“A Madman’s Diary” By Lu Xun Analysis Free Sample


“A Madman’s Diary” is China’s first modern short story. The author Lu Xun has been well respected and regarded as one of the most well-known political figures in China (Goldman 446-461). Lu Xun has been praised as the warrior against traditional culture and feudal system. The unique narrative structure “A Madman’s Diary” is very special in its narrative structure. Its setup is very different from the traditional narration in that it avoids the use of classical Chinese. Furthermore, the “I narration” is used in the story which makes it very effective to involve the readers in the scenes of the story.

The Main Message

Lu Xun did not only open a new chapter in modern Chinese literature but also created a new style of narration. Lu Xun had a comprehensive knowledge of Chinese and western cultures. He cleverly borrowed the title of the story from Russian writer Nikolai Gogol whose same title story was successful in narrating the insanity process of a civil servant. Although the diary-style and the first-person narrator of Lu Xun’s “A Madman’s Diary” were like Nikolai Gogol’s, Lu Xun went further away in deepening the content and the theme by adopting creative skills.

The story is made of two parts. The first part is the preface which is narrated in classical Chinese, and the second is the main story that consists of thirteen diaries narrated in vernacular Chinese. This kind of setup of narration makes the feudal system conflict more vigorous and results in a deep art impression. In the story, there is no time order like the traditional Chinese story. Moreover, the detailed plot, including time and place, is not narrated in detail. The madman’s accusation is not limited to a certain time and place but extends to the whole 4000 years of history.

This style of narration signals the start of modern Chinese novels that penetrate through the past, present, and future (Sun & Xu 40-45). Metaphors, analogs, and irony narrations are extensively applied in the story and make texts have multiple meanings. There are a significant amount of hidden messages in the madman’s narration. In the following sections, there will be more detailed discussions on the hidden messages. Basic storyline In the preface, the author who is the first person narrator makes the introductory summary of the protagonist who would be the first-person narrator in the diaries.

The narrator is told that the protagonist is seriously sick and wrote some diaries. The absurdism of these diaries proves that he is a madman suffering paranoia. The full body text is made of the thirteen diaries in which the protagonist is a madman. The protagonist shows the typical symptoms of the paranoia, but his mind is clear. He carefully observes what happens to him and is very nervous about everything around him. He studies the classical Chinese articles and knows the 4000-year history of the man-eating practice. He imagines that everyone is trying to do harmful things to him.

When he sees a dog look at him, he is terrified as if the dog was going to bite and eat him. When hearing some women chatting, he thinks that these women are planning to eat him. Eventually, he is suspicious that everyone including his doctor and brother wants to eat him. He feels hopeless and despaired. When he is upset, he has a different attitude to other people and even sympathizes with the less fortunate people. In addition, he is shocked to find out that he also intends to eat other people, even his family members.

He realizes that everyone except innocent children has eaten people. However, He does not want the children to be eaten or eat others, so at the end of the story, he makes the appeal: “save the children. ” Strong messages of anti feudalism Through the mouth of the madman, the author satirizes the 4000 years of Chinese history and culture. The man-eating practice is actually a metaphor for the feudal system. As the story hints through the madman’s discovery, people have been “eaten” by the oppressive feudalism for the last 4000 years.

It is difficult for normal people to realize the point, while the sick madman is sharp in finding the real truth of the man-eating culture and society. There are several symbolic narrations in the story. The symbolism of the story is allegorical (Hanan 68). In the preface, Lu Xun uses an ironic technique by narrated in classical Chinese in order to show a false and polite world made by cannibalistic feudal society. In the eyes of Lu Xun, the madman is the hero who plays a better role in society because only he madman knows the truth and can rise in rebellion. The madman who is an innovative and reformed thought representative is a symbol of the oppressive man-eating nature of the feudal system. Even though he tries his best to rise in rebellion, he fails every time. He is trapped in his own mind and can’t help considering that he’s in danger of being eaten. The madman could not understand the conspiracy of eating him, so he was suspicious of everyone. When the madman recovers, he is not the hero anymore; also he joins others to be one of the man-eaters.

Here, Lu Xun’s message is clear: The oppressed masses are eaters or the accomplices (Sun L. 464). Only the madman could find the truth of the eaters. However, other people including both the empowered and the oppressed fail to see the oppressive man-eating nature of the feudal system. In addition, the story implies that society is ruled by the feudal system, and people of all the classes have to abide by the same feudal rules. Also, the story helps us to see the true state of China at that time. (Zhang L. 1).


By extensive use of analogs and metaphors in the story, Lu Xun strongly condemns the oppressive man-eating nature of the feudal system where the poor and the weak are always eaten by the rich and the strong. In fact, under the feudal system, everyone had to eat other people. This feudal system had to be removed and the change had to take place in China. Thus, China needed a revolution. Only rebellion and revolution could change the status of man-eating habits in the oppressive feudal system. Overthrowing the man-eating feudal society is the voice the author tried to make.

Hunters In The Snow – Character Analysis

Tobias Wolff is a writer known for his memoirs and realistic short stories. “Hunters in the Snow” is a story that depicts the friendship of three friends, Tub, Frank, and Kenny, as they go hunting in the snow. The story explores the human condition through their friendship and the challenges they face. At the beginning of the story, Tub finds himself standing on the sidewalk when a truck, driven by Kenny with Frank as a passenger, appears. The trio then heads towards the woods where Kenny plans to hunt. Although Tub struggles to cross the fences, neither Frank nor Kenny offer him any assistance.

While returning, they come across clear deer trails that lead into a restricted hunting area. After receiving authorization from the owner, they proceed to follow the tracks, but their efforts prove futile. In a fit of frustration, Kenny resorts to shooting at the post, the tree, and the dog. Startled, Tub shoots Kenny in self-defense. They bring him to the owner’s residence to call for an ambulance. Unfortunately, they learn that all the ambulances are unavailable and they must drive to the hospital themselves. Tub jots down the directions while the rest of the group places Kenny in the truck bed, providing blankets for comfort.

Frank and Tub make two stops to warm themselves but realize later that they had taken a wrong turn in the opposite direction of the hospital. Kenny announces his intention to go to the hospital, unaware that they are heading in the wrong direction. The story begins with the introduction of Tub, the protagonist. Despite being written in third person, the perspective is centered on Tub. Wolff’s writing instantly evokes sympathy for Tub, who is left waiting in the cold, dealing with a medical condition, and being insulted by his friends.

Tub is a kind individual and a reliable companion; he used to defend Frank. Tub teared up when he shot Kenny due to his anxiety and remorse. Additionally, when Frank divulged his secret to Tub, Tub offered him support. Conversely, Tub’s peers mock him and his well-being. The combination of his diminished self-confidence and the lack of respect from his friends compels him to confront them. Both Frank and Tub apologize to each other and disclose their secrets. Tub confesses that his weight issue does not stem from a gland problem but rather from being excessively indulgent. This notion is hinted at when Tub hastily consumes two sandwiches and cookies during their hunting expedition.

Throughout the storyline, a character named Tub experiences personal growth and gains the confidence to confront his friends, as well as the courage to reveal a hidden aspect about himself (86-99). One of the three individuals involved is Frank, who has a mysterious and calm demeanor, and serves as one of the protagonists. Initially, he is depicted sitting inside a truck while picking up Tub. Despite his laid-back personality, Frank joins Kenny in insulting Tub but eventually expresses remorse and apologizes to him. When Tub opens up about his secret, Frank becomes a source of support and even treats him to four plates of pancakes. Frank firmly believes in allowing nature to take its course without resisting it. After losing a deer during a hunting trip, he soothes Kenny’s worries by saying “Relax […] You can’t hurry nature.”

“If we are destined to capture that deer, we will achieve it. If it is not meant to be, we will fail,” (89). In contrast to his usual demeanor, Frank wears a wedding band adorned with a diamond-encrusted “F”. As they embark on their hunting expedition, Kenny subtly alludes to a particular babysitter, much to Frank’s irritation. During a break to warm themselves, Frank discloses his secret affair with his fifteen-year-old babysitter. He is amazed at how she has broadened his horizons, leading to his newfound hippie persona. Frank succumbs to the sin of desire; nevertheless, he considers the impact on his wife and children should he decide to divorce.

Frank is faced with a difficult choice between his secret lover and his family. However, he finds support from a dependable friend who helps him navigate his dilemma (86-97). The leader of the gang is Kenny, who not only drives the car but also decides where they go for their activities. Kenny’s personality is characterized by a lack of concern, rudeness, and a quick temper. From the start, he nearly hits Tub with his car and constantly insults him. Additionally, Kenny drops hints about Frank’s secret and taunts him about it. Although he is not the main antagonist in the story, Kenny serves as a catalyst for the events that unfold. His impoliteness tests Tub’s patience and urges Frank to disclose his secret.

Despite Kenny’s lack of ability to keep secrets, he has secrets of his own. He chose not to inform his friends about being instructed to kill the dog. Although he considered it a joke, Tub shot him in self-defense as Kenny aimed his gun at him. Kenny is then transported in the back of a truck and wrapped in blankets while enduring pain. He obediently follows Frank’s instructions. However, the blankets gather at the back of the truck, prompting Frank and Tub to claim them for themselves. Consequently, Kenny is left exposed to the cold, assuming they are en route to the hospital.

However, they had made a wrong turn in the past. At this moment, readers will feel sympathy for Kenny. The arrogant man had been rude to his friends; however, after he got shot, he became helpless and had no option but to obey them (86-99). The bond between three men named Tub, Frank, and Kenny displayed humanity. Despite having different personalities and facing their own struggles, each man’s behavior changed during the journey. “Hunters in the Snow” is an intriguing story filled with unexpected twists and turns on every page.

Works Cited

According to Tobias Wolff, the author of “Hunters in the Snow,” the text can be found in Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense, edited by Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson. This edition was published in 2009 by Wadsworth Cengage Learning and the story can be found on pages 86-99.

John Marsdens Tomorrow When The War Began-Book Review

John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When The War Began is a story narrated by a seventeen year old, Ellie, who tells the story of how she and her friends fought to save their friends and family. It started off as an interesting read, involving the seven teenagers heading off on a camping trip to a place called Hell. At first it was exciting, but after a while it just continued to drone on without making much sense to me. That is my opinion but others may think differently.

I felt that the author was in a hurry to complete the book at the end as the most exciting part of the whole book was described in about 20 pages, compared to the introduction to the story having about 50-60 pages. Summary of Plot: John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When The War Began’s plot described the story of how seven teenagers went for a camping trip only to come back to find out that their friends and family had been kidnapped and that their town, Wirrawee, had been invaded by an unnamed enemy.

The seven teenagers undertake guerrilla-like warfare to try and rescue their friends and family who are trapped and guarded in the middle of town. Main Characters: The main characters are Ellie, Homer, Corrie, Robyn, Kevin, Fi, Chris and Lee. Highlights: The main highlight and most exciting part of the book for me came very close to the end of the book where Ellie, Fi, Homer and Lee decide to destroy the bridge connecting the main highway to Wirrawee by blowing up a petrol tanker underneath a weak structure..

Another highlight is when they first find out that their town has been invaded and that their animals have mostly been killed and there is no sign of their families. When they find Chris at his parent’s property it is significant as they increase the number of people in their group from seven to eight. Aspects of the novel I enjoyed: I enjoyed the start of the novel as you get the sense that it was going to be a really interesting book, because they were going camping in “Hell” and they had to go down “Satan’s Steps” and there was the story of the “Hermit from Hell” who murdered his wife and child. I also enjoyed how Homer devised a plan to rescue Lee by using a bob-cat to carry him to safety. Aspects of the novel I disliked: I disliked how in the middle of the book there wasn’t much happening except with romance which got a bit boring.

I disliked how the author didn’t develop all of the characters over the space of the novel as it made me think of them as when they were first described to me at the very start of the book. Recommendation and Rating: I would recommend this book to not many people as it was a pretty average book, (meaning boring), that had underdeveloped characters and didn’t really develop the plot very well, but if people like reading about teenage romance it could be a good read for them. I give it 2 stars out of 5 for plot and 1 star out of 5 for character development.

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