Book Review of The True Story of Ah Q

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  • Topic: China, Lu Xun, Chinese literature
  • Pages : 6 (1322 words )
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  • Published : March 30, 2015
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Book Review of “The True Story of Ah Q”

Course: HIS 1601E
Student Name: Xiqian Yang
Student Number: 250701761
TA: Chris

The True Story of Ah Q is written by Xun Lu, one of the most famous author and thinkers in modern China. This book is one of his representative novels. Xun Lu, the founder of Chinese literature, originally went to Japan to study medicine in order to save people. Then he realized that, for China at that time, saving people not only means rescuing people physically but also mentally. At the same time, he found out that it is the national spirit that needs to be changed in Chinese society. For this reason, Xun Lu decided to devoted himself to the literary and artistic work. He attempted to lead people start to think and change through his sharp criticism towards the Chinese society in his works. The Opium War left a heavy and long-lasting impact on China. From the Opium War in 1840, China suffered the colonialist aggression for almost 110 years, which was a hard time for China. In “The True Story of Ah Q”, Xun Lu displayed a Chinese society around 1911, when a series of Chinese Revolutions were taking place. The contradiction between classes in rural areas was fairly intense then. This book profoundly reveals it and criticizes the lack of thoroughness of the revolution. Ah Q, a farm laborer, was oppressed by the landowner for a long time. As for him, the only living way of the spirit is ‘spiritual victory’. He positioned in the lowest class the real world, but he is not willing to face the truth. Self-deception and arrogance are methods he uses to comfort himself. At last,he wants to resist, but was killed by reactionary forces. Xun Lu expressed his sympathy to the class of farm labors because of their oppressed situation. At the same time, he also pointed out that this situation is also resulted from their own unwillingness to revolt. Xun Lu tried to wake up their desire to promote revolution. As farm laborers is the biggest class in Chinese society, only when they realized they are supposed to change, China would be able to get the opportunity to change. First of all, Xun Lu highlights the impact the current situation on the characters thoughts. It is reflected through the change of Ah Q’s attitude toward revolution. “It had occurred to him that the revolutionaries were rebels and that a rebellion would make things difficult for him, he had always detested and kept away from them.” 1 However, when he realized revolutionary could frighten a successful provincial candidate, Ah Q thought "Revolution is not a bad thing." 2 He becomes delightful and “would like to go over to the revolutionaries”3. When the revolutionary situation tends to ebb, Ah Q becomes easily losing his temper and always feels too frustrated. He become extremely disappointed when he fails to meet “the successful county candidate and the Imitation Foreign Devil” at Tutelary God's Temple. Every change of Ah Q’s thoughts is all deeply influenced by the change of current situation, which reflects that even though Ah Q’s behaviors seems like he requires “revolution” urgently, he never figures out the truth of revolution. In social life, the current situation is the most sensitive issue. Describing impacts of current situation on mental activities of characters better reveals the nature of the characters and enriches the connotation of character psychology of the times. In this way, “Story of Ah Q" has become a mirror reflecting the Revolution. Ah Q never understands the truth of revolution. Through showing Ah Q’s unconsciousness towards revolution, Xun Lu criticizes that Xinhai revolution has not been conducted thoroughly. After the revolution, some feudal ideas and traditional values have not been cleared. In view of the large number of farm labor in old China, a successful revolution is supposed to reach this class and arouse them to...
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