stendhal, Gide, Marlow . . . [When they f i n a l l y arrived at the tr a i n station] I t was as crowded as a tank about tc go under. It was not that "Disc ussicn" ), the narrator's description of his authcr friend Mr, Wei's well-appointed l i b r a r y , shelved 70 Stendhal and Gide had delayed them, but rather some people had risked being bombed and had already been waiting for two days. 1 * In a word, Shi Tuo saw i n t e l l e c t u a l types such as Mr. , Liu and Mr. Wei as being as psychologically removed from the suffering of t h e i r fellow shanghai residents as the areas they l i v e d in where physically removed from the c r i s e s t e r r o r i z i n g Shanghai. A s t r u c t u r a l examination of t h i s section of The Shanghai E p i s t l e s reveals a number of interesting and innovative techniques, The l i t e r a r y theorist Wayne C. Booth in The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n points out that reader response can be influenced by a number of devices; chronological displacements of privileged information, r e l i a b l e and unreliable commentary, concealment, and so forth. In the second section of The Shanghai Epistles {letters 6-12) Shi Tuo manipulates reader response with a d i f f e r e n t control strategy than he used i n the f i r s t cycle. as previously stated, the f i r s t f i v e l e t t e r s represent a cycle tracing the narrator and Mr. P's return journey to Shanghai from the countryside. Aside from the f i r s t -person narrator creating an aura of authenticity for the events to be related, he may also be described as an introspective-problematic narrator; a narrator who reveals his inner emotions and dilemmas. Because t h i s spokesman for Shi Tuo continually considers his own i n t e r n a l state, the narrator never manages to stand far away from the events, thus imparting an intimacy to the s i t u a t i o n he describes. The purpose of these l e t t e r s i s to d e t a i l how the news of the outbreak of the war throws the 7 1 narrator into a state of disequilibrium and the impact which such harrowing times has on his psychology. In br i e f , by focusing on the narrator's mental processes over the period of five temporally linked l e t t e r s the reader becomes sensitized to the narrator's perceptions and the motivation behind h i s actions. Por example, after leaving the mountain temple area the narrator and Mr. P become obsessed with trying to return to Shanghai as scon as possible and at a l l costs, In the second e p i s t l e these two characters end up i n a small coast town where they intend to catch a boat for Shanghai. Unfortunately, their departure i s temporarily delayed and they are forced to spend some time i n what the narrator refers to as " t h i s f o u l l i t t l e f i s h i n g v i l l a g e . " 1 5 While for the narrator and Mr. P t h e i r return journey to Shanghai has becone almost a matter of l i f e and death, the rest of t h i s tiny hamlet goes about i t s buisness almost as usual: A breeze from over the r i v e r cooled the evening. At l a s t we had arrived i n a port c i t y . The glow of an early May or June moon was beaming down, , , There were no boats coming into the harbor nor were there any boats departing. As there was no cargo to be moved, the porters with t h e i r pipes were s i t t i n g on the wharf, casually glancing out towards the bay. . , Under the s t a r l i t sky both man and r i v e r were engaged i n guiet conversation. There were a pair of nuns dressed in black and a couple of prostitutes-- the l a t t e r were snuggled so close together that they looked l i k e younger and older s i s t e r . They were•chatting with the proprietress of a dry goods store, cracking jokes and frequently bursting into laughter (From t h i s scene one could ea s i l y imagine how the women of years ago waited for t h e i r lovers or husbands to return from sea.)There was none of the confusion or disturbing sounds that one usually hears on the docks. once and a while there came a whistling sound from off the r i v e r , afterwhich things seemed even more desolate than b e f o r e , 1 6 72 Thouch Shi Tuc's narrator's describes the a c t i v i t i e s of these common folk as leaving him with a "feeling of i ntxanguil.it y 1 7 his description i s actually a very agreeable one. His por t r a i t of the docks, i t s people, workers, and their easy ways i s in complete harmony with his description of t h e i r peaceful environs. Thus, because of t h i s contradiction between what the narrator says and what he actually shows, the reader, rather than sharing in the narrator's f r u s t r a t i o n and anguish in being forced tc lay ever i n this "foul l i t t l e seaside v i l l a g e , " actually becomes further distanced from him. What str i k e s the reader as being cut of harmony i s net the l o c a l s and t h e i r peaceful ways but the narrator's agitation and anxiety over his "mission" tc return to Shanghai. This section, then, not only raises questions about the narrator's perceptions, but about the r e l i a b i l i t y of his narration in general. After their a r r i v a l in Shanghai, the narrator's role as a dramatized character becomes less prominent and he turns his attention tc rel a t i n g short sketches centred i n Shanghai.. . In l e t t e r s six tc twelve, characters and events are no longer seen from the eyes cf an experiencing, "problematic" narrator, but from a "certain" narrator. The difference in l i t e r a r y e f f e c t between a problematic narrator and a certain narrator i s that i n l e t t e r s six to twelve there i s very l i t t l e of the i n t r o s p e c t i v e , s e l f - a n a l y s i s which characterized the narrator's role i n the f i r s t cycle. In the second half of t h i s narrative Shi Tuo does not try to endow his raconteur's experiences with the same l i f e that they o r i g i n a l l y had, 73 E a r l i e r , Shi Tuo's close notation of the dramatized, narrator's mind over the period of five or six temporarily linked l e t t e r s innerses the reader into the narrator's consciousness, where he learns the determinants cf his actions, errors and confusion as they come to l i f e on the f i c t i v e stage. „ Such a technique heightens reader involvement and his sympathies for the protagonist. In l e t t e r s six to twelve, however, Shi Tuo wants to generalize the significance of the work and he quite cbvicusly could net do that i f the narrative remained completely focused on the narrator's dramatized experiences only. In order tc accomplish this Shi Tuo switches to a certain narrator, wfac ra r e l y , i f ever, appears in a dramatized role and who prefers to t e l l cf characters and events which are not necassarily connected with him. Such a switch turns the focus of t h i s section from the narrator to an i n t e n s i f i e d observation of Shanghai l i f e , and as a result distances the reader from the narrator and the events he describes. Furthermore, because the events are now described from a si n g l e , non-introspective point cf view the r e a d e r — u n l i k e in l e t t e r s one to f i v e — d o e s not have the opportunity tc judge the r e l i a b i l i t y of the narrator's narration. This control strategy obliges the reader to b l i n d l y accept the narrator's narration'a s being r e l i a b l e and see the described events exactly as he does, i . e . , i n a pessimistic way. In the f i n a l e p i s t l e Shi Tuo uses another interesting strategy tc ensure that the reader shares his pessimism. In th i s section one might have expected the narrator to present a f i n a l vignette describing Shanghai l i f e . What he does instead 74 i s introduce a series of newspaper clippings, These clippings report everts s i iri lax to those already discussed i n e a r l i e r l e t t e r s , In introducing these clippings i t i s almost as i f i t was the narrator's desire to document that the experiences related in foregoing e p i s t l e s were no more remarkable or unconnon than the mundane events recorded in Shanghai's tabloids. The grim events discussed in these columns, i n a sense, authenticate the universality of the narrator's experiences, thus reaffirming the reader's sense of pessimism, leaving l i t t l e dcubt as tc how Shi Tuo saw such times. In previous works of Shi luo such as "The Mute Song," the wave cf alienation which overpowers characters l i k e Uncle yu i s seen as net being common tc him alone. His inner turmoil in having f a l l e n victim to Japanese aggression, and his mourning ever the fate of the v i l l a g e sons i s symptomatic of the despair which permeates the entire v i l l a g e . In The Shanghai E p i s t l e s , Shi Tuo sketches his characters engulfed in precisely the same s i t u a t i o n — t h a t i s , Chinese f a l l i n g victim to Japanese aggression—but the s p i r i t to r e s i s t the foreign invaders, the thin thread of optimism which underlies an otherwise bleak picture in stories l i k e "The valley" and "The Mute Song," ceases tc exist in The Shanghai E p i s t l e s . In t h i s c o l l e c t i o n a l l people are seen as enemies of one another.. The alienation f e l t by characters in this l a t e r work i s one in which the i n d i v i d u a l becottes conscious of a r i f t between his r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s tc himself as man — the i n d i v i d u a l , and bis more abstract cblicatiOES tc the cemmunity as man—citizen of Shanghai. In 75 times of peace mcst men are usually capable of c a r e f u l l y balancing these separate and c o n f l i c t i n g parts of t h e i r l i f e . In tiires cf turmoil, however, man often finds himself unable to hold these two roles in their o r i g i n a l equilibrium. As the chaos which seems to surround the individual no matter where he turns heightens, so his struggle to survive also i n t e n s i f i e s . Each day presents new obstacles which the individual must combat i f he i s to endure. When t h i s l i f e and death struggle reaches a climax, an alienation prevails that forces man to sever a l l his t i e s with the ccnitunity and his fellow man. As the times worsen, th i s alienation expands to swallow-up members of a l l s o c i a l strata and in time man finds himself in a milieu devoid cf any human compassion. In the Shanghai E p i s t l e s , Shi Tuo portrays a society which has i n t h i s way l o s t i t s l i f e b l o c d . It i s a society «here individuals no longer display any concern for the welfare and needs of their fellow c i t i z e n . The i n d i v i d u a l i s nc longer seen as having any sort of relationship with his f e l l c v man: rather he i s competing with him in a struggle to sorvi ve. Another technical feature which needs to be discussed i s Shi 3uo's use of the e p i s t l e format. As oppossed to the more conventional novel, a narrative which employs an epistolary s t y l e grants i t s author greater f i c t i o n a l freedoms.. By using such a format he may show, for example, his raconteur i n a scries of incidents where he becomes acquainted with and i s able to f r e e l y relate the f o i b l e s and fra.ilit.ies of characters encountered against a particular backdrop without any s t r i c t 76 regard for the conventionally l o g i c a l cause-effect relationships cr f c r the normally accepted demands of time and place. Ey using the e p i s t l e style Shi Tuo i s able to portray a wide variety of characters and their experiences by s h i f t i n g h i s narrative frcm cne scene to the next without raising negative reader response as to the p l a u s i b i l i t y of such a sudden s h i f t . Thus, The Shanghai E j i s t l e s demonstrates a plot, yet i t i s not a plot in the sense of a planned string of inte r r e l a t e d events progressing because of the reciprocal action of one force upon another. This becomes most apparent in the second cycle of The Shanohai Epistles where each e p i s t l e keys in on a p a r t i c u l a r event or character with very l i t t l e i f any e f f o r t made to join that particular segue nee cf events with what preceeded i t or with what follows i t . In this respect The Shanghai E p i s t l e s might be categorized as a 'narrative cf incident'. This i s a c r i t i c a l term applied to any extended prose narrative " i n «hich actice and mere cr less unrelated episodes dominate and plot and character are subordinate.' 1 1 8 In such works cf prose, plot structure is usually very loose; episodes may share the sanse themes and follow one another chronologically, but they are other wise independent of each ether. . Shi Tuo's combination of the e p i s t l e style and switch to a predeninantly undramatized, ncn-introspective narrator in the second cycle s h i f t s the nature, process and consequences of the war from the scale cf a private l i f e to a much larger more comprehensive one. This technique turns the reader's attention away from character tc seme ether narrative value, i n t h i s case 77 theme: a sense of capturing "the times." B a s i c a l l y , the l e t t e r s of this section create a mosaic of the s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l turmoil faced in everyday Shanghai l i f e . Each l e t t e r furthers one's understanding of how the urban folk of t h i s great metropolis fared during an increasingly tumultuous period in China's history. In the f i n a l analysis, Shi Tuo's design i n compiling such a volume was not just for the sake of a mordant portrayal of Shanghai's petit-bourgeois class. His ultimate objective i s to demonstrate that although some of the characters are able to temporarily maintain a world which i s c u l t u r a l l y and f i n a n c i a l l y independent, and others f e e l that because they l i v e in an isolated rural area that they are divorced from the p o l i t i c a l plight of northern China, eventually a l l of China's people are confronted by the grim r e a l i t i e s of Japanese aggression. , In one of the f i n a l l e t t e r s c a l l e d "The Benediction" {"Zhufu" "j^g ) , the narrator discusses how as the war continues, no one, irrespective of their educational, monetary, or s o c i a l background remains unscathed by the physical or the psychological hardships war creates. In thi s episode the narrator bumps into an old acquaintance who has recently been released from prison after having served a few years sentence. After a short exchange of pleasantries this f r i e n d of the narrator inquires as to why he looks so haggard: "For the l a s t few years i t seems as i f you've weathered a bi t of a storm." To use the term 'storm' i s perhaps a b i t to strong. It might be better to say that we've a l l changed a b i t , while at the same time we've not. We couldn't avoid such a change no matter what our attitude to l i f e was, as many of our 78 friends died right in front our eyes or were driven in t o exile cr had recanted their past. We had loved these pecple. At one time we lived in great old China and i t i s d i f f i c u l t to assess how l i v i n g in this great sea effected us. In the course of a l l history f i v e years i s as short as a wink; i n China i t was an unbearably long time for i t s people to endure. 1 9 In our e a r l i e r consideration of "The Valley" our discussion focused on the violent p o l i t i c a l upheaval sweeping r u r a l China. In that discussion we noted the wave of horror and alienation f e l t by characters when confronted with the discovery that nany Chinese collaborators, t r a i t o r s , and so f o r t h , had becone enemies cf th e i r own countrymen. The experiences which the narrator of t i e Shanghai E c i s t l e s discusses have l e f t him with an equally disturbed v i s i o n . In the former c o l l e c t i o n , however, the victims of these turbulent times such as Uncle Yu seemed po t e n t i a l l y good, , In the l a t t e r , this optimism no longer e x i s t s : a l l pecple are seen as as enemies of each other. In b r i e f , the enemy confronting the people of t h i s great metropolis i s nc longer the Japanese, but rather "the times" and the powerful impact which they have i n shaping people's l i v e s . These troubled years in Shangahi's history not only created severe economic hardship, more frighte.ning.ly, they produced within people a blindness and an immunity to the suffering cf those around them. For the narrator, the experience of having been a witness to the mania a pctu of war-time Shanghai leaves him with a pessimistic vision of how l i f e had been reduced to no mere than a day to day a f f a i r : People cf Shanghai ycu know quite well that you don't care about temmorow. If today you are short cf money or r i c e , tonight before 2 A.M. you s t i l l w i l l have gone to a hotel to smcke opium. You'll smoke as much as possible. You'll "73 inhale so much, a f t e r a l l what does tommorow have to do with you anyway? I t i s completely incapable of ever r a i s i n g your hepes again, . . 2 0 For the upper classes, t h e i r struggle i s to maintain a high economic and i n t e l l e c t u a l standard of l i v i n g for as long as possible. For the lower classes, each dawn presents but another challenge i n t h e i r a b i l i t y to endure. This daily combat f o r survival produces for a l l a vision that l i f e i s f i c k e l and ephemeral; something which may extend no further than the next sunset. 80 CHAPTER J S.hi Tuo's concern for delineating the physical and a psychological impact cf the times c l e a r l y carried over to Be morigs cf the Orchard £itj. . Shi luc's goal i n th i s f i n a l c c l l e c t i c n i s tc bring together previously published and unpublished shcrt s t c r i e s which re l a t e a variety of i n d i v i d u a l themes, and arrange them in such a way that c o l l e c t i v e l y they paint a t o t a l p o r t r a i t of l i f e in early Republican China. In order to accomplish this Shi Tuo adopted a unique form: the c y c l i c a l short stcry. My analysis w i l l reveal that Memories of the Orchard City ( hereafter, Orchard Cit.y ) i s not a haphazard c o l l e c t i o n cf disparate stories.. The unity cf Orchard City i s a unity cf a 'short stcry cycle', both in the sense of a connected series and i n the sense cf recurring development i n a set cf narratives. My analysis of Shi Tuo's Crehard City as an example of c y c l i c a l f i c t i o n has for i t s foundation the theories set forth by F c r i e s t I. Ingram in his Rep res ent at j. ye Short Story Cycles of the 20th Century. 1 According to Mr. Ingram, a short story cycle i s "a bock cf short stories so linked to each other by t h e i r authcr that the reader's successive experience on various l e v e l s of the pattern of the whole s i g n i f i c a n t l y modifies his experience cf each of i t s constituent p a r t s . " 2 There are three ways by which a set of s t c r i e s may be linked: they may be 8 1 compiled by an editor, an editor-author or by a single author., The linked s t o r i e s themselves may be composed, arranged, or completed. In a composed cycle the author creates and arranges his s t o r i e s according to a master plan which he had already conceived of prior to having written the f i r s t story. An arranged cycle i s a group of s t o r i e s which the author or editor-author has brought together to illuminate or comment upon one another by juxtaposition or association. The scheme f o r such an arrangement i s varied: r e p e t i t i o n of a single theme, recurrence of a single character, a group of characters, and so on. The t h i r d type of cycle i s a group of linked s t o r i e s which i s neither s t r u c t u r a l l y composed nor merely arranged. These works may have begun as independent s t o r i e s , yet in the process of writing them the author became conscious df unifying strands woven into the action of the story. In determining the short story cycle of Shi Tuo's Orchard City we must i s o l a t e i n t e r n a l patterns of recurrence and development. That i s to say, we must be able to group i n d i v i d u a l narrative elements, such as character, motif or symbol, and demonstrate how they share a common thematic ground. As these elements recur the themes which they share deepens. The means by which the themes, symbols, and patterns of the short story cycle i s completed i s via a 'round-off section. , In t h i s section the author attempts to draw together some of the major recurring elements that have been developing throughout the course of the work i n order to make a f i n a l statement. Ba s i c a l l y , this section serves the same function as an epilogue. 82 In his Introduction to the Orchard Cit y dated May 4th 1946, Shi Tuo traces the orig i n s of the s t o r i e s as well as h i s motivation behind compiling such a c o l l e c t i o n : I i n t e n t i o n a l l y wrote up t h i s l i t t l e c i t y to represent a l l of China's small c i t i e s . In my mind i t has l i f e , temperament, i n t e l l i g e n c e , opinions, emotions, and i t s own l i f e s p a n — j u s t l i k e a r e a l human being, 3 In order to compile a c o l l e c t i o n which represented a l l of China's small c i t i e s Shi Tuo used a structure s i m i l a r to the epistolary style of The Shanghai E p i s t l e s . In both cases the author depicts his narrator going from place to place, class to c l a s s , and involving himself i n a number of varied experiences without any s t r i c t regard for conventionally l o g i c a l cause-effect relationships or for the normally accepted demands of time and necessity. Rather than having a planned series of int e r r e l a t e d actions progressing because of the neat interplay of one force upon another, Shi Tuo uses the technique of mosaic composition. In such a broad and varied scenic presentation, s t o r i e s are usually independent of one other, yet they are a l l narrated against a single backdrop--the Orchard City. His strategy i s to move the reader through a varied series of actions involving a broad and representative cast of characters. From such a construction we may conclude that Shi Tuo i s les s concerned with presenting a coherent or chronological sequence of observations and experiences as he i s with capturing a mood or psychological setting. When examined from Ingram's theory of the short story cycle we find that the s t o r i e s of thi s c o l l e c t i o n represent an 83 arranged cycle; a group of stories which the author has brought together to illuminate or comment upon one another by juxtaposition or association. Moreover, these prose pieces can be schematized into three short story groupings, and there i s a unified progression of ideas as we travel through these cycles of s t o r i e s describing Orchard City l i f e . The f i r s t grouping t r i e s to convey a sense of what day-to-day Orchard City l i f e was like by focusing, for instance, on characters i n the midst of t h e i r daily routines. In the second group of sto r i e s Shi Tuo shows his characters in a climax of emotion, as undergoing an epiphany, which dramatically reveals some of the problems of the i r i s o l a t e d Orchard Cit y existence. In the t h i r d grouping Shi luo shows how the powerful p o l i t i c a l forces of the times and the unfathomable forces of fate combined to create a chaos which not only disturbed individual l i v e s , but imbued a l l men with a universal feeling of helplessness as to their a b i l i t i e s to control their own l i v e s . C o l l e c t i v e l y t h i s multitude of scenes and characters convey a sense of the l i f e of a given milieu and by extension transmit the mood of contemporary l i f e i n general. Stories such as "The Mailman" ("Youchai" Jj^Ji,%) and "The Lamp" ("Deng" jfJfc ) are examples of the f i r s t short story grouping. In the former, Shi Tuo's narrator captures the l o c a l mailman i n the midst of his daily routine. His narrator-observer reveals t h i s respected l o c a l figure as being d i l i g e n t in his duties, but not so much so that he doesn't find a moment or two to chat with a fr i e n d or to joke with a g l i b young v i l l a g e r : "Mailman do you have any mail for me?" "Your l e t t e r , " 84 the mailman laughed, "why your l e t t e r hasn't arrived yet., at the moment i t i s s t i l l on the road taking a l i t t l e nap." 4 Throughout the story there are other examples which further illuminate the postman's simple and honest nature, As the story draws to a close the postman i s seen traveling further along his route. Gazing up at the sky he i s so moved by the weather that he f e e l s i n c l i n e d to break into a song; he would, that i s , i f i t were not for the dignity of h i s advanced age and mustache--he i s , a f t e r a l l , the postman. Pleased that he was able to control t h i s whim, the mailman praises himself and continues along his route content to think to himself: "The weather of t h i s l i t l e c i t y i s just f i n e . " 5 In the second story Shi Tuo's narrator traces the movements of another Orchard City resident as he makes h i s way down a dark a l l e y barking his wares: the kerosene s e l l e r . This street hawker i s described as being so f a m i l i a r with the lamps he f i l l s and the a l l e y s he t r a v e l s that he can navigate and restock his patron's lamps on even the gloomiest of nights without s p i l l i n g a drop. As he moves further up the a l l e y his voice grows clearer and stronger. He pauses only long enough to f i l l a lamp or to s e l l some other of his wares, then he once again moves u n t i l his barking voice slowly fades into the night. at f i r s t glance i t would seem that in stories l i k e "The Mailman" and "The'Lamp," Shi Tuo was celebrating an idealized v i s i o n of a natural way of l i f e : of peace, innocence, community, and simple virtue. While i n s t o r i e s such as these one senses Shi Tuo's esteem for the v i t a l role which the postman and 85 kerescne s e l l e r play i n their community, his p o r t r a i t i s a paradoxical one. In a previous chapter we noted how many of Shi Tuo's early r u r a l tales painted negative and sarcastic images of small town l i f e , while others were completely devoid of any mocking commentary and were s t r i k i n g for the sentimental and reminiscing tone which they tcok on. In t h i s grouping of Orchard City s t o r i e s we find precisely the same paradoxical treatment of subject matter. That i s to say, while these stories seem to be celebrating a simple and unencumbered way of l i f e , they also reveal, for example, the narrow i n t e l l e c t u a l horizons nurtured by such a r u r a l existence. In d e l i v e r i n g two l e t t e r s from Gansu and Yunnan, the postman becomes perplexed and even s l i g h t l y vexed in trying to pinpoint such "faraway" places with his underdeveloped imagination: he couldn't help but sigh to himself, "This l e t t e r i s from r e a l l y far away." He had never thought of a place further away than t h i s . In f a c t , he was a l i t t l e muddled as to where Gansu and Yunnan actually where. , He wondered as to why these places were situated so f a r away, so f a r away that one never had the opportunity to taste any food from there. 6 Shi Tuo's portrayal of the kerosene s e l l e r ' s daily routine i s equally disturbing. This character's tasks are so r i t u a l i z e d that, glancing neither to the l e f t nor to the r i g h t , he can perform them in the darkness of a crumbling a l l e y with robot-l i k e efficency. In sum, "The Postman" and "The Lamp" reaffirm Shi Tuo's paradoxical vision of r u r a l l i f e . These s t o r i e s reveal Shi Tuo's emotional v a c i l l a t i o n concerning the pastoral lure of the Orchard City's simple, regulated l i f e and the stagnating e f f e c t s which such an iso l a t e d existence has on the 86 i n d i v i d u a l . In the minds of the postman and the kerosene s e l l e r this tension, cf course, does not exist. Therefore, they are able to plod onwards, oblivious of any real goal or purpose to their l i f e other than getting through the day. It i s only i n the second short story grouping that Shi Tuo sketches Orchard City residents discovering the hollowness of their r u r a l l i f e . The s t o r i e s "Peach" ("Taohong" {fa ) and "He Wenlcng's Manuscript" ("He Wenlong de Wengao" ^L^^ 5(^ _ •<f^ 9 ) are examples of the Orchard City's second short story grouping. "Peach" sketches a young l o c a l g i r l who as a ste r o t y p i c a l f i l i a l daughter serves her aging mother. The story opens with the narrator's t r a n q u i l , almost soothing description of how a late afternoon i s spent at the Meng household. The daughter i s seated i n her t r a d i t i o n a l spot just outside t h e i r home sewing clothes for her dowry and enjoying the l a s t warming rays of a setting sun, while her mother slumbers through her r i t u a l post-luncheon nap. The t r a n q u i l i t y of such a seemingly b l i s s f u l domestic scene slowly dissipates as the narrator moves from his position of mere observer to reveal the mechanics of the young g i r l ' s mind. This s h i f t exposes how ideas of the f u t i l i t y and worthlessness of sewing yet another a r t i c l e of clothing for a dowry which w i l l never be used pick at her brain. As the narrator traces the Meng g i r l ' s slow climb to r e a l i z a t i o n a peak of emotional tension i s reached i n a dramatized exchange between the Meng g i r l and a street vendor who t r i e s to s e l l her even more sewing goods for her overstuffed dowry. I t i s precisely at thi s point i n the story, when she 87 examines th i s vendor's goods yet one more time that she has a revelation,' that denotes a sudden awareness of time having slipped by and that she would never marry: But how can we explain the inner emotions of a 29 year old young lady? A l l at once, just when she was i n the process .of trying to figure out where t h i s [damask] might go best, she was suddenly overcome by a wave of disappointment, a wave of pessimism. Nobody could have predicted t h i s , . . ".I don't want anything," she r e p l i e d . . She didn't want anything. She had already sewn two trunks f u l l of clothes. She had already stitched wedding clothes for g i r l s as old as she was, as well as for g i r l s from the generation a f t e r hers. Furthermore, she had already sewn her mother's funeral clothes, what else was there l e f t for her to sew? 7 Following her revelation the Meng g i r l sends the peddler away. Betiring to her room the g i r l ' s g r i e f turns from tears to one of s i l e n t anguish as she stares out her window into oblivion. In the second representative story from this grouping the protagonist experiences a similar revelation. This i s the story of He Wenlong, a middle-aged man who was forced to abandon the dreams of his youth to become an ordinary school teacher.. D i s s a t i s f i e d with h i s carrer and "seeing that a l l else was without hope, he placed a l l his expectations into one c a l l i n g ; he hoped that some day he might be able to become a w r i t e r . " 8 Despite such ambitions, the r e s p o n s i b i l i t e s of being a teacher, then teacher-husband, and eventually teacher-husband-father, allow him no time to devote to his writing. One day, years af t e r he had abandoned the notion of becoming a writer he accidentally stumbles across an aborted manuscript. He re-reads the opening paragraph of a story which describes a weary eagle coming to rest on a tree in a vast wasteland. As t h i s noble 88 bird searches above and below him, he sees no sign of l i f e except f o r packs of lesser animals, such as rodents and other vermin who are able to survive in an area as desolate as t h i s . As He Wenlong re-examines this section he r e c a l l s the optimisim with which that description was composed: What he was thinking about were the conditions under which this manuscript was written many years ago, [He concluded that] Without a doubt, hope, i n t e l l i g e n c e , patience, and w i l l - - a . l l these human v i r t u e s — a r e much more d i f f i c u l t to mature than s i n , yet at the same time these i d e n t i c a l virtues are more eas i l y corrupted and concealed than s i n . I f he [He] was worthy of being called an eagle, then this eaglets last hope was gone. A wave of sorrow suddenly overcame him, . . , 9 An important s t r u c t u r a l difference of this grouping of stories i s the narrator's s h i f t from a mere witness who barely, i f ever, reveals a character's psychology to one who penetrates the mental processes of his dramatis Jgersonae. In these two s t o r i e s character psychology i s uncovered via revelation.. The type of intense revelation expressed by the young Meng g i r l and He Wenlong c a l l s to mind a revelation f i r s t experienced by the character Cranly in Stephen Hero, and which In Jcyceian terms have come to be calle d 'epiphanies'. 1 0 An epiphany i s l i t e r a l l y a manifestation of some divine being. The term, however, has also come to gain widespread usage in a secular sense as well. As a c r i t i c a l term used by Joyce and as applied to Shi Tuo i t comes to designate an event i n which the e s s e n t i a l nature of something, be that a si t u a t i o n , person or object i s perceived i n a quick f l a s h . I t i s a sudden i n t u i t i v e grasp of r e a l i t y whereby something customarily viewed as simple and commonplace i s seen i n a new l i g h t . 8 9 In order to f u l l y comprehend the nature of these two characters' epiphanies we need to consider how the unbroken routines of Orchard City l i f e repress a character's awareness of time and the basic problems of human existence. These two characters' epiphanies and the subsequent waves of despair which overcome them reveal Shi Tuo's vision of a problem facing the residents of the Orchard C i t y — a s well as a l l men: i n being placed on t h i s planet, how i s man to endure? In order to survive i t becomes necassary for man to perform cycles of time and energy consuming tasks. Eventually, man also learns to l i v e and work within a certain s o c i a l order and to follow the custom and t r a d i t i o n s of t h i s order. As these s o c i a l habits are passed from father to son, the foundation for such an order are strengthened. Tradition i s another force binding one generation to' the next, and along with the former constitutes the primary basis of s o c i a l continuity i n human society. T r a g i c a l l y , however, man often becomes so involved in the routines of day-to-day l i v i n g that he becomes blind to everything but the man-made world. The i n d i v i d u a l , of course, needs to engage i n mundane tasks and to follow customs key to his survival and a b i l i t y to l i v e in harmony with his fellow man; nonetheless, he remains un.fufil.led unless he can balance these demands by pursuing ambitions and hopes which lay at the roots of each person's l i f e . 1 1 In b r i e f , in everyday l i f e the i n s t i n c t f o r self-preservation compels man to walk i n beaten paths, sometimes to an unwarranted degree. This stagnation i s perfetly represented by the r u r a l and conservative l i v e s led in the 90 Orchard City. Because cf low mobility and t h e i r physical i s o l a t i o n , Orchard City f c l k regard their native parts as the "world". The most important framework of which was the h i s t o r i c a l - s o c i a l r e l ations passed from one generation to the next. Born into such unchanging environs the i n d i v i d u a l was extremely conscious of his inherited s o c i a l role, as well as his t r a d i t i o n a l obligations to family and kin, The s o c i a l continuity of the Orchard City was determined by these environmental and hereditary factors. Such a continuity endures as long as people are born with the same inborn p r o c l i v i t i e s as their forefathers and there exists a degree of s i m i l a r i t y in the physical environment i n which subseguent generations l i v e . Though such s o c i a l continuity may bring to the community a sense of unity and s o l i d a r i t y , i t may not be benefical to the i n d i v i d u a l . In the above two s t o r i e s , Shi Tuo's characters are seen trapped in a s t a t i c society where time moved so slowly that " t h i s family [the Meng's] didn't even need a c l o c k . " 1 2 Their mental anguish i s due to an unsatisfied i n s t i n c t . An unsatisfied i n s t i n c t i s the result cf the crushing of natural and legitimate aspirations; something which prevents s e l f -expression, s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n . In the case of the Meng g i r l , she i s torn between f i l i a l duty to her aging mother and her desire tc lead an independent l i f e . Her inte r n a l c o n f l i c t i s represented symbolically by her having long ago completed her mother's funeral clothes (a suggestion that she was prepared for and perhaps subconsciously desired her mother's death) and her 9 1 endless devotion to sewing clothes for her dowry. , He Wenlong, on the other hand, i s torn between his desire to write and his exhausting obligations as teacher-husband-father. In sum, in this second story grouping man's aspirations are blocked because the in d i v i d u a l i s burdened by the t o i l s and conventions of everyday l i f e , which blinds them from managing a sober evaluation of themselves and the world around them, , The epiphanies of these characters dramatically penetrate the tissues of t h e i r feelings and come to the roots of their existence. Unfortunately, however, the insight which these revelations provide are too powerful. Characters' sudden awareness of passing time oppresses them with a vision of what has been--and now w i l l never be. Thus, rather than providing the courage fo struggle onwards, these revelations seem only to cause a type of mental paralysis which drags them deeper into the channels of despair, "The Stuffbox" ("Yanliao He" J i g ^ ) and "Haughty" ("Aogu" ^ ) a r e examples of the f i n a l short story grouping. The main character of the former i s a l o c a l g i r l who attended a teacher's college outside the Orchard City. a f t e r her graduation, she returns to her home town to become a grammar school teacher: After You Sanmei y w ^ graduated, she obtained a position as a grammar school teacher in the orchard C i t y , among the young g i r l s [ of the Orchard C i t y ] she should have been an exception, she should have had happiness, as she was always f u l l of laughter and because her heart was good, . 1 3 After assuming her position as a teacher, a year or so passes 92 during which time she leads a seemingly happy li.fe--"Fate, however, had arranged her misfortune," 1 4 One evening she attends a small s o c i a l gathering for the school's f a c u l t y and finding the mood to be guite festive she leads her collegues i n drink and i n song. Unfortunately, she gets so drunk that she gets seduced into spending the night with one of the male party-goers. From t h i s evening on her l i f e was never to be the same: As soon as You Sanmei woke up the next morning she turned into the melancholy You Sanmei, In no time she became very thin, her rosy cheeks became sunken, her radiating eyes became vacant and gloomy, almost as i f they had been cried dry, . , But despite a l l t h i s she gritted her teeth and didn't utter a word. After t h i s a f f a i r she s t i l l attended school for a couple of months, then her mother began to notice her bodily changes, whereupon she took sick l e a v e . 1 5 In the ensuing months You Sanmei f a l l s deeper into the depths of despair. Eventually, she becomes so depressed that she takes her own l i f e by pcisioning herself. In the f i n a l paragraph the narrator i s overcome by emotion and inquires of his audience; Why i s i t that youths such as t h i s , these people who should have been happy, these people who gave mankind hope . . . who added beauty to the world . . . why i s i t that they suffer this sort of misfortune? . . ., A wave of pain and depression overcame us, 1 6 In the second story the protagonist i s not the victim of fate but of the times. "Haughty" i s the story of an Orchard City youth who received his education outside his home town and one day returns home an advocate of "Western thinking." T r a g i c a l l y , Orchard City residents seeking reform such as t h i s young man, were dealt blows reminiscent of the fate which b e f e l l the character Cheng of "Cheng Yaoxian." As discussed e a r l i e r , Cheng was a revolutionary who survived the extermination of 93 Communists, but bore the trauma of such a harrowing experience for the rest of his l i f e . Similar to Cheng, the protagonist of "Haughty" travels home and discovers that he i s caught in a battle between the "old" and the "new," for h i s return to the Orchard City advocating reform and Western ideas r e s u l t s only i n his ideas being misunderstood and his prin c i p l e s maligned. Having f a i l e d at t h i s attempt at reform, he r e t i r e s to the l i f e of a b i t t e r and eccentric recluse. Protagonists of other st o r i e s from t h i s grouping suffer a similar fate: a childhood friend of the narrator's i s executed for his p o l i t i c a l connections [Communist], while other more well-to-do Orchard City c i t i z e n s are l e f t v i r t u a l s h e l l s of the men they once were following the Communist occupation in 1927. An aura of pessimism surrounds these stories because man--be he young or old, r i c h or p o o r — i s no longer seen as having any re a l control over his own destiny. . This i s a point which w i l l be further elaborated on i n l a t e r sections of thi s chapter., Having roughly outlined the three short story groupings we w i l l now discuss the technical features of these s t o r i e s . Common to a l l the prose pieces and forming part of a pattern lay various connective devices. As i s the case with The Shanghai E p i s t l e s , a reminiscing narrator i s the key st r u c t u r a l element c o n t r o l l i n g the tone and angle of every story. He i s the chief source of unity. Although the l i v e s and stories set out for the audience between the pages of the Orchard City a l l occur i n the same community, they often seem unconnected with one another. It i s only via the narrator's mind that these r u r a l f o l k are 94 seen as a true community. In re-reading the introduction, however, one discovers a number of contradictory statements, which compels one to reassess the narrator's r o l e . In the opening paragraphs of this section Shi Tuo the author remarks that the origins of t h i s work can be traced to July 1936 and how on a return t r i p to Shanghai he decided to lay over at a friend's home situated in a small c i t y . This respite lasted a considerable period of time., In a conversation with his friend's younger s i s t e r one day he t o l d her that he was going to use their small town as the background for a book: I told her I had a purpose for wishing to use t h e i r small town to write a book [goes on to describe his fascination with their small c i t y ] . , . . . . This i s the history of why I desired to write Memories of the orchard p i t y . 1 7 But in the l a t t e r stages of t h i s same introduction the author weakens support for any e a r l i e r conclusion which might have suggested that i n compiling such a volume he was attempting to recreate a true experience: The main character of this book i s a small town which exists in my imagination. It i s not Mr.. Ma Shuao, nor i s i t the " I " . I don't know t h i s "I's" status, his personality, character nor a single word that he says. I don't know who he i s or where he wants to go, 1 8 This statement implies that the words of the " I " must be attributed not to Shi Tuo the man, nor to Shi Tuo the author, but rather to t h i s f i c t i o n a l narrator. A further point of confusion occurs in attempting to discern how the " I " narrator who comes on the stage in the f i r s t chapter with words: "Now 9 5 please allow me tc talk a bit about the a f f a i r s cf the Orchard C i t y , " 1 9 d i f f e r s from the dramatized narrator s t e a l t h i l y i d e n t i f i e d as Er. Ma, While i t i s true that a l l the characters, events, and scenery were ultimately f i l t e r e d through and composed by Shi Tuo, i t i s s t i l l important to note how these various narrative voices contribute tc the works overall structure, Ey using these various voices an atmosphere of i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s flowing past one another, of having been known by any number of people i s created. This sort of structure provides an i l l u s i o n cf l i v e s touching yet nonetheless remaining distant, seemingly connected, yet not. ft second st r u c t u r a l feature of these stories i s the ubigcitous prescence of the narrator. In making even the most s u p e r f i c i a l cf readings one w i l l be very quick tc discover that the narrator i s very conscious of his relationship with the reader. P a r t i c u l a r l y prcninent are intrusions i n the form of r h e t c r i c a l questions, imaginary colloguies with the reader and pericdic digressions in the story. Examples from two works should s u f f i c e in i l l u s t r a t i n g the nature of such i n t r u s i o n s : Rcw perhaps ycu'd l i k e to ask,"Could i t be possible that this was the end of him? It was here that he wasted his one ard cnly l i f e ? " Please be a l i t t l e patient and hang on for a moment, a cement i s r e a l l y a l l that i s needed. 2 0 It was in the second, third or fourth year of the Eepublic--I• m r e a l l y not a l l that sure--anyway, you just try and imagine what those good old days were l i k e . 2 1 Other examples which i l l u s t r a t e a s o l i d a r i t y between this t e l l e r of tales and his reading audience i s his frequent use of phrases, such as "Ycu*ve probably heard s t o r i e s l i k e t h i s 96 before 1 1 or "Let's pause here for a moment or two." During the course of certain works Shi Tuo's narrator sometimes switches the story from a first-person " I " to a second-person "yet". The strategy behind s h i f t i n g from an " I " to a 'you" i s that i t quickly absorbs the reader into the i l l u s i c n a r y f i c t i o n a l present of the story: There i s only one post o f f i c e in t h i s town and one i s r e a l l y mere than enough, as nobody has ever seen two people walk into i t at the same time, . . . I f for scne reason you haven't pasted any stamps on your l e t t e r s and ycu forgotten to bring along any change, there r e a l l y i s no reason tc get upset. You can boldly walk into the post o f f i c e , . . .[and ask] "Do you have any stamps?" The postmaster w i l l laugh and reply, "Why of course, of course, you won't need many, w i l l ycu?" "I haven't brought along any money i s that ok?" Then nodding his head once mere the postmaster w i l l reply "Certainly, s i r . . Did you bring the l e t t e r s along? I ' l l paste them on for you." Whereupon he w i l l grope around i n a drawer, p u l l out the stamps and, i n fact, personally l i c k and afi x them for y c u . 2 2 This technique of Shi Tuo's forces the reader to id e n t i f y with the , !ycu" and compels one to become more deeply involved with the f i c t i o n a l events than would have been possible with the use of a single narrative voice alone. Conversely, a s h i f t from a "you" to an " I " has exactly the opposite e f f e c t ; breaking the i l l u s i o n cf r e a l i t y and in doing so drawing the reader away from any ever involvement in the f i c t i o n a l events that happen to.have the audience's attention* Shi Tuo sometimes employs a pseudo-omniscient narrator-—a technique seen e a r l i e r i n "The P i l g r i m " — t o control reader response. As the implied author and organizer of these reminiscences, Shi Tuo's narrator i s capable of knowing, seeing, and t e l l i n g whatever he wishes i n the story. His narrator 97 freely s h i f t s frcm the external to the inner world of a number of characters, as well as the time and place of the work,, In seme s t c r i e s , however, t h i s otherwise omniscient narrator claims that he i s incapable of commenting upon the meaning of the stories or come tc any r e a l conclusion as to what forces stand over characters li k e You Sanmei and determine t h e i r destiny. Instead, t h i s narrator implores the reader to explain such puzzling phencnencn tc him. Obviously, because the reader i s not acguainted with nor does he have more than the barest of facts l a i d cut in front of him, he is even less capable than the narrator of fathering why characters li k e You Sanmei and other scions of happy and prominent Orchard City families end up walking the streets of despair. In sum, by professing to know no answers himself, the narrator puts the dramatis personae even further cut cf reach, and the only conclusion that the reader i s able tc come to i s that the comprehension of the character's fate, l i k e irony i t s e l f , stands beyond the i n d i v i d u a l ' s ken. . The years 1911-193 1 which serve as a backdrop to t h i s c o l l e c t i o n , saw China undergo a period of great s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l upheave 1. It was a round of years which also saw huge advances in modern Chinese i n t e l l e c t u a l development, The commencement cf this development can be traced to the late 19th century when a series of military and diplomatic humiliations induced a few Chinese o f f i c a l s to explore, i s o l a t e , and reform many of the c u l t u r a l and material problems facing an increasingly backwards China, Though t h i s Hundred Days Reform, 98 as i t cause to be c a l l e d , was short-lived, early 20th century i n t e l l e c t u a l s found themselves r a l l y i n g under their o r i g i n a l banner. As the a n t i - i m p e r i a l i s t May fourth (1919)Movement has developing i n p o l i t i c a l c i r c l e s , Chinese i n t e l l e c t u a l s were embarking upon a campaign directed against feudal culture. Though th i s new c u l t u r a l movement was bread in i t s attack, i t ba s i c a l l y was a movement led by Western-thinking i n t e l l e c t u a l s seeking a complete revision of the i n t e l l e c t u a l standards and moral values of an outdated Confucian society. The advent of such a neveirent narked the beginning of an age cf tension between the "new" culture and the older, more t r a d i t i o n a l concepts of Chinese society. Memories of the Orchard City seeks tc capture a sense of t h i s and the other tensions of the early Republican era by juxtaposing stories which pcrtray everyday Ct chard City l i f e with those which delineate the impact of the powerful c u l t u r a l , s o c i a l , and p o l i t i c a l forces of the time cn thi s t r a d i t i o n a l society. In t h i s respect. Memories of the Crchard City shows the maturity of Shi Tuc's prose a b i l i t i e s , for he attempts tc go beyond the i n d i v i d u a l themes of e a r l i e r works, such as the Japanese menace, to present his t o t a l p o r t r a i t of t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese society in t r a n s i t i o n . In sum, this c c l l e c t i c n net only represents a re-assertion of certain fundamental themes which concerned the young author, but a consummate re-working of e a r l i e r themes into a narrative of greater scope and complexity. In attempting to establish the theme cf the work, one r e c a l l s the words of the l i t e r a r y h i s t o r i a n fiichard M. Eastman, 9 9 w h o i n h i s G u i d e t o t h e N o v e l w r o t e t h a t " t h e f u l l e s t v a l u a t i o n o f a n y n o v e l g r e a t o r s m a l l d e p e n d s u p o n i t s s e n s e o f h i s t o r i c m o m e n t . " 1 2 W i t h t h e s e w o r d s i n m i n d w e c o n c l u d e t h a t a f u l l a p p r e c i a t i o n o f t h e O r c h a r d C i t y h i n g e s u p o n S h i T u o ' s f a b r i c a t i o n a n d a r t i c u l a t i o n o f a n i n t e g r a t e d p e r c e p t i o n o f h o w h e s a w m a n ' s e x i s t e n c e i n t h i s p o i n t o f C h i n a ' s h i s t o r y . , T h e f i r s t g r o u p i n g o f s t o r i e s ( " T h e P o s t m a n " a n d " T h e L a m p " ) i l l u s t r a t e s m o s t c l e a r l y S h i T u o ' s v a c i l l a t i n g v i s i o n o f l i f e i n t h e C h i n e s e c o u n t r y s i d e ; a f e a t u r e w h i c h w a s m o s t e v i d e n t i n t h e s t o r i e s o f h i s e a r l y y e a r s ( 1 9 3 1 - 1 9 3 8 ) . , I n t h e O r c h a r d C i t y , S h i T u o o n c e a g a i n c e l e b r a t e s t h e t r a n q u i l i t y o f t r a d i t i o n a l s m a l l t o w n l i f e w h i l e r e m a i n i n g c r i t i c a l o f i t s p o w e r t o t r a p t h e i n d i v i d u a l i n a n o p p r e s s i v e a t m o s p h e r e w h i c h l e a v e s h i m m e d i o c r e , a s w e l l a s s p i r i t u a l l y a n d m e n t a l l y d e a d . T h o u g h t h e c h a r a c t e r s o f s t o r i e s l i k e " T h e P o s t m a n " a r e s e e n a s h a v i n g w o r l d - v i e w s t h a t a r e a b s u r d l y n a r r o w a n d s t a t i c , i t i s o n l y i n t h e s e c o n d s h o r t s t o r y g r o u p i n g t h a t t h e a u t h o r r e v e a l s h o w l i f e i n t h e s e r u r a l p a r t s c r u s h e d t h e i n d i v u d a l ' s n a t u r a l a n d l e g i t i m a t e a s p i r a t i o n s . T h i s t h e m e o f a r u r a l l i f e s t i f l i n g t h e i n d i v i d u a l a n d s h r i n k i n g h i s W e l t a n s i c h t h a s i t s r o o t s i n s t o r i e s l i k e " N i g h t i a t h e V a l l e y " ; a s t o r y w h i c h p o r t r a y s a y o u n g s h e p h e r d g i r l f e e l i n g t h e p a n g s o f a l i e n a t i o n i n s u d d e n l y d i s c o v e r i n g t h e l i m i t a t i o n s o f h e r s h r u n k e n w o r l d - v i e w . , I n t h i s s e c o n d g r o u p i n g t h e a u t h o r c a p t u r e s h i s d r a m a t i s £ § r s o n a e i n a c l i m a x o f e m o t i o n — a s u n d e r g o i n g a n e p i p h a n y — w h i c h p e r m e a t e s t h e t i s s u e s o f t h e i r f e e l i n g s a n d c o m e s t o t h e r o o t s o f t h e i r e x i s t e n c e . 100 In part, the t h i r d grouping of st o r i e s c a l l s to mind many of Shi Tuo's e a r l i e r works , such as "Cheng Yaoxian" and others found i n The Valley and The Shanghai E g i s t l e s . ,, In these s t o r i e s character a l i e n a t i o n stems from their having been trapped i n a troubled period i n China's history. It was a period when ind i v i d u a l s f e l l helpless to p o l i t i c a l events over which they had no control, and which imbued them with a pessimistic f e e l i n g as to t h e i r a b i l i t y to control their own destinies., Characters l i k e the protagonist of "Haughty" had the clearest v i s i o n of the problems of the times and he t r i e d to struggle against them, yet l i k e the people of Lu Xun's iron box those who saw the most suffererd the most. Nowhere i s t h i s t o t a l v i s i o n of a society gone s l i g h t l y out of control more evident than i n the round-off section, "The Three Small Personages" ("Sange Xiao fienwu" =L ^ In t h i s rounding o f f section, Shi Tuo t r i e s to blend elements from a l l three short story groupings into one f i n a l story. His narrator traces the l i v e s of three Orchard C i t y youths from the dying years of the Qing to the early 1930's. The central characters are the elder son and daughter of a family whose father serves as the gatekeeper at the Hu's home. As the son of the gatekeeper one of Young Zhang's r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s was to accompany the Hu g i r l to and from school. As a sort of bonus for performing t h i s chore. Young Zhang i s allowed to attend classes with the two Hu children. Young Zhang was fortunate in that he was able to reap the 4 ) . and the simple son of a l o c a l 10 1 benefits of an education unavailable to most, yet i t Has not without i t s cost. Because of his i n f e r i o r s o c i a l position Young Zhang, or "nosedripper" as the Hu children come to c a l l him, i s also the scapegoat for the Hu son's crude jokes and his s i s t e r s ' s feminine scorn. Despite such daily abuse Young Zhang never protests t h e i r cruelty and the years pass unnoticed u n t i l a Communist insurrection forces Mrs. Hu and her children to flee to the countryside. Young Zhang, of course, does not join them in their escape., In fact, rather than f l e e i n g , and despite his father's violent disapproval, he joins the ranks of l o c a l supporters sympathetic to the Communist cause. The Red insurrection i n the Orchard City l a s t s only a few months but the damage done to the town and the Hu home i n p a r t i c u l a r i s devastating. Mrs. Hu's f i r s t act i n returning from the countryside i s to scold and beat Old Zhang; holding him personally responsible f o r the destruction created by the Reds and his son. The elder Zhang pleaded with her to believe that he had oppossed his son's decision to j o i n those "scoundrels" and that he had since disowned him, but his protestations f a l l upon deaf ears. For f a i t h f u l l y serving the Hu's, as h i s forefathers had already done fo r countless generations, Old Zhang's reward i s to be ousted from his small gatekeeper's home. V i r t u a l l y overnight this hard working and honest man loses his son, job, and home, and with nowhere else to go he r e t i r e s to a l o c a l temple where he l i v e s out h i s years as a pauper--a s h e l l of the man he once was. While the Hu's are able to survive such p o l i t i c a l l y 10 2 unstable times, they were unable tc escape l i f e ' s i r o n i e s . As a young man the Hu son i s able to use his family's wealth and influence tc firmly establish himself as a powerful Orchard City resident. Hu i s able to maintain such a position f o r about four years and then through a variety of misfortunes goes bankrupt. In a short period of time, this once powerful family i s thrown into the depths cf poverty. Hu t r i e s to regain some of h i s family's l e s t status by frequently acting as a middleman between ransom-victims and captors. Though his status as a go-between for criminals f a i l s to regain for him his family's l o s t s o c i a l status, i t does provide an income. T r a g i c a l l y , however, t h i s r i s e from poverty i s shattered when Hu i s murdered i n cold blood by a ransom-victim he t r i e d tc doublecross.. after her son's violent death Krs. Hu, who has already f a l l e n from the ranks of the aristocracy tc become a pennyless old woman l i v i n g in a horse barn, finds herself with absolutely no one to rely upon except her daughter. as a student l i v i n g outside the Orchard City, the young Hu g i r l had f a l l e n madly in love with one of her in s t r u c t o r s . As i t turns out though, the g i r l becomes a naive victim of a t r i c k s t e r , for after spending just one night with her, the instructor abandons her and i s never heard frcm again., Without any alternative, the Hu g i r l returns home to the Orchard City heartbroken and disgraced. After coming back she i s forced by ber brother's death and dire f i n a n c i a l circumstances to become a prostitute. Growing up i n the Orchard City the young Hu g i r l was admired by one and a l l for her family's powerful name and 103 a r i s t o c r a t i c beauty. Now, her tarnished reputation i s famous only among s a i l o r s and tradesmen. I r o n i c a l l y , on a street corner not far away from where she presently dees "buisness" there i s a photo shop which displays a picture of her taken as a ycut b. ycu might ask, "Kho i s t h i s beautiful Oriental g i r l [ i n the picture], cculd i t possibly be Bu Fengying?" She i s a l i t t l e d ifferent new than the e a r l i e r Hu Fengying; she i s a l t t l e thinner and a l i t t l e "older". Anyway, no matter what, we couldn't help but get the general feeling that there was a kind of an aura of the whore about her, that i s what I meant by a l i t t l e c i d e r . 2 * The ultimate irony, however, occurs i n the l a s t pages of the work when Ycung 2hang, the Hu brother and s i s t e r ' s former scapegoat, catches a glimpse of her while walking down a street. It has been years since Ycung Zhang l a s t returned to the Orchard City cr seen her. He looks absolutely nothing li k e the "nosedripper" cf his youth, having matured into a rather well-kempt young man dressed in a buisness s u i t . In passing by he rea l i z e s i t i s her but he does nothing t c draw her attention: He never imagined that this unforgettable maiden of the creams of his youth cculd end up li k e t h i s . He leaned over to l i s t e n [to her d i t t y ] , then he continued on walking into the depths cf the a l l e y . My story ends here. I won't write that t h i s hero . . . saved t h i s beauty after a l l these years of pain and s u f f e r i n g , as i t didn't happen. Because, tc l i v e ten years In such an era i s egual to l i v i n g a hundred in our forefathers'. 2 5 It i s cn t h i s rather pessimistic note that Shi Tuo concludes his c o l l e c t i o n of tales. "The Three Small Personages," stands as Shi Tuo's capsulized portrait of the destiny which b e f e l l one Orchard City family during a c r u c i a l juncture i n China's history. The Hu 104 family's decline frcm the ranks of the aristocracy to the depths of poverty i s reminiscent of the t r a g i c blows dealt to Orchard City characters cf e a r l i e r s t c r i e s such as Ycu Sanmei. When these youths f i r s t a r r i v e on the f i c t i v e stage their futures are described as holding great promise, yet as adults each one cf them ends up walking the streets of despair: the Hu son loses the family fortune, his s i s t e r becomes a prostitute, and Ycu Sanmei dies a suicide victim. The ultimate misfortune which overtakes these characters oppresses the reader with a vision of man succumbing tc the ubiguitous forces of fate and how the unfathomable mechanics of these forces discounts any knowledge we have of cur environment and those who reside i n i t - - a theme f i r s t seer in Shi Tuo's "Night in the Valley." What adds to the pessimism of "The Three Small Personages" already bleak picture is that characters are no longer just doing battle with the forces of f a t e , but the forces of man as we l l . In this f i n a l story Shi Tuo shows how the peaceful and well-regulated Orchard C i t y l i f e portrayed in "The Postman" and "The Kerosene S e l l e r " i s suddenly thrown into a state of chaos b y the p o l i t i c a l forces of the times. These powerful forces create a chaos which i s sc unsettling that i t produces within people a feeling that "to l i v e ten years i n such an era i s egual tc l i v i n g a hundred in cur forefathers' time." The misery and tragedy which these forces create i s c l e a r l y seen i n the character of Old Zhang. Charcaters such as Old Zhang, l i k e the r u r a l refugees of The Shanghai Epistles lead the r e l a t i v e l y uneventful l i v e s cf farmers and labourers. In t h i s respect, 105 t h e i r existence d i f f e r s very l i t t l e from that of their forefathers. Yet v i r t u a l l y overnight their well-regulated l i v e s are turned completely tcpsey-turvey hy the advent of p o l i t i c a l events over which they have no control (e.g. the Japanese invasion cf Manchuria, the c i v i l war) and which destroyed any notions cf the Orchard City's natural and s o c i a l world as being recognizable and managable. As the mechanics of these forces which are suddenly seen as standing over and shaping the individual's destiny cannot be comprehended from the character's inherited world-view, any relationship between the i n d i v i d u a l and experience ceases tc exist. Man suddenly perceives himself as being alienated from his e a r l i e r s e l f . Furthermore, as this r e l a t i o n s h i p between an i n d i v i d u a l , event, and experience becomes a more abstract one, i t also dissolves any concrete frame cf reference that the i n d i v i d u a l had in the everyday world., l i k e the young shepherd g i r l cf "Bight i n the Valley," the turbulent events surrounding the years 1911-1931 produce experiences which destroy the individual's world-view and primitive visions of the Orchard City as the "world." In sum, t h i s f i n a l story imbues the reader with a heavy pessimism for characters are no longer seen as having any real control ever t h e i r own destinies, but manipulated by the forces of fate and the tiroes. In attempting to capture a sense of Orchard City l i f e during the early Republican period the author was seeking a balancing of quantities that have no way of being made 106 " r a t i o n a l l y " into a whole. The juxtaposition of the three short story groupings i l l u s t r a t e s most poignantly the tragedy of this i m p o s s i b i l i t y . In attempting to show history i n action, he needed to create a large and disparate group of characters, too disparate to be assimilated into conventionally normal notions of plot. The most s i g n i f i c a n t strategy which Shi Tuo employs to control t h i s problem i s the c y c l i c a l short story. By using an arranged cycle Shi Tuo creates a form of multiple perspective by which p o l i t i c a l events and s o c i a l phenomenon are seen from different angles and which, by extension, provide a sense of the corporate l i f e of an age, at once varied and uni f i e d . Besides using the short story cycle technique to convey a sense of people's subjection to major external forces, such as war, ideologies, and other domestic turmoil, Shi Tuo also uses i t to make certain humanistic statements about man's existence i n general. In previous s t o r i e s , such as "Night i n the Valley" and "The Pilgrim," we noted how Shi Tuo tr i e d to describe the l i m i t a t i o n s of man's l i f e and knowledge when viewed from nature., These s t o r i e s show Shi Tuo exploring the mysteries of our existence and h i s awe for nature. In Memories of the Orchard City, we f i n d Shi Tuo once again questioning l i f e ' s inscrutable character. Furthermore, by juxtaposing s t o r i e s from a l l three groupings throughout t h i s c o l l e c t i o n he obliges his audience to form s i m i l a r opinions about the oft incomprehensible nature of our existence., This i s because as the reader travels from story to story, character to character, one's emotions, l i k e the l i v e s of the dramatis 107 personae themselves, i s continually i n flux, Hence, i t becomes impossible for the reader to form any irrevocable picture of Orchard City l i f e . l n Memories of the Orchard C i t y , Shi Tuo's sketchs an extremely pessimistic p o r t r a i t of Orchard City l i f e s u f f e r i n g under the havoc of the times. Underlying t h i s picture, however, one cannot help but get the fe e l i n g that while Shi Tuo saw the times as cru e l , he saw nature as being even crueler. In the f i r s t story of t h i s c o l l e c t i o n Shi Tuo's wandering narrator debarks at the t r a i n station and one of the f i r s t sights he sees i s the ancient Orchard City pagoda, which according to legend dropped from the sleeve of an immortal. Despite i t s h i s t o r i c a l appeal the narrator describes i t as casting an ominous shadow over the Orchard C i t y : , ., , [The ancient pagoda] has seen a countless number of wars pass outside the c i t y , and which only brought more d i f f i c u l t i e s and hardship to people's l i v e s ; ,, , . I t has seen the c o f f i n s of generation after generation of old friends go by on the big road, , . . It has seen an endless number of s u n r i s e s . . . . . But i t s t i l l stands., unscathed. 1 5 Seen from t h i s l i g h t the Orchard City pagoda stands as Shi Tuo's symbol for the cycle of nature. Shi Tuo's in t e r p r e t a t i o n of nature—the material world e s p e c i a l l y as surrounding man and existing independently of his a c t i v i t i e s — i s that i t knows nothing about man, his a f f a i r s , hopes or happiness, I t i s neutral to a l l of them, neither a fr i e n d nor a foe. Shi Tuo's symbol of the Orchard City pagoda points out most c l e a r l y the lesson that nothing endures forever. )f Sooner or l a t e r , a l l men are overcome by both time and the 108 shadow of death, which stalks man from his f i r s t breathing moment. The Orchard City pagoda r e f l e c t s the transitory nature of man's existence, No matter what fate b e f a l l s man and regardless of what h i s joys and achievements, pains and f a i l u r e s might be, nature remains imperturbable. Despite the pessimism of such an outlook, Shi Tuo never suggested that man was irrelevant or that l i f e was devoid of a l l si g n i f i c a n c e . He was not dismayed by the r e a l i z a t i o n that death awaited a l l men and that i t would negate a l l traces of his existence. Shi Tuo's message would seem to be that l i f e i s an enigmatic and fortuitous struggle. Han l i v e s i n a world whose mechanics and r e a l i t y l i e beyond any of the processes by which the human mind cognizes phenomenal objects.„ In such an existence the best man can do i s accept the good, e v i l , and trag i c as i n t r i n s i c elements i n the o v e r a l l scheme of things. Man may struggle and try to take action against the forces which seemingly stand over and shape h i s destiny, yet in the end death always wins out. In the f i n a l analysis, the technique of the c y c l i c a l short story allows Shi Tuo to convey a sense of the corporate l i f e of an age and to comment on the general human condition as well. By juxtaposing s t o r i e s from a l l three short story groupings he i s able to present his personal vision as to how he saw a l l of China's small c i t i e s and towns faring during the early Republican era. B a s i c a l l y , i t would seem that Shi Tuo saw the turmcil of these years as permeating every pore of Chinese l i f e . The pathos of these s t o r i e s l i e s i n Shi Tuo's depiction of 109 c h a r a c t e r s trapped between the " o l d " and the "new" and o t h e r s b a t t l i n g a g a i n s t the u n s e i z a b l e , y e t ubiquitous f o r c e s of f a t e . The messaqe u n d e r l y i n g these s t o r i e s , however, i s t h a t while the chaos of the times imbues men with a f e e l i n g of h e l p l e s s n e s s as to h i s a b i l i t y t o c o n t r o l h i s own d e s t i n y , man, r e g a r d l e s s of the times, has a b s o l u t e l y no c o n t r o l over h i s f i n a l d e s t i n y , death. In the end death the conqueror d e f e a t s a l l . , 110 CONCLUSION Our preceding analysis has hopefully demonstrated Shi Tuo's unigue and innovative l i t e r a r y consciousness. His prose i s unique i n that he sought tc portray alienated man by focusing on the i n t e l l e c t u a l , s o c i a l , and p o l i t i c a l origins of t h i s mode of experience, as well as the nature of alienated man i n r e l a t i o n to himself and his fellow man. In the realm of structure and s t y l i s t i c s his l i t e r a r y technique i s innovative in that i t evolved over time in order to better portray various aspects of the p o l i t i c a l l y and s o c i a l l y turbulent 1930's as a " r a t i o n a l " whole. After a r r i v i n g on the l i t e r a r y scene in the early 1930's Shi Tuo's prose was heavily influenced by Lu Xun and Shen Cong wen. . Stories such as "The Pilgrim" (19 34) and "Night in the Valley" (1935), however, show Shi Tuo's i n d i v i d u a l concern for creating works that described the "alienation experience" and which reflected his own unigue world-view., In these prose pieces Shi Tuo presents his personal vision of the l i m i t a t i o n s of man's l i f e and knowledge by focusing on characters discovering the transitory nature of their existence and the emotional and mental imbalance created by such an experience. In 1936 Shi Tuo, l i k e many other authors of the period, turned his attention fo creating works which incorporated the themes of national resistance. Unlike h i s contemporaries, 111 however, Shi Tuo «as not content to create sterotyped a n t i -Japanese f i c t i o n . Instead, he t r i e d to use the chaos of the tines as a backdrop for describing the p o l i t i c a l origins of the alienation experience. While "The Mute Song" and "The Valley" impart disturbing visions of the alienation and psychological scars i n f l i c t e d by the t i n e s , the message underlying "The Story of the Eain" extends beyond the p o l i t i c a l realm to a more universal ground i n developing a theme f i r s t conveyed i n "Eight in the Valley" and "The Pilgrim." In t h i s story Shi Tuo reaffirms his vision of the transitory nature of our existence by describing how the experience of having li v e d through such p o l i t i c a l l y turbulent times was to foster an almost n i h i l i s t i c philcsphy that l i f e is f i c k l e and a true understanding of i t extends beyond one's ken* Shi Tuo's concern for delineating the physical and psychological impact of the Sino-Japanese War was carried ever t c 123 Shanghai I-pis t i e s as well. In t h i s c o l l e c t i o n Shi Tuo adopted an epistolary s t y l e i n order tc better capture a sense cf how the chaos cf the tines permeated Shanghai l i f e and created an alienation which forced the in d i v i d u a l to sever a l l t i e s with the community and i n some cases his own kin. In these s t o r i e s Shi Tuc's Shanghai man i s no longer seen as having any sort cf relationship with his fellow man, but competing with him in deadly struggle tc survive. In his f i n a l c o l l e c t i o n cf short prose, Memories of the Orchard C i t j , Shi Tuo attempts to go beyond the i n d i v i d u a l themes cf e a r l i e r works, such as National Defense, to create a 112 t o t a l p o r t r a i t of the powerful s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l forces influencing early Republican China. In order to accomplish t h i s Shi luc adopted yet another l i t e r a r y technique: the c y c l i c a l short story. The short stcry cycle technique allows Shi luo tc create a mosaic which conveys a s p e c i f i c sense cf how people sere no longer just b a t t l i n g against the unapprehendable forces of fate, but the powerful s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l forces of the times as well. Aside from allowing the anther to portray people's subjection tc major external forces such as, wars, ideologies, and ether domestic turmoil, the short story cycle technique also allows the author to comment on the human condition i r general. The theme which underlies t h i s c o l l e c t i o n also has i t s c r i g i r s in "Night in the Valley" and "The Pilgrim": s t o r i e s which sought tc delineate the lim i t a t i o n s of man's knowledge *hen viewed frcm i n f i n i t e nature. Shi Tuo's message i s that the chaos of the times imbues man with a feeling of helplessness as to his a b i l i t y tc control his own destiny, yet i n the end, man, regardless cf how the times or fate manipulates him, cannot escape nature's c y c l e — d e a t h the conqueror defeats a l l . Thus, in t h i s c o l l e c t i o n we note not only a re-assertion of certain themes which concerned the younger author, but a consummate re-\ working of e a r l i e r themes int c a narrative of greater scope and ccmplexity. This thesis has endeavored tc gain an insight into Shi Tuo's alienated man and hew the author's l i t e r a r y technique underwent certain changes to better convey this mode of 113 experience. He i s an author who has teen generally overlooked by scholars,. His f i c t i o n deserves recognition because i t ccnveys a sense cf the times and the s p e c i f i c impact which they have on the i n d i v i d u a l and because i t also makes universal statements about the human condition. His f i c t i o n may be test characterized by the words of a biographer, who in commenting on his prose technicue said that his s t c r i e s have a quality cf being able to "enchant" people and give them a "f e e l i n g which they just can't define." 1 Indeed, a no more f i t t i n g description cf Shi Tuo's f i c t i o n could not be found anywhere. But, words, no matter how f i t t i n g , seem inadequate when attempting to a r t i c u l a t e the strength cf emotions evoked by Shi Tuo's f i c t i o n . 114 K C I E S Introduction 1. Eeijing Yuyan Xueyuan, Zhoncjcjuo Wenxuejia Cidian (E e i j i n g : Eeijing Yuyan Xueyuan, 1975), p. 134. 2. 3. Schyxs, 1500 Modern Chinese Novels and Plays (teiping: Catholic University Press, 1948), P..98. 3. Throughout this thesis we w i l l use the pseudonym Shi j Tuo shen referring to Wang Changjian. 4. Karl Marx, .Economic and Philosophical Manuscript cf J8J4 {Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967) , P. 66. , 5. S.D. l a i n g , P o l i t i c s cf Experience (New York; Eallactine Eccks, 1967), p. 28. 6. Eric Ere mm, "The Sane Society," i n Alienation: The Cultural Climate of Cur Time, ed. Gerald Sykes (New YorK: Gerald E r a z i l i e r , 1964), P. 67. 7. Zt-igniew Slupski, "The World of Shih T'o," Asian and African Studies 9 (1973): 12. Chapter 1 1. C T . Hsi a, A History of Modern Chinese l i e tion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), p. 136. 2. Shen Congwen, "Xue I i , " Preface to Achi (Hong Kong: Wen I i Clubanshe, 1960), pp. 3-4. 115 3 . Nieh Hua-ling, Shen lsj.unq.-jen (Twayne Publishers, 1972) , p- 47. 4. Ibid., p. 88. 5. Esia, History, p. 40 1. 6. Lu Fen, limjn S h i j i (Shanghai: Wenhua Shenghuo Chubarshe, 19 37), p. 59. 7. Ibid., p. 7 0. 8. Asia, History, F. 197. 9. Ibid., p. 198. 10. Su Xuelin, "Shen Congwen Lun," i n S.u X uelin Xuan j i , ed. „Xin Lu Shuju (Taibei: Xin Iu Shuju, 1961), p. 133. 11. Wang Yao, Zhonqquo Xin Wenxuejia Shi Gao, 2 vols. (Shanghai: Xin Wenyi Chubanshe, 1953), 1:245. 12. Slupski, "World," p. 14. 13. Iu Fen, Luo re G_uang (Shanghai: Kaiming Shudian, 1937) , p. 45. 14. William A. L y e l l , Lu Hsun's Vision of Reality (Berkley; University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1976), p. 74. 15. Lu Pen, Li men, p. 148. 16. Lu Xun, Nahan (Hong Kong: San Lian Shudian, 1958), p. , 3 2 . . 17. Milena Eolezelova, "Lu Xun's Medicine," i n Modern Chinese Literature in the May Fourth Movement, ed. Merle Goldman (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977) , p. 230. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid, 20. Lu Fen, Jianghu J i (Shanghai; Kai Ming Shudian, 1938) , 116 p. 44. 21, Slupski it fierld," p. 36. 22. Ibid., F* 37. 23, Iu Fen, i2i3.IL9.k2 F* -44, 24. Ibid., E* 48. 25. Ibid., f. 40. 26, Ibid., F» 4 3. . 27. Ibid., P* • 7 9. 28. Ibid. , F« 86. 29. Ibid., P- 105. 30. Ibid., FP- 104-105. 31. Ibid,, P- 10 3. 32. Ibid. , F- 97. Chapter 2 1. Franz Shurmann and O r v i l l e Schelle, Bepublican Chinas Naticpalisro, J a r _ , and the Msg of Ccjjunism 1911 -1949 (New York: Fandcff House, 1967), p. 178. 2. flmitetdranath Tagore, l i t e r a r y Debates i n Modern China .1918-1937 (Tokyo: The Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies, 1967) , p. 168. 3. ,Hu Luc, "Guofang Wenxue de J i a n l i , " in Hu Luo Yiz uo ^Shanghai: I i King Shudian, 1937), p. 5. 4. Guo Merc, "Guofang; Wuchi; lianyu," i n Guofang Wenxue Lunzhan jTokyc: Xin Chao Chubanshe, 1966), p. 132, 5. L i Liming, Zhpncoup 1i a n d a i Liubai Zuo j i a Xiaozhuan (Hong Kong: Eo Wen Shuju, 1977), p. 465. 117 6. H s i a , H i s t o r y , p. 275. 7. Lu Fen, Gu (Shanghai ; Wenhua Shenghuc, 1936), p. 108. 8 . I b i d . . 9. I b i d . , p. 109. In t h i s s t o r y Shi Tuo adds a mouth i n t r a n s l i t e r a t i o n ) and combines i t with a second c h a r a c t e r t o d e s c r i b e the scund of the Japanese m i l i t a r y song. 10. I b i d . , E. 9 5. 11. I b i d . , P. 101. 12. I b i d . , P- 102- 103. 13. I b i d . , F- 109, 110. 14. I b i d . , P* 6 3 - 6 4 . 15. I b i d . , FP* . 80. 16. I b i d . , FP* 9 1 - 9 2 . 17. I b i d . , F • 93. . 18. I b i d . , P* 94. 19.. W i l l i a m F l i n t and Addison H ibbard , A Handbook t o L i t e r a t u r e (New York : Odyssey P r e s s , 1960), p. 330. 20. He i r S t e r n b e r g , E x p o s i t i o n a l Modes and Temporal Order ing i n F i c t i o n ( E a l t i m o r e : Johns Hopkins O n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1S78) , p. 264. . 2 1 . Lu Fen, G u , p. 2 8. 22. I b i d . , p. .4 1. 2 3 . I b i d . , p. 42. 24. See P e a r l S. Buck, A l l Men Are Brothers (New York : John Day Company, 1933), p. 185. 25. Iu Fen , Gu, p. 39. . r a d i c a l ^ (a charac te r f r e g u e n t l y used 118 Chapter 3 1. Slupski, "World," p. 12. 2. lu Fen, Shanghai Shouzha (Shanghai,: Wenhua Sheng hue she , 1941,), P-n Ibid., p. 4. 4. Ibid., p. 3. 5. Ibid., p. 18. 6. Ibid., p. 20. 7. A. L* Hcute, Zur Psychologie des Bauerntums (Tubingen: J.C.I. .Bo h i , 1905), pp. 2 00, 20 3, 8. Harold Issacs, Introduction to Straw Sandals (Cambridge: H.I.I. Press, 1974) , p. xxxi. , 9.,Lu Fen, Shanghai , p. 37. 10. Ibid., p. 39. 11. Iu Fen, Shanghai , p. 8 2. 12. Ibid. , p. 3 2. 13. Ibid., p. 45. 14. Ibid., p. ,48. 15. Ibid., p. 6. 16.,Ibid., p. 10-1 1. 17. Ibid. , p. 8. 18. F l i n t , Handbook, p. 324. 19. Iu Fen, Shanqjjai, pp. 64-65. 20. Ibid., p. 127. 119 Chapter 4 1, Unless otherwise footnoted our discussion of a 'short story cycle' i s based upon the theories introduced fay Forrest L, Ingram in the f i r s t chapter of his Eepresentative Short Stcry Cycles of the Twentieth Century (The Hague: Mouton, 1971),. pp. 13-26. 2. Ingram, representative, p. IS. 3. Shi Tuo , Introduction to Guoyuanchenq J i , (Shanghai: Sianchai Chubans he, 1946) , p. 5. 4. Shi Tuo * Guoyuanchenq J i , p. 17 2. 5. Ibid. , 6. Ibid. , p. 169. 7. Ibid. , F . 65. 8. Ibid. , p. 86. 9. Ibid., pp. . 9 1-9 2. 10. See James Joyce, Stechen Hero, edited from the manuscript in the Harvard College l i b r a r y hy Theodere Spencer (Einghamptcn, New York:: V a i l - E a i l o u , 1944), p. .211. . 11. Frcmm, "Sane Society," p. 82-83. 12. Ibid., pp. . 61. 13. Ibid., p. ,9 8. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid., p. . 102. 16. Ibid., p. 10 4, 17. Shi Tuo, Introduction to Guoyuanchenq J i , p. 1, 2. 18. Ibid., p. 19. Shi Tuc, Guoyuanchenq J i , p. 1. 20. I b i d . , p. 189, 21 . I b i d , , p, 191. 22. I b i d . , j . 7 , 8 . 23. B icbard H. Eastman, A guide to t i e Novel (San f x a n s i s c e : Chandler P u b l i s h i n g , 1965) , p. 72. 24. Shi Tuo, Gugyuancheng J i , p. 235. 25. I b i d . , pp. 237-238. 26. . I b i d . , p. 5, Conc lus ion 1. Huang Jundong, x i a n d a i Zbonqquo Z u o j i a de J i a n y i n g (Bong Kong: Ycu l i a n Chubanshe, 19 37) , p. 179, Works Ey Wang Changjian (pen names: Lu Fen and Shi Tuc Lu Fen- Gu. Shanghai: Wenhua Shenghuo Shudian, 1936., » Lijen Shi j i . Shanghai: Wenhua Shenghuo Chubanshe, 19 37. . I-Ji-cjce Guana. , Shanghai: Kaiming Shudian, 1937. , « J j n i a o J i . , Shanghai: Wenhua Shenghuo Chubanshe, 1937. . Jianq.hu J i , , Shanghai: Kaiming Shudian, 1938., - Kan Ben, J i . Shanghai: Kaiming Shudian, 1939. . Shjnahai Shouzha. Shanghai: Wenhua Shenghuo Chubanshe, 1941. Re Ling and Shi Tuo. I j d i a n , Shanghai: Shanghai Chuban Gcngsi, 1946, 122 Shi luo. 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