For Writing Exercise 2, you will continue working with narrative situation in works from the Realist and Modernist periods. In your Final Essay, you may wish to use narrative situation as a tool of analysis, so this may be a good stepping stone to that assignment.
In our discussions over the past few weeks, we have identified and analyzed narrative situation as it is used in the works of Higuchi Ichiyo, Leo Tolstoy, and Lu Xun. Though we did not discuss it specifically with respect to the writings of Kafka and Kushi, it is certainly also an interesting factor there. For this assignment, we will take the concept further.
1. Choose two writers to work with from the Realist and/or Modernist periods (Higuchi, Tolstoy, Kafka, Lu, Kushi). If you choose Lu, stick with just one of his stories, “Diary of a Madman” or “Medicine,” but not both.
2. Identify and explore the use of narrative situation in each work. You may refer to the stories in their entirety or chose one or two scenes from each.
3. Analyze how each writer’s use of narrative situation helps shape or change your understanding of the story in a specific way.
4. Finally, bring your analysis together into an interpretive thesis: you should be able to offer one central claim that ties your observations and interpretations together. To what effect do these writers use narrative situation in their fiction? Remember that this should be controversial. That means it should be interpretive, not just descriptive. If no other reasonable reader could disagree with how you’re interpreting the texts, try again!
Write 500-700 Words (include word count at the end of the document)
Use MLA formatting for the entire document, including headings, page numbers, in-text quotations, and a list of works cited. See the MLA guide or The OWL for assistance, or ask me if you need help.
Include specific textual evidence (quotations), properly cited
Both Lu and Kushi have used narrative situations in their stories in different ways to develop the themes and structures of their stories. This has also affected the language that each of the two writers has used while expressing the ideas. In the “Diary of Madman” which is a modern fiction that is also connected to the socialist realism, Lu xun has used a specific language and form in development of the story which is the Baihua language an original vernacular of Chinese people (Lu 17).
Lu xun has organized the story in the form of a diary whereby the events that takes place are organized based on the time frame when they occurred. The story involves two main people, that is the person writing the diary and another person who reads he diary. Lu Xun presents the story in two first person and he has been able to develop a number of themes from the events.
The main issues Lu Xun points out in the story “Diary of Madman” include the China’s first major “Modern” whereby a number of methods are involved including; omniscient narration which Lu Xun replaces with the diarist version of first person. Moreover, Lu Xun has used a point of view that is common in the Chinese literature in development of his story (Lu 25).
It is notable that Lu Xun’s subjectivity is distinct from the autobiographical confessions. Based on the use of I in the development of his story, Lu Xun distances himself from the reader. Irony is evident in the story in that Lu Xun has used the first person in narration of “Diary of Madman”. Moreover, the story provides the reader with an Ironical oversight of the Chinese social life, history as well as the culture in which the Chinese people are based. Cannibalism is one of the main themes that is evident in the story whereby Lu xun presents the Chinese people to be in a culture that tolerate man eating.
The ideas that Lu Xun points out is the changes in the Chinese culture that comes about during the 1911 revolution. Moreover, Lu Xun also points out on various themes in the “Diary of Madman” including; a tradition that oppresses its people, conformity, progression as well as reform both at personal and community level and ignorance. Therefore, this story can be best described as a cannibal society exposing story (Lu 31).
On the other hand, Kushi has used various narrative situations to represent his ideas and themes. For instance, how the traditions oppress some people in the society and revolutions that happens. The use of various narrative situations by Kushi and Lu Xun have played a significant role in my understanding of the stories in a specific way. For instance, I have been able to understand how cannibalism oppresses the people and the essence of revolutions in societies that still hold oppressive traditions.
Based on my point of view, Lu Xun and Kushi have effectively used narrative situation in development of their stories. For instance, they have been able to use the realistic events that affects people within a given society. They have also been able to use the narrative situations to shape their stories and present ideas and themes which aid people to understand the effects of what their community practices.
Lu, Xun. Diary of a madman and other stories. University of Hawaii Press, 1990.
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