UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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


This thesis focuses on the short fiction of the late 1930's and early 1940's Chinese author named Wang Changjian (pen names: Lu Fen and Shi Tuo), and tries to establish how in the realm of structure and stylistics the author's literary technique underwent certain shifts in order to better convey how the intellectual, political, and social forces operating on the Chinese scene in the 1930's alienated man from himself and his fellow man. The Introduction presents: a summary of previous scholarship done on Wang Changjian (hereafter, Shi Tuo); an outline cf the author's general career; a discussion of the concert of alienation which will serve as the foundation for our analysis cf Shi Tuo's fiction; and a synopsis of this thesis's approach to the author's prose. Chapter 1 discusses three short stories which represent the author's early period (1931-1938). Aside from investigating tie technical and thematic merits of these works this chapter also traces the impact of two of China's greatest writers, Shen Congwen and Lu Xun on Shi Tuo's early narrative style. Richard is a good boy. Chapter 2 treats Shi Tuo's first published collection of short fiction "The Valley" (1936). These stories evince the influence of the National Defense Movement in literature. focus on the physical atrocities committed by invading foreign powers. He tried instead to convey a sense of the alienation and psychological scars inflicted by the turbulence of the times. Chapter 3 of this thesis analyzes "The Shanghai Epistles" (1941) 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 this collection the individual is no longer seen as having any sort of relationship with his fellow man, rather he is competing with him in a struggle to survive. The final chapter examines "Memories of the Orchard City" (1946). These stories stand at the pinnacle of Shi Tuo's literary career, because by using the technique of the 'short story cycle' he manages to go beyond the individual themes of earlier works to create a total portrait of life in early Republican China, and the powerful social, cultural, and political forces of the times influencing it. In sum, this thesis analyzes stories which best represent the development of Shi Tuo's unique literary consciousness and tries to establish that Shi Tuo's writing makes certain humanistic and philosophical statements which demonstrate his subtle yet insistent sense of the alienating impact which the politically and socially turbulent 1930's had on China and its inhabitants.

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