Poems and Chinese Literature Essay

Total Length: 3009 words ( 10 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 3

Page 1 of 10

Chinese Cultural Revolution in Literature



There are a number of stark images found in the works of literature reviewed by Dao, Cheng, and Hua in this assignment. Specifically, this paper details the imagery evinced in Bei Dao's "Resume," Gu Cheng's "Curriculum Vitae," and Yu Hua's "On the Road at Eighteen." That imagery and those works in general are thinly veiled allusions to the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which took places in the early to midway part of the 20th century. It largely appears as though the imagery evinced in this work are indicative of some of the more salient factors of this revolution. Regardless of the political orientation of those who took place in this revolution, one of the more demonstrable facets of its manifestation was a surplus of fighting, pain, bloodshed, and even death. All of these images are found in the aforementioned works of literature, which suggest that the most eminent repercussion of this revolution was a maturation of the people largely demonstrated by pain and death.



Perhaps the work of literature of the three authors which most astutely demonstrates the thesis of the previous paragraph is Hua's "On the Road." This short story is highly allegorical in nature. In it, the speaker is taking a journey with a red backpack. Red, of course, symbolizes the communist faction of China that arose to power in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. However, the most stark imagery that confronts the reader is the belligerence which occurs when the speaker hitchhikes with a driver bearing a carload of apples. A series of travelers steal the apples, prompting the speaker to engage in fisticuffs with them. The result is a bevy of images explicitly denoting violence and pain: "A fist came crashing into my nose, and I landed several feet away. I staggered up, rubbed my nose. It felt soft and sticky, like it wasn't stuck to my face anymore but only dangling from it. Blood was flowing like tears from a broken heart." The images that are the most noteworthy in this passage are that of blood, flowing from the speaker. In fact, the speaker also uses a simile to denote the fact that the blood was actually pouring like weeping from a "broken heart." Other notable images are those indicative of violence. These include the fist crashing into the speaker's nose, and the fact that the speaker perceives his nose as dangling from his face. All of these images are suggestive of pain and suffering. This sort of pain and suffering was routinely inflicted during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.



Such imagery of pain and suffering is also found in the other works of literature analyzed in this paper. It certainly is evidenced in Cheng's "Curriculum Vitae." Pain and suffering are precursors to death; if people experience too much pain -- such as if they fell from 10 stories -- they will ultimately die. There is a surplus of imagery in Cheng's work that suggestive of death and death's effect on the people. Overall, this poem is characterized by a melancholy tone that comes across to the reader quite clearly with images indicative of death. For instance, the poem's speaker refers to his or her "insituate grave." Graves are perhaps the ultimate indication of the sort of death that precedes prolonged pain and suffering, because they are the final resting place for the physical body after it dies. This sort of strong imagery helps to underscore the degree of death and suffering that accompanied the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Additional imagery found in this poem which reinforces this theme is that of regret. The speaker explains to the reader "I am a child of sorrow/from cradle to the grave" (Cheng). This passage also emphasizes the degree of death and suffering typical of the Chinese Boxer Rebellion. It once again alludes to the death of the speaker with his or her "grave" mentioned. Also, it does so in the context of a deeper, underlying "sorrow." Such sorrow is routinely a part of death and suffering. This death and suffering is closely related to the Chinese Boxer Rebellion, because there was a surplus of these sensations due to all of the belligerence taking place within it.



This theme is also the predominant motif found in Dao's "Resume." This piece of literature similarly details a speaker's journey along the path of life. However, this journey includes the sort of belligerent imagery which attended the Chinese Boxer Rebellion, and which is also found in the imagery of the other two pieces of literature examined in this essay. The speaker relates the fact that "I was obliged to do battle with history/and at knifepoint formed a family alliance with idols" (Dao 577). The imagery in this passage is certainly aligned with the motifs of pain and suffering that are indicative of any armed rebellion predicated on force.
This fact is made abundantly clear because of the imagery regarding "battle" in this poem. Battle, of course, is what took place when the speaker in "On the Road at Eighteen" had to fight with other travelers who were attempting to steal the apples from the speaker's companion. The imagery found in "Curriculum Vitae," which focused on death and sorrow, is the sort of imagery that occurs after such a battle. Thus, it is fairly apparent that there is an alignment of the imagery found within these works. Moreover, that imagery is directly applicable to the reaction to the Chinese Cultural Revolution. During this revolution there was a bevy of martial encounters or battles, which resulted in numerous deaths and the filling of graves. The sorrow of this reality is found in Cheng's work. Similarly, imagery of battle and fighting is also found in Dao's poem. It is important to realize that the speaker is able to from an alliance at "knifepoint," which is another robust image of the sort of belligerence that describes the imagery found in all three literary pieces discussed in this document.



The other distinguishing characteristic of the Chinese Cultural Revolution is that it was not merely the result of a single battle, but the result of a lengthy, drawn-out process that actually took several years to enact. This characteristic is best underscored by imagery suggestive of a sojourn of journey. It is critical to realize that there are elements, and imagery, of journeys in each of the three pieces of literature detailed in this essay. Actually, the fact that the speaker is on a journey is the primary characteristic of the allegory in Hua's "On the Road at Eighteen." The imagery conjured by the title helps to connote this fact, as the title alludes to "the road" and the journey upon which the author embarks. In fact, the entire work is about a journey the author makes. The nature of that journey itself is worthy of scrutiny. It is a journey in which the author begins traveling in one direction, only to go another when he hitchhikes with a truck. By effectively backtracking with the truck, the author is alluding to the fact that communism is actually regressing the civilization in China. It is regressing Chinese civilization because it is returning it to a time of violence and fighting, which is underscored by the dominance of imagery indicating such a savage state. Nonetheless, the author is journeying down a road and actually ends up going farther away from where he is trying to reach because of the retrograde motion of communism.



There is certainly imagery in "Curriculum Vitae" which is suggestive of the journey that the Chinese Culture Revolution culminated in. Again, this fact is underscored by the usage of a path which is the speaker is traveling. The speaker communicates the fact that he or she "walked out, followed a chalk road, walked into a town" (Cheng). The reference to road is the primary imagery which connChinese Cultural Revolution in Literature



There are a number of stark images found in the works of literature reviewed by Dao, Cheng, and Hua in this assignment. Specifically, this paper details the imagery evinced in Bei Dao's "Resume," Gu Cheng's "Curriculum Vitae," and Yu Hua's "On the Road at Eighteen." That imagery and those works in general are thinly veiled allusions to the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which took place in the early to midway part of the 20th century. It largely appears as though the imagery evinced in this work is indicative of some of the more salient factors of this revolution. Regardless of the political orientation of those who took place in this revolution, one of the more demonstrable facets of its manifestation was a surplus of fighting, pain, bloodshed, and even death. All of these images are found in the aforementioned works of literature, which suggest that the most eminent repercussion of this revolution was a maturation of the people largely demonstrated by pain and….....

Show More ⇣


     Open the full completed essay and source list


OR

     Order a one-of-a-kind custom essay on this topic


Works Cited


Cheng, Gu. "Curriculum Vitae."

Dao, Bei. "Resume."

Hua, Yu, "On the Road at Eighteen".

sample essay writing service

Cite This Resource:

Latest APA Format (6th edition)

Copy Reference
"Poems And Chinese Literature" (2016, November 27) Retrieved October 1, 2020, from
https://www.aceyourpaper.com/essays/poems-and-chinese-literature-essay

Latest MLA Format (8th edition)

Copy Reference
"Poems And Chinese Literature" 27 November 2016. Web.1 October. 2020. <
https://www.aceyourpaper.com/essays/poems-and-chinese-literature-essay>

Latest Chicago Format (16th edition)

Copy Reference
"Poems And Chinese Literature", 27 November 2016, Accessed.1 October. 2020,
https://www.aceyourpaper.com/essays/poems-and-chinese-literature-essay