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THE REHABILITATION OF MALE SUBJECTIVITY IN THE FICTION OF YU HUA BY JACOB LONG A Thesis Submitted Jointly to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida In partial fulfillment for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Aijun Zhu Sarasota, Florida May, 2012
Long iii Table of Contents Abstract iv Introduction 1 Chapter 1 : The Male Subject in Plight: The Spectre of Familism : 30 Chapter 2 : The Coming of Xu Sanguan 44 C onclusion 60 Notes 64 Works Cited 67
Long iv A REHABILITATION OF MALE SUBJECTIVITY IN THE FICTION OF YU HUA Jacob Long New College of Florida, 2012 A BSTRACT This thesis concerns male subjectivity as it is treated in the fiction of Yu Hua. In the first instance, its purpose is to reevaluate how male subjectivity is to be understood in Yu Hua's early avant garde short stories in light of his later rea list novels. It is divided into an introduction, including connotations and implications of (male)subjectivity in modern China, as well as a brief summary of intellectual and literary trends of the 1980s in China, and then two chapters of analysis, and a c onclusion. The first chapter is an analysis of Yu Hua's short story "Blood and Plum Blossoms". Lacanian psychoanalytic techniques are used to critically evaluate the psychology of Yu Hua's male protagonist and discover what renders him incapable of subje ctive agency. What the analysis will reveal is how the central most impediment to male subjectivity is a traditional patriarchal familial structure that renders male subjectivity an impossibility unless the male subject should engage in the same logic of oppression used against it.
Long v In the second chapter, an analysis of Yu Hua's realist novel, Chronicle of a Blood Merchant is done that looks at how Yu Hua creates a new male protagonist. This character's familial ontology and history will be shown to have been fundamentally rewritten and enable a new male subjectivity to be formed based on the male subject's egalitarian engagement with his family. A modified Oedipal complex that Chen Jianguo articulates as the Symbolic order that operates in "World like Mis t," will be refuted in place of new phallic signifiers that engender an anti oppressive familial structure. Aijun Zhu Division of Humanities
Long 1 Introduction: To better understand modern Chinese male subjectivity, therefore, we need to move beyond focusing only on Chinese men's gender masculine or feminine traits and recognize that at issue is a modern male subject with a strong desire for, among other things, identification and recognition. If, as Judith Butler argues, to become a man ( or a woman) entails an identification of some sort, we need to ask with whom the Chinese man ultimately desires to identify. (Zhong 37) The fiction of Yu Hua, one of China's most acclaimed contemporary authors, is singularly concerned with the issue of male subjectivity. And with Zhong Xueping's question in mind, "with whom the Chinese man ultimately desires to identify?", male subjectivity is problematized in Yu Hua's work through the playing out of a conflict between the male subject's identification w ith the father. This has implications when read as political allegory, but more basically what is called into question is the legitimacy of the family. In Yu Hua's short fiction the traditional patriarchy is indicted as rendering male subjectivity an impos sibility unless the male subject should himself come to participate in the cultural logic of patriarchy. However, in his novels male subjectivity is redeemed through the reformulation of the Symbolic order governing familial relations with stress on the in terrelationality of male subjectivity when defined through the family. The genesis of contemporary Chinese literature is located in the intellectual and artistic projects of the "New Culture" era (1915 21), eventually culminating in the May
Long 2 Fourth Moveme nt. 1 Chinese intellectuals, heavily influenced by newly imported Western humanist constructs of individuality, struggled with and lashed out against traditional Confucian paradigms of subjectivity, which favored the collective over the individual, and were deemed responsible for suffocating the Chinese subject, as well as impeding the rise of a modern Chinese subject and Chinese modernity (Zhong 19). However, May Fourth efforts to find discursive space for the individual experience, through a rewriting of s ubjectivity in literature, were eventually given up as intellectuals yielded to as well as joined the efforts of the Chinese Communists in defending China from Western and Japanese imperialism. The result, in short, engendered a new oppressive discourse th at subsumed the individual under the importance of the collective in order to consolidate socio political power and form the modern nation state of the People's Republic. However, at every stage of China's evolution over the course of the 20 th century, the role of literature and the writer was central in the fashioning of a modern Chinese subject, most powerfully evinced by Leo Ou fan Lee in his discussion of modern Chinese literature the early 20 th century (from the Late Qing to the end of the 1920s): A th ird hallmark of modern Chinese literature is that, much as it reflects an overpowering sense of socio political anguish, its critical vision is intensely subjective. Reality is perceived from the writer's individual point of view, which betrays, at the sam e time, an obsession with self. His obsession with China is coupled with a feeling of personal disgust with her ills; he yearns for hope and commitment, while at the same time he suffers from a sense of loss and alienation. It is this subjective tension born of largely unresolved ambivalence, which provides the basic impetus for three decades of literary creativity and
Long 3 movements and which marks off the 'modern' phase of Chinese literature from its traditional and communist phases. (L. Lee 143) Male Sub jectivity The end of the Cultural Revolution and the death of Mao Zedong in the late 1970s marks the rebirth of contemporary Chinese literature, as well as the return to the question and implications of subjectivity in the "New Era" 2 of China. In the fi eld of literature, specifically, writers attempted to carve out new discursive space for the problematized human subject, again in question, and rehabilitate the efforts of the May Fourth movement nearly 60 years before them. The burden, it would seem, is how to come to grips with the fact that the intellectual achievements by May Fourthers failed to completely liberate the human subject and ultimately served to empower a new authoritarian and oppressive regime that subsumed the individual, as Liu Zaifu poi nts out, like "mere 'screws' in the machinery of the revolution', or more plainly as subsuming individuality in favor of the importance of the national collective. 3 The relevant definition of subjectivity, according to Liu Zaifu in his seminal essay, "Th e Subjectivity of Literature Revisited," is such: Subjectivity describes the essential force within the Subject that is exclusively human and is manifest in the Object world. Subjectivity is not only a function of subjective conscious, but the entire esse nce of the Subject's existence. Therefore, Subjectivity is the essential human force that is intrinsic to the Subject's existence and embodied in the Object world. (57)
Long 4 In the introduction to the anthology to which Liu's essay is included, Politics, Ideo logy, and Literary Discourse in Modern China 4 its editors Liu Kang and Xiaobing Tang characterize Liu's efforts at returning to subjectivity's most basic defintion and his advocacy for a "humanist, autonomous literature of subjectivity" as "[crystallizing ] a cultural ethos of recovering' the once denounced humanist values and returning' to the May Fourth project of cultural enlightenment." This also has the double implication as a challenge to "the literary orthodoxy that has always valorized a revolutio nary collective identity at the expense of individuality." (K. Liu, X. Tang 12) This sentiment echoes Leo Lee's characterization of modern intellectuals aggravated ambivalence in the modern Chinese writer's conception of self and society." (143) A key el ement of scholarly treatment of subjectivity in the 1980s, which distinguishes it from earlier May Fourth debates, is the recognition of subjectivity's gendered component. It would seem that May Fourth intellectuals ignored or overlooked the question of th e particularities of male vs. female subjectivity in their revolutionary fervor to emancipate the Chinese subject from the chains of the traditional Confucian discursive regime, as well as from the threat of colonialism by the West and Japan. That said, wi th the coming of the New Era and China's "Culture Fever" 5 came a new anxiety over the (de)legitimacy of the male (and female) subject in the post Mao China. This subject is taken up by numerous critics such as Lu Tonglin and Rong Cai, but is most appropria tely noted by Zhong Xueping: During the decade of the 1980s there was a rather unprecedented and uniquely shared concern, especially among male writers, about the (gender and sexual)
Long 5 identity of men. For many contemporary Chinese male writers, the quest ion of men was not at all a peripheral one. Indeed, part of my interest in the issue derives initially from what I saw as an acute male interest in the question of men found in post Cultural Revolution literature. (4) Yu Hua has been categorized into the group of male intellectuals and writers who concern themselves with "the question of men found in post Cultural Revolution literature." (Zhong 4) His work is almost explicitly written from a male gendered perspective, and constantly engages the subtleties of being a man (or boy) as well as the male imagination. Most of his works are written from the perspective of or at least about a man(or boy) in their relation to a particular family figure: father to son (and son to father), the father to the grandfathe r, husband to wife, and brother to brother. Born in 1960, Zhejiang, China, Yu Hua grew up during the Cultural Revolution and bore witness first hand to its chaotic and often meaningless political violence. He was still in high school when Mao died, and up on graduating was assigned by the government to perform dentistry. The mundaneities of dentistry compelled him to write literature so as to eventually be admitted to his town's cultural center as an artist. His early short stories are now considered paramo unt as part of the canon of Chinese experimental, avant garde fiction in the 1980s. However, with the end of the New Era and coming of the hyper commercializing of the 1990s, his work took a distinct stylist change with a turn toward full length realist no vels: first with Cries in the Drizzle 1991; then was To Live in 1992; and third, Chronicle of a Blood Merchant in 1995, which, up until the publishing of his most recent novel, Brothers in 2008, was his most
Long 6 commercially successful novel. 6 Later in my int roduction, the turn toward realism will be further elaborated upon not only as a discursive break with "New Era" (post)modern trends, but also for the realist mode's power to engage and transform its readers minds. Yu Hua's work is singularly concerned wi th the male condition, or, phrased another way, the specificities and problems of what it means to be a man in modern China, and more broadly understood under the theoretical framework of male subjectivity. However, what I find problematic with scholarly a ttention and critical analysis of Yu Hua's work up until now, is the lack of an analysis that incorporates both his short fiction as well as his full length novels. While there has been no shortage of critical analysis of Yu Hua's short fiction's avant gar de style and postmodern themes, especially as regards (male) subjectivity, there has been significantly less attention paid to his "realist" novels. And, most importantly, what analysis has been done of his novels hasn't attempted to bridge the thematic (n on)gap in his short fiction and novels. I argue that there exists in Yu Hua's novels implications as well as answers to the issue of male subjectivity of his early short fiction. I ask the question: How is male subjectivity reconceptualized and rehabilitat ed in Yu Hua's novels in relation to his short fiction? What are the characteristics of Yu Hua's "new" man's subjectivity? In order to answer these questions a critical rereading of his short stories and novels is necessary; however, since a story by story analysis of every one of Yu Hua's work would necessarily be outside the ability and scope of this thesis, only three stories will be taken into consideration. Of Yu Hua's short fiction I have selected two stories: "Blood and Plum Blossoms" (first publishe d in 1989) and "World Like Mist" (1988, both stories are taken from the only English collection of Yu Hua's short stories The Past and the Punishments
Long 7 collection); and of his full length novels, the celebrated Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (1995). The goa l of a rereading and analysis of the two short stories is to demonstrate exactly how Yu Hua's male protagonists are problematized. In short, the analysis will show that Yu Hua's early male protagonists' subjectivity is rendered impossible in the face of a transhistorical oppressive discourse and patriarchal framework that consumes individuality. It is transhistorical in the sense that, while the (meta)language 7 and cultural signifiers have changed, the violent cultural logic of oppression has persisted unab ated from the premodern, traditional Confucian China up and through the Mao era and into the present. Chronicle of a Blood Merchant will be introduced as a comprehensive discursive answer to the problematized male subject of the aforementioned short sto ries. What will be revealed is how Yu Hua's male protagonist in Chronicle comes to form his (male)subjectivity through his family. In essence, Yu Hua seems to have rehabilitated the discourse on kinship subjectivity: inverting a traditional Confucian order ing of the familial cosmology and placing the father's (and the husband's) life as serving his family. More significantly, what Yu Hua has created in Chronicle (as well as his other novels) is a new conceptualization of Chinese history and the male subject which enable the subject to overcome the historical traumas of 20 th century China while incorporating a new narrative of Chinese culture and its past. Such an analysis will necessarily have to be prefaced by an elaboration of the Chinese intellectual d iscourse on modernism and postmodernism in the New Era, and its implications on the field of literature, and more specifically the work of Yu Hua and the
Long 8 avant garde literary movement. What my analysis benefits from which many critical readings of Yu Hua up until this point did not have the benefit of is a collection of essays published by Yu Hua in 2012 in the book China in Ten Words In this book, Yu Hua traces the trajectory of modern China with its many twists and turns from his childhood growing up in the Cultural Revolution to the present, all the while providing the reader and (potential) student of Yu Hua with very personal anecdotes that one will notice have made their way into his fiction. It also serves as a method of tracing Yu Hua's engageme nt with the contemporary Chinese literary and cultural discourse. The benefit of China in Ten Words is the fact that Yu Hua, more than 20 years older than when he was engaged in the avant garde effort, can now look back and subjectively reflect on his expe riences of and writings in the '80s and early '90s with eye of historical hindsight, taking himself as a historical subject as well as an object of literary and intellectual discourse. Yu Hua's new book clearly shows that his critical engagement with con temporary Chinese culture rebukes the argument Lu Tonglin makes when she characterizes Yu Hua's short fiction as engaging in "cultural nihilism" 8 the same sort of cultural nihilism which characterizes Mao Zedong's obsession with or breaking with (or eve n destroying of) China's traditional Confucian cultural past. I argue that Yu Hua's rewriting and rehabilitation of the male subject's historical narrative in Chronicle of a Blood Merchant is a literary imperative in light of the failure of his avant gard e short fiction to produce a liberated male subjectivity through an extremely grotesque and brutal depiction of Chinese culture and the following of a violent cultural logic to its end in order to expose the illness. As evidence, I offer up a passage from the introduction to China in Ten Words
Long 9 that demonstrates just how personally Yu Hua is concerned with the rewriting and rehabilitation of Chinese culture in his work: We survive in adversity and perish in ease and comfort." Such were the words of the Conf ucian philosopher Mencius, citing six worthies in antiquity who suffered untold hardship before achieving greatness. Man is bound to make mistakes, he believed, and it is in the unceasing correction of his errors that human progress lies. Viewed in this li ght, he suggested, adversity has a way of enhancing our endurance, while ease and comfort tend to hasten our demise whether as individuals or as a nation. When I write in these pages of personal pain and of China's pain, it is with that same conviction t hat we survive in adversity. So in this quest to follow things back to their source, we cannot help but stumble upon one misfortune after another. (ix x, emphasis mine) Ignoring for a moment the fact that Yu Hua as a representative of (post)modern fict ion, and its implied break with oppressive system of Confucianism/traditionalism is citing Mencius 9 it is my contention that the violent and seemingly nihilistic tendencies that dominate Yu Hua's short fiction, and of which critics like Lu Tonglin take issue with, are necessary prerequisites to Yu Hua's later novels that offer up a new conceptualization of Chinese history and culture as a counter point; one where the (male) human subject is able to survive the adversity of China's recent traumatic past; that is, the traumatic past which manifests itself in Yu Hua's short fiction, and is then overcome (or transcended) in his novels.
Long 10 Yu Hua and Stylistic (Dis)continuity As I have already noted, Yu Hua is regarded as one of the "experimentalist" or avant garde authors that were prominent in the late 1980s. After the violent crackdown at Tiananmen in 1989, China's Culture Fever came to an abrupt end and avant garde literature went into decline. But, with the change of the times so changed the work of Yu Hua and he went on to continue his literary efforts and was met with commercial (and critical) success with the full length novel To Live in 1993, captivating the imagination of his readers, and was so successful that a deal to adapt To Live as a movie follo wed in 1994. Chronicle followed on its heals in 1995 and was met with even more commercial success. So, then, how might we, the readers and critics of Yu Hua, understand his departure from "experimentalist" and "avant garde" modes of writing? Answering th is question necessitates that the history of Chinese avant garde literature must first be elaborated, with special attention paid to how it came about and why it eventually declined, as well as the roles of modernism and postmodernism in the avant garde's formulation. Also, and importantly, our discussion of Chinese avant garde and its antecedents should focus on the issue of subjectivity, and particularly male subjectivity in light of the specifically gendered construction of literary subjects in avant ga rde literature. There is no shortage of intellectual histories and critical analyses of China's avant garde literature, and its beginning and end are, as will be demonstrated, more or less consistent in their interpretations. As per the goal of this thesis what I hope to demonstrate is a philosophical continuity in Yu Hua's work that is more significant than the superficial attention paid toward an abrupt change in style. I don't mean to undermine
Long 11 or belittle the significance of avant garde and experimenta list modes of expression; they are undoubtedly subversive in their manifestations, and their narratorial import is not in dispute. But, I just want to emphasize that the lack of an attempt to incorporate Yu Hua's novels into an understanding of his avant g arde short fiction if only for the novels' continued explanation of many of Yu Hua's earlier works' postmodern problems and themes hasn't emerged to engage and understand the narrative cosmology that manifests throughout his different works. This is th e significance of my thesis. With that said, depicting the avant garde's rise and decline and its relation to Yu Hua's change in literary modes will enable a diachronic understanding of Yu Hua's work, and also challenge the dominant notion that the spirit of liberation for the Chinese (male) subject died at Tiananmen along with so many of its participants in 1989. The Re(Emergence) of (Post)Modern Literature: The Death of Socialist Realism After Communism firmly took hold of China with its victory in t he civil war with Republic of China in 1950, many foreign as well as indigenous literary works were continually and successively banned or censored for being "rightist" or "anti revolutionary". That said, the embargo on foreign and classical literature rea ched its apex in the Cultural Revolution. If I may be again permitted to quote at some length a passage from Yu Hua's China in Ten Words I believe it would adequately describe the depravity of the literary scene, one where a reader could only find the wor ks of Mao Zedong or Lu Xun or the shallow and depthless works of "socialist realism" 10 : In China, then practically all literary works were labeled 'poisonous weeds.' Works by foreign authors such as Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Balzac were
Long 12 poisonous weeds; works by Chinese authors like Ba Jin, Lao She, and Shen Congwen were poisonous weeds; and with the falling out between Mao and Krushchev, revolutionary literature of the Soviet era had become poisonous weeds, too. Since the bulk of the library's holdings h ad perished in all the Red Guard book burning, there was very little left to read. The fiction shelf featured only twenty odd titles, all so called socialist revolutionary literary of the homegrown variety. (36 37) This passage has the two fold effect of demonstrating the scarcity of enjoyable or engaging literary works as well as the Chinese Communist Party's (which will be referred to as CCP from here on) authoritarian control over the population's access to such literature. This has the implication o f meaning that, up to and during the Cultural Revolution, the CCP had singular control over the population's access to (literary) modes of representation, and more specifically that the CCP was the sole dictator of the Chinese people's representation and/o r representational ability. As for the nature of what the CCP's official mode of literary representation socialist realism is, Mao Zedong himself articulates for whom literature should serve and how to accomplish this: This problem was solved long ago by Marxists, especially by Lenin. As far back as 1905 Lenin pointed out emphatically that our literature and art should 'serve the millions and tens of millions of working people'. Who, then, are the masses of the people? The broadest sections of t he people, constituting more than 90 per cent of our total population, are the workers, peasants, soldiers and urban petty bourgeoisie. Therefore, our literature and art are first for the workers, the class
Long 13 that leads the revolution. To serve them, we mu st take the class stand of the proletariat and not that of the petty bourgeoisie. it means raising the level of literature and art in the direction in which the workers, peasants and soldiers are themselves advancing, in the direction in which the prole tariat is advancing. Here again the task of learning from the workers, peasants and soldiers comes in. (Mao, "Talks at Yan'an") 11 So, during the Mao era literary subjectivity was limited only to flat one dimensional representations of the revolutionary ma sses. Mao's socialist realism was an oppressive mode of representation because, in its elevating of these mythical worker/peasant/soldier figures to the status of socialist heroes, it necessarily dehumanizes and desubjectivizes the same human subjects that it was meant to empower and give voice. Individuality was sacrificed in the pursuit of revolution, resulting among the people a sense of alienation toward the state. Zhong Xueping posits this feeling of alienation between the individual and the state as c onstitutive of a "post Mao psychological condition", first articulated in wake of the beginning of debates over alienation in the late 1970s: This alienation debate, though brief and suppressed, signified the beginning of contemporary Chinese intellect uals' renewed concerns over issues of Chinese modernity or the nature of human condition in twentieth century China, which had been ignored while the CCP was preoccupied with developing the collective. It also functioned as a public declaration that named the psychological condition of the Chinese the fact that people began to feel at odds with the doctrine they
Long 14 had been told to believe in by the time the Cultural Revolution ended. (90) Thus, with the end of the Cultural Revolution and the subsequent opening up of China to the ability to access its classics of literature as well as Western works of fiction and philosophy came a concurrent resentment of and mistrust of the CCP's legitimacy as the ideological heart of China. Deng Xiaoping's reforms, focu sed mainly on rehabilitating China's economy and restructuring the government, were unable to dissuade this feeling of "alienation", particularly on the part of intellectuals, that modernity had come at the expense of the individual. The "first landmark of literature" in the post Mao era was the "literature of the wounded," produced by persons persecuted before and during the Cultural Revolution (X. Zhang 112), challenging what I believe is consistent with the alienation debate that there had been a lack of humanism in the carrying out of Chinese socialism. Zhang Xudong notes that the "literature of the wounded", as well as an other literary movement in the first half of 1980s such as "literature of introspection" failed in their attempts to engage a new or liberated Chinese subjectivity: But in the end the mode of representation, the innermost logic of perception and imagination of the 'official literature' [of the first half of the New Era] were largely extraneous to, if not completely out of touch with, th e newly generated experience of a new era in formation. It was irrelevant not because the majority of this literature remained 'realist,' but because an ideological discursive conformism was part of its conditions of possibility. To the extent that the l iterary mainstream was incompatible with the social experience and its libido economy, it was not grossly unfair for Li Tuo to call its writers 'imitators of soviet literature.'
Long 15 For many modernists during this period, the official literature was a corrupte d, lifeless state organ: its aesthetics was a reflection theory out of touch with its reality; (123) The "reality" that early 1980s modern literature was out of touch with was that the aesthetic mode of representation of socialist realism was incompati ble with an attempt to reorient and create anew a subjectivity or liberated representationality of the Chinese subject because of its complicity with the dominant authoritarian ideological apparatus, the CCP itself. A "New Era" Chinese subject could not be represented through socialist realist modes. And this is where experimentalist and avant garde fiction would find its appeal to those intellectuals discontent with the CCP and cultural logic of authoritarianism. The aforementioned passage by Yu Hua on the banality of realist works and their failure to evoke a liberated subjectivity in Mao China is noted even earlier by Andrew F. Jones in the afterword of Chronicle : And it was his intense dissatisfaction with the class coded and stereotypical attributes of the stalwart heroes and reactionary villains he had grown up reading and watching in revolutionary novels and films that attracted him to the radical experiments of the French new novelist Alain Robbe Grillet, whose characters are deliberately emptied o f any pretense of humanity or psychological depth for the flatter the characters, Robbe Grillet felt, the more quickly the illusionism and stale conventions of realism could be revealed as a cheap, if powerful, ideological ploy. Zhang Xudong's analysis of the New Era's early modern attempts is revealing. In
Long 16 the introduction to Zhang's book, he posits the emergence of avant garde literary (as well as poetic) works as emerging in 1986, not in spite of the earlier failed efforts of modern literature, like "literature of the wounded", but rather as the completion of the effort toward literary modernity (4). He characterizes avant garde literature as such: ... This fiction is characterized by three basic elements: (1) its self reflexive interplay with languag e and narrative possibility, (2) its quiet constitution of social individuality through the language game (rather than proposing a dissident collectivity by waging lofty 'aesthetic innovation'), and (3) the potential adaptability of this supposedly 'purely fictional' style to an emergent consumer society, despite the radicalism in literary experimentation that has become the hallmark of this style. (4) And it is with the coming of experimental fiction and avant garde modes of representation that postmoder nism finds its voice in the intellectual discourse of China's Culture Fever in the 1980s. Postmodernism as a philosophic mode of representation is even more widely disputed theoretical model than modernism, particularly in China, owing to confusion over th e seeming misuse of "post ". Indeed, "postmodernism" is not really "post" or taking place "after" modernism, but merely the signaling of late modernism, or as popularly termed by Frederic Jameson, "late capitalism." 12 Thus, the controversy stems on whether or not postmodernism has any value or legitimacy as native/local "reclaiming" of modernism, as modernism is indisputably a Western product that was exported around the world. However, it would be inappropriate to continue without first a description of wha t "postmodernity" actually means, specifically in the Chinese context, and its characteristics and definitions. The book "Postmodernism &
Long 17 China" by Arif Dirlik is widely useful in mapping the idiosyncrasies and complexities of (Chinese) postmodernity, and in particular the essay "Whence and Whither the Postmodern/Post Mao Deng: Historical Subjectivity and Literary Subjectivity in Modern China" by Xiaobin Yang, who provides a dramatic but illuminating description of postmodernism takes shape in Chinese avant garde literature, as well as its implications on "postmodern" subjectivity: Postmodernity in Chinese literature can be primarily detected as the implosive disruption of the transparent, absolute genre that constructs the master discourse. postmodernity in Chinese literature is certainly a postcatastrophic mentality, related to the disorder of rationality and subjectivity of the modern. The problematic subject in avant garde narrative persists in the paradox of subjectivity: it has to resist its destruct ion by, ironically, self consciously displaying its own quandary or disintegration. A postmodern subjectivity is a heterogeneous and self questioning one, which breaches the absolute, rational, and totalistic oppression of both the external politico histor ical Mao Deng and the internal culturo literary modern. (395, emphasis my own) Modernity in China, as well as the "master discourse" articulation of a historical representational subject, is called into question in the 1980s just as it was after the ho rrors and atrocities of World War II in Europe because of the historical traumas of the Mao era and the breakdown of a conceptualization of a rational subject. Modern Chinese narrative from Lu Xun to Can Xue, Yu Hua, and Ge Fei, then, is a process from a unifying subject doomed to break down into a subject self
Long 18 exposed as split or displaced. Modernity, whose homogeneous cultural power has upheld the sociopolitical totality (and totalitarianism) in modern China, is challenged by the literary practice that questions its absolute mode of discourse. Thus rises the postmodernity of the Chinese avant garde: a cultural/literary mode that corresponds to experience that is historically wounded by the atrocious and disastrous modern, in both political and cultural senses. (Yang 390 391) Postmodernism questions the authenticity and legitimacy of a totalizing narrative of the modern Chinese subject. So, whereas early modern literary forms of the 1980s failed to articulate a modern historical subject overcomes the hi storical traumas of the Mao era by engaging in the same forms of historical representation officially sanctioned by CCP, led by Deng and continued from Mao, postmodernism and the avant garde reject the very notion that a coherent subject is possible, and t hus their literary subjects are "doomed to break down into a subject self exposed as split or displaced." (Yang 390) While reading Yang's description may render the optimistic reader weary in its dystopic interpretation of postmodernism and the avant gard e, we can be somewhat comforted by Zhang Xudong counter conceptualization of the rise of the avant garde: With regard to [China's avant garde's] aesthetics, the new genre marks the first discursive construction of the totality of the immediate experience o f the New Era. Unlike all previous literary styles that dwell in a restored life experience and take shape in a shocking but also liberating encounter with a historical unfolding, avant garde fiction deals with a radically contemporary life and seeks to tu rn it into a historical expressivity through its formal, that is, meta fictional, artifacts. It
Long 19 is also the first modernist literary movement that did not define itself vis a vis the predominant mode or mode or position itself as an explicit or implicit re bel against the mandarin discourse of the state. Strictly speaking, meta fiction is not an aesthetic experiment, but rather a linguistic genesis and structuration; in this sense it inaugurates the end of the implicit dependence of cultural production on Dengist ideology, at least to the extent that the collective adventure of the New Era is transformed into legends and fairy tales of a monadic individual. (X. Zhang 154 155) Zhang Xudong's recognition that avant garde literature signals the end of the do minance of the state in cultural production allows for the possibility of subjectivity to emerge in different forms. This, I believe, is the optimistic expression and emancipatory quality of the Chinese avant garde and its postmodern underpinnings. However this is a most difficult case to make and made complicated when you read the works of avant garde authors like Yu Hua and their grotesque, brutal, as well as calculated depictions of extreme violence. Before getting into analysis and discussion of Yu Hua 's avant garde style and themes, however, it is necessary to mention that the celebration of the coming of Chinese avant garde literature in the late 1980s ended almost as soon as it came. This is most often theorized (and rightly so) as the result of soci al disturbance and subsequent military crackdown at Tiananmen. The Culture Fever and discourse on (post)modernism leading up to the events, June 4 th 1989 at Tiananmen had engendered an intellectual and literary culture among students and academics which d emanded political reform and democratization. When the spirit of democracy and peaceful protest by said intellectuals failed to bring about an end to the CCP's authoritarian control over the self determination
Long 20 of Chinese individuals, and rather was brutall y crushed with a military response, what seems to have occurred was a de facto legitimization of the CCP's power and subsequently an adoption by the population at large of the religion of capitalism. Avant garde literature intrinsically has no place in a h yper commercialized society due to its contempt for and rejection of the mainstream, so too would it become relegated to annals of China's Culture Fever in the 1980s. The Avant Garde Fiction of Yu Hua and the Turn to Realism Andrew F. Jones succinctly r enders the decline and eventual fall of experimental avant garde literature as the natural outcome of a post socialist embrace of capitalist consumer and market values that implicitly renounce China's socialist past, leaving the role played by postmodern a vant garde literature in subverting that socialist past irrelevant. In his words: The socialist orthodoxy and stale humanist verities against which [the avant garde/experimentalists] struggled mightily in the '80s have long since been dethroned. The Cul tural insularity they so pointedly punctured by way of the importation and creative appropriation of modernist, magical realist, and postmodernist models have become less a problem than a virtual impossibility. Literary censorship is now largely market dri ven, and formal experimentation simply doesn't sell. The question that remains is this: How can a writer make his or her voice heard above the din? How do specifically literary signals penetrate the pervasive noise of commercial culture, media babble, and globalized culture that has inundated urban China in the new century? What position can Chinese
Long 21 writers occupy in an aggressively capitalist era in which the nouveau riche entrepreneur is insistently exalted as the most alluring sort of culture hero? (Jo nes 255) 13 He correctly notes the importance of grappling with the question of how a writer can make his (or her) voice heard in a post ideological commercialized social environment. Also significant is the notion of Chronicle of a Blood Merchant as succes sful social critique. However, I believe that the transformation of Yu Hua's literary style and commercial success needs to be understood in more depth and not just simply as the only logical (and monetarily successful) way of having one's voice heard. Alt hough Jones's articulation of the avant garde's irrelevance in the post New Era China is poignant, his questions seem to gloss over the many cultural themes and nuances that made Yu Hua's avant garde stories so powerful, as well as the fact that many of th em reemerge, albeit in different forms, in his realist and commercially successful novels. The issue at hand is that Yu Hua's turn toward realism is much more complicated than an attempt at broadening his reader base or commercial viability. Yu Hua's lit erary style is deeply reflective of his personal history. In China in Ten Words in the chapter on "Writing," Yu Hua recounts an instance where a friend of his, who was writing an article on Yu Hua, asks him the question: "'Why is it that your early short stories are so full of blood and violence when this tendency is not so evident in your later work?'" (88) After noting the difficulty answering such a question entails to Yu Hua, he responds (to the reader): It's your experience while growing up, I beli eve, that shapes the direction of your life. A basic image of the world is planted deep in your mind, and then, like a
Long 22 document in a copy machine, it keeps being reprinted again and again throughout your formative years. Once you reach adulthood, whether y ou're successful or not, whatever you accomplish can only partially revise the most basic image; it will never be entirely transformed. Naturally some revise the image more and some revise it less. Mao Zedong, I'm sure, made more revisions than I have done (88 89) Yu Hua then goes on to explain how he believes the environment he grew up in undoubtedly explains his early fiction's fixation on blood and violence: It's my conviction that the bloodshed and mayhem of my work in the 1980s were shaped by my expe riences as a child. I was just entering primary school when the Cultural Revolution began, and I had just graduated from high school when it ended. In my early years I witnessed countless rallies, denunciation sessions, and battles between rebel factions, not to mention a constant stream of street fights. For me it was a regular occurrence to walk down a street lined with big character posters and run into people with blood streaming down their faces. That was the larger context of my childhood, and the sma ller context was equally bloody. My brother and I were used to running around in hospital corridors and patient wards, inured to screams and sobs, to pallid faces and last gasps, to blood soaked gauze tossed on the floors of sickrooms and hallways. (90) H e further goes on to explain how he and his brother, presumably out of boredom and curiosity, would sneak into the operating rooms where his father would perform surgery so they could watch (unbeknownst to the father). And in the chapter previous titled "R eading," he recalls how he eventually started to take naps in the hospital's morgue
Long 23 because, in the summertime of his hometown when the heat was unbearable, the morgue was quite cool and relaxing. (60) Years later young people often ask, 'How does one beco me a writer?' My answer is always simply: 'By writing.' Writing is like experience: if you don't experience things, then you won't understand life; and if you don't write, then you won't know what you're capable of creating. (80, emphasis my own) What Yu Hua ended up creating in his avant garde short stories wound end up haunting him and causing him great mental distress, nearly to the point of nervous collapse. (89 90) For the those unfamiliar with Yu Hua's work, some elaboration is necessary before delvi ng deeper into the psychology and unconscious of Yu Hua himself as the author. The only collection of Yu Hua's work translated into English is his collection of short stories under the title The Past and the Punishments (translated by Andrew F. Jones). In this collection there are eight short stories, the first of which, titled "On the Road at Eighteen," 14 is written in the first person point of view and depicts the narrator's first day on the road away from home to explore the country. He is rudely ignored and passed by cars who do not answer his hails for a ride. Eventually, after having secured a ride with a trucker whose truck eventually breaks down, he is viciously beaten by a mob of peasants for trying to stop them from stealing the contents of the truc k, in stark contrast to the unconcerned trucker who eventually hitches a ride with the peasants. The second story in the collection, "Classical Love," 15 is a sort of parody of a classical general tale about a pathetically inept young scholar who falls in love with the maiden of an aristocratic family's compound who he happens upon on his way to China's
Long 24 imperial era's exams. After having botched the exam he returns to the site where he first met the maiden to find it in area in disarray and general decay. T hree years later on his way to take the examinations again he passes through the area to find it in even more destruction, presumably the cause of war or famine, and notes the presence of corpses and felled trees everywhere. Upon entering town he sees wome n young and old being auctioned off like livestock to be butchered in meat stores and served to customers. Eventually, he unwittingly partakes in the consumption of the maiden he first fell in love with. The third story, "World Like Mist," 16 of which Chen Jianguo's analysis is of importance to in Chapter 1 of this thesis, grotesquely depicts the moral degeneration and dismay of a small community/town. Yu Hua depicts the stillborn birth of an incestuous union between grandmother and grandson; the rape of you ng girls to preserve the life energy of an octogenarian magician; the suicide of a girl who was destined to be sold by her father, presumably into the sex trade; and the senseless humiliation and murder of a harmless pervert. In the fifth story, "1986," 17 Yu Hua depicts the return of a man who was once a teacher who went missing in the Cultural Revolution. His wife has remarried and moved on with her life, and his daughter has forgotten him, and neither recognizes the man as he meanders into town, although he is depicted as having looked quite savage from living in the wilderness for years. Yu Hua notes that before the man went missing he had an affinity for studying classical Chinese methods of torture, and upon returning to the town he acts them out on him self and others and gruesome displays of mutilation and mass murder. These events seemingly go unnoticed by the townspeople, even by his daughter
Long 25 as she watches him put his genitalia in a vice grip and cut off his nose. Andrew F. Jones has noted about Yu Hua's short stories that By the late 1980s, Yu Hua had begun to produce a series of shockingly audacious short stories and novellas in which he not only cut up his own characters in confrontationally graphic detail, but also relentlessly skewered and d issected the norms and conventions of almost every fictional genre, from premodern tales of 'scholars and maidens' to martial arts fiction, from ghost stories and detective fiction to epics of the revolutionary struggle. His stories dispensed with the li near plot lines of realist fiction, preferring instead to loop back upon themselves, interlock into complex mosaics, or deliberately and seemingly inexplicably replay the same passage over and over again. (Jones 256 257) He also compares the violent aesth etic of Yu Hua to that of his literary predecessor Lu Xun of the May Fourth Era, taking note of their shared use of the field of medicine as a trope for the horror of modernity: Like Lu Xun, Yu Hua returns obsessively to the violent spectacles of China 's tumultuous modern history. As in Lu Xun's fiction, the incalculable sufferings of poverty, war, and revolution come to life for the reader in Yu Hua's fiction as a sort of 'theater of cruelty' visited upon the bodies of his characters. And as with Lu Xu n, it is the operating theater and the hospital that more often than not serve as a symbolic site of cruelty, official ineptitude, and state malpractice. This is certainly true of To Live [which] wrenchingly relates the entirely preventable death by blee ding of a pregnant woman in a hospital at the height of the Cultural Revolution. (259)
Long 26 Zhang Xudong even elevates Yu Hua's writing style and imagery as to being the paradigmatic symbol of avant garde fiction" through "dutifully puzzl[ing] the reader by i ts labyrinth of slanderous sentences, grotesque conspiracies, and ominous lanes and rivers, and which keep its sensuous intensity by an endless flow of state of the art, gut wrenching violence, (154) And Xiaobin Yang uses the madman depicted in "1986" t o demonstrate the avant garde's challenge to literary modernity to produce a centered, representational subjectivity. In , Yu Hua does not simply indict the evil of the Cultural Revolution but reveals the repetitiveness and, more significant ly, the incomprehensibility of that evil or the inability of the subject to exhaust the meaning of history. Not only does the protagonist of the novella show his madness ten years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, but the representation of madness, on the level of narratorial voice, appears insane. The subjective mode is parodied when direct characterization is imposed upon the course of self mutilation that the mad protagonist follows. In the scene of the madman's cutting off his own nose, 'The n ose was dangling on the face like a swing.' The sound of the madman sawing his own leg is described like 'he had been polishing a pair of pretty leather shoes.' Here, if the madness of the protagonist signals the fall of grand history, the madness of the n arrative/narratorial subject effects the subversion against absolute representation and denies the illusion that the real we are confronted with can be comprehended and redeemed in a rational and complete way. (388) To bring the discussion back to Yu Hua himself as the author, here is how he describe period of 1986 to 1989 when China's literary avant garde was at its apex:
Long 27 From 1986 to 1989 was my peak period for writing about blood and violence. In one of his books the critic Hong Zhigang lists eight stor ies I wrote during these years and comes up with no fewer than twenty nine characters who die unnatural deaths within their pages. During the day as I worked on my stories, there were bound to be gruesome slayings and people dying in pools of blood. At nig ht as I slept, I would dream I was being hunted down and killed. In those nightmares I would find myself friendless and alone, and when I wasn't searching frantically for a hiding place, I'd be desperately fleeing down a highway. (89 90) What my rather e xtended cataloging of Yu Hua's early work's obsession with violence connected by his own historical introspection on the time period of which he was active in this obsession serves to demonstrate, I believe, is the intensely personal and psychological function of violence in his fiction. However, rather than serve as a catharsis to the historical pain which, as I've already noted, he feels is China's pain as well, the recollection and constant reliving of the historical trauma through obsessively expre ssing it through writing drives him to the point of his own insanity. Life in those three years was so frenzied and so hideous: by day I would kill people in fiction, and by night I would be hunted down in dreams. As this pattern went on repeating itself I worked myself to the edge of nervous collapse but continued heedlessly to immerse myself in the agitation of writing, a creative high that took its own toll. This went on until one night when I had a very protracted dream. Unlike the other nightmares, f rom which I always awoke before the moment of death, in this one I experienced my own annihilation. (90)
Long 28 Yu Hua's dream of his own annihilation, as he goes on to explain, is where it is implied that he has taken the place of the "black pen" in a strugg le session and viciously tortured and executed. In an earlier chapter, Yu Hua recounts that when he first started to write late in high school, he took his first piece to his town's locally famous and most accomplished novelist, to be reviewed and so that he might get some writing tips from this "red pen". A red pen was a writer who wrote socialist realism and glorified the revolution and the Party in their writings, and a black pen was someone whose writing was counter revolutionary or "rightist". Yu Hua n otes that one of the pieces that his town's locally famous red pen once wrote during the Cultural Revolution came to be misunderstood by a nearly illiterate party cadre as counterrevolutionary, thus turning him from a red pen into a black pen. And this tra nsformation earned him a spot in the carnival of struggle sessions, which during the Cultural Revolution were usually mass rallies were counterrevolutionaries like black pens (and prostitutes, landlords, etc.) would be publicly humiliated, beaten, tortured and at worst killed. Yu Hua and his friends as well as other children frequently enjoyed attending struggle sessions as a form of entertainment, and once Yu Hua even witnessed a brutal execution of an unknown man by two shots to the back of the head. In the dream of his own annihilation, he lived out the experience of being executed and struggled against for being a black pen. Upon awakening in cold sweat, he issued this warning to himself: "You've got to stop writing this kind of story." (94) After this disturbance, he muses to himself, "Sometimes life and writing can actually be very simple: a dream can trigger memory's recall, and everything changes."
Long 29 (94) The deeply psychological methodology with which Yu Hua engages his avant garde fiction did not en d with the stylistic turn to realism; rather, it changed shape. The reasons for Yu Hua's turn to realism are complicated by his own subjective engagement with the literary discourse on the avant garde and its eventual decline, but also from the his own per sonal experience, including but not limited to the historical trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Thus, reading Yu Hua's short fiction's use of the avant garde solely as political correct, or his novels' use of the realist mode as a commercial gimmick, is i nsufficient. When considering Yu Hua's work, whether short fiction or novel, its psychological nature and its use of the Symbolic should be emphasized, because in this regard there can be demonstrated a distinct continuity of concerns to male subjectivity and the historical male subject.
Long 30 Chapter 1: The Male Subject in Plight: The Specter of Familism The fortune teller, who was almost ninety years of age, had fathered five children in all. The first four had died one by one over the course of the past twenty years. Only his fifth and youngest son remained. From the successive deaths of his first four children, the fortune teller had learned both the secret of longevity and why he himself would be able to live to an unnaturally ripe old age. Each of the first four children's natal coordinates had been in conflict with his own. In the end, however, he had been able to force each of his first four children back into the netherworld. That was because he had discovered that his own life force was stronger tha n theirs. And, because none of his children had been able to enjoy their proper allotment in this mortal world, the surplus time had accrued to the fortune teller's own account. For twenty years now, the fortune teller had never suffered any of the usual s igns of decrepitude and age. This happy fact was reconfirmed for him each time he 'extracted yin in order to bolster the yang.' ("World like Mist" 93) In Yu Hua's short fiction there exists the consistent motif of the disempowered as well as voiceless male subject whose oppressor is the traditional family (or family structure) itself. The two short stories, "Blood and Plum Blossoms" and "World like Mist,", both serve to demonstrate a familial ideology that subsumes the individual, and in particular the individuality of youth, in forming and sustaining a patriarchal system whose underlying logic is oppression and violence. In particular, we see in "Blood and
Long 31 Plum Blossoms" the young male subject becomes a pawn in an external familial ideological apparatus and thus becomes desubjectivized and lacks any critical agency. This ideology of familism is most appropriately represented in "World like Mist," as according to Chen Jianguo through his Lacanian reading of the text: The Figure of this Chinese 'Phallus forms an interesting contrast with Western cultural tradition. While the latter seems to suffer from the Oedipus complex, in which the symbolic son kills the Name of the father in order to obtain the life force symbolized in the mother refuge, the former emphasizes the perpetuation of the life force of the Phallus/Father at the expense of his offspring. By turning Chinese history into an allegory Yu Hua demonstrates its political unconscious the fear of historical progress, which is transformed into a n iniquitous discourse of historical/political persecution. (21) If we are to understand the familial hierarchy present in Yu Hua's fiction in light of Chen's formulation of a China specific Oedipal Complex, then an allegorical reading of his work yields particular ramifications on the formulation of the modern Chinese subject. "World like Mist" depicts a dystopic and chaotic small town where all of its nameless characters are consciously or unconsciously engaged in attempting to ward off their death, or as Lu Tonglin describes it, "an account of a group of nameless people who live on the margins of life and death."(160) The central most character to the story is the octogenarian fortune teller, who sustains his life through the ritual sacrifice of his chi ldren, and through the psychic manipulation of other characters in the story in giving
Long 32 up their children to the fortune teller, as well as occasionally kidnapping and raping of adolescent girls. The fortune teller is the only character who is capable of ex pressing subjective engagement with history. Chen Jianguo's inverted Oedipal Complex is specifically formulated around the fortune teller's role in the story as the Symbolic Father/Phallus: The supernatural ability of the old man seems to turn himself i nto an Absolute of power, sex and politics, a Lacanian 'phallic' symbol of a 'primordial signifier' through its relation to the symbolic order. In the context of Chinese culture, this symbolic order refers to both Confucian orthodoxy and the hegemony of th e dominant ideology, in which the old fortune teller plays the role of Lacan's Name of the Father, an abstraction of power and institution, which controls but never dies. More pointedly, this abstraction of power and institution is enacted through shere vi olence, both cultural and institutional, which is seen in its fullness in the senile fortune teller's having forced sex with teenage girls with shameful brutality in order to boost his male life force: (20) "Blood and Plum Blossoms" is a satire of trad itional "knight errant" fiction, depicting the predictable plot of a son's quest to avenge the death of his father (Chen 20). In this story, Ruan Haikuo, the story's protagonist, after reaching the coming of age, is tasked with avenging the death of his fa ther, Ruan Jinwu, by his mother. Under the premise of revenge, then, the reader is lead to believe that by completing this task that Ruan Haikuo will come to affirm his masculinity and take his rightful place as the successor to his mythical father. Thus, his subjectivity is necessarily determined by a
Long 33 familial ideology whose structure and logic rests on a theory of violence. This is metaphorically represented in the story through the passage of Ruan Jinwu's famous "Plum Blossom Sword" unto Ruan Haikuo, the sword which Ruan Jinwu had used to slay many of his enemies, like his father before him. In light of Chen Jianguo, the "Plum Blossom Sword" serves as a Lacanian phallic symbol. What is missing from this story is any sort of moral sentiment or subjective e ngagement on the part of Ruan Haikuo to fulfill this task, also the stark contrast drawn between Ruan Haikuo's character and that of his mythical father. A gendered subjectivity in this story is articulated through a character's ability and skill to use hi s (or hers) weapon; Ruan Haikuo lacks such a capacity and is thus de subjectivized or dehumanized. His inability to use the sword makes it impossible for him to rise to and replace the Name of the Father. Seen in the light of the political context in conte mporary China, the image of the senile fortune teller clearly alludes to the gerontocracy that drags out an ignoble existence at the expense of the youth and vitality of the nation. The story shows how by means of 'Cai ying bu yang' the political 'fortune teller' in China desperately manages to prolong his power and willfully manipulates the fate of the whole nation. (Chen 21) The difference between "Blood and Plum Blossoms" and "World Like Mist," then, is that in "Blood and Plum Blossoms" the mother is co mplicit in the carrying out and sustaining of the Symbolic order in the Father's absence, whereas in "World like Mist" the fortune teller himself carries out the role. In both stories, male subjectivity is rendered an impossibility in the face of this modi fied Symbolic order.
Long 34 Ruan Haikuo's "Plum Blossom Sword": Violence as Formative in the Construction of the Male Subject "Blood and Plum Blossoms" begins with a recollection of the past.15 years previous to "now" was the day Ruan Jinwu, well known master swordsmen and the father of Ruan Haikuo, was murdered at "the hands of two warriors of the black way."(181) Then Ruan Haikuo's mother is introduced, depicted as not having aged well, and eternally obsessed with seeking the revenge of her fallen husband. In her possession is his prized and near mythical "Plum Blossom Sword", a sword passed down the generations, and bearing a bloody mark on its blade, resembling a plum blossom, for every person that has fallen under its edge. Upon Ruan Jinwu's death it had 99 Ruan Haikuo is the recently turned 20 years old protagonist, who his mother (and eventually all of the other characters he ecounters) identifies as having somewhat of a similar appearance to the late Ruan Jinwu, but that "...it was clear... that Ruan Hai kuo had inherited none of his father's prodigious skills with a sword... This clearly was no swordsman." (182) Despite this, she tasks him with the quest of avenging his father's death, and to do this he will have to seek out two of his father's associate s to ascertain the identities of his father's assailants: Master Blue Cloud and White Rain. Thus Ruan Haikuo sets out on his journey, and no sooner had he reached the house did he notice that the cottage where he and his mother once lived was on fire, pres umably his mother's own doing, as well as her suicide. In a rare instance of self cognizance, he notes to himself the meaning of this is clear: he has no home or place to return to and that the only thing he can do is to embark
Long 35 on this quest. He wanders ai mlessly and arbitrarily for long passages of time, even as long as years without a change in plot. The first persons he encounters (separately) are "The Lady of the Rouge" and the "Black Needle Knight", who recognize the sword he carries as that of Ruan Ji nwu, and request that should he find Master Blue Cloud and White Rain that he should ask the location of two other persons on their behalf. He accidentally stumbles upon White Rain eventually, who engages him to ask about the Plum Blossom Sword, but it has been so long Ruan Haikuo has forgotten White Rain's name and forgets to tell him that he is one of the persons Haikuo is looking for, and only that he is searching for Master Blue Cloud. The narrator mysteriously notes: "As any swordsman would have known, White Rain and Master Blue Cloud, for years the best of friends and closest of allies, had parted ways five years earlier as sworn enemies."(193) Haikuo's amnesia is seemingly forgiven as he is afforded another opportunity when he, again accidentally, fin ds Master Blue Cloud. But instead of asking about his father's killers, he asks him about the persons the Lady and Black Needle Knight had asked of him. Master Blue Cloud denies Haikuo a third question, as he only answers two questions at a time. He rememb ers White Rain's name and simply returns to his aimless wondering. He again finds the Lady and Black Needle Knight and tells them the whereabouts of the persons they had asked of him. The story ends with White Rain finding Haikuo again, and this time they introduce themselves. Ruan Haikuo hesitated, mumbling softly to himself as he averted his eyes from the man who stood before him, haunted by the growing certainty that these marvelous years of peregrination were about to come to an end. He would be forced to fine and take his vengeance who had killed his father fifteen years
Long 36 before. And that, of course, was tantamount to going in search of his own funeral. (199, emphasis my own) White Rain notifies Haikuo that his father's killers were the persons the Lad y and Black Needle Knight had asked him to ask about, and that after Haikuo relayed the information back to them, they subsequently killed his father's assassins some years ago. Ruan Haikuo's heart was thrown into turmoil. He watched as White Rain held the Plum Blossom Sword to eye level and slowly extracted it from its sheath. Illuminated by the brilliant sun outside the pavilion, he saw ninety nine spots of rust dappling the blade. (200) As Y.H. Zhao notes in regards Yu Hua's satirization of a convention al literary format, "All the elements are there but without their original meaning"(419). There is the quest to avenge the death of the father, but Ruan Haikuo lacks the will or want to complete the task. He has a mythical, deadly weapon, but is incompeten t in its use. There are no instances of combat and sword play, nor does Haikuo even actually make effort in finding his father's killers, and yet the completion of quest is unbelievably brought about just by Haikuo's participation. The reader is left unful filled, and Haikuo's emotional response to his father's killers' death is absent. In accomplishing the superficial goal of bringing about their death, he was successful, but from understanding this story in terms of individual subjectivity especially th e male's it was an utter failure. Haikuo's coming of age quest, which should have proved his agency as a man worthy of his father, was unsuccessful in living up to and becoming the swordsman his father once was. It is on this point, the notion of becomi ng a swordsman of his father's caliber, that the theoretical focus of Rong Cai, Zhao, and Liu Kang in interpreting this story, can be
Long 37 deemphasized as the locus the protagonist's failure owing to a conflict of "meaning production" 18 As Rong Cai notes in her critique of the text: Yu Hua examines through the individual's relationship with existing meaning systems. His traveler characteristically bears a false identity and is consequently alienated from it. Ruan Haikuo in "Blossoms" lives in an imagined relatio nship to himself. The imaginary nature of this relationship is obvious in the fact that although the character's sole identity in the story is as a traveler, he is not the initiator of his journey. (181) The fact that he is not the initiator of his journ ey is key, but insufficient toward a conceptualization of male subjectivity in the story. Instead, I want to move away from the traveler motif, 19 and refocus the discussion on Yu Hua's characterization in terms of their ability (or inability) with their we apons. In the text, each character is defined by their particular relationship between their weapon and their physical body. I submit that in Ruan Jinwu's introduction to the reader, and in all of his significations, he is not independent of his role as th e "swordsman," or his renowned ability with the Plum Blossom Sword. It is this distinction by which the reader understands Ruan Jinwu's masculinity, and measures Haikuo against. Haikuo's ineptitude with the Plum Blossom Sword implies that he is less manly than his father, while still simultaneously alienating Haikuo through the "false identity" that he is a swordsman. Even more poignantly, the sword, somewhat obviously, serves as a phallic symbol. The phallus can be better understood on the basis of its fu nction here. In Freudian doctrine, the phallus is not a fantasy, if we are to view fantasy as an
Long 38 imaginary effect. Nor is it as such an object (part internal, good, bad, etc.) inasmuch as 'object' tends to gauge the reality involved in a relationship. St ill less is it the organ penis or clitoris that it symbolizes. For the phallus is a signifier, a signifier whose function, in the intrasubjective economy of analysis, may lift the veil from the function it served in the mysteries. For it is the signi fier that is destined to designate meaning effects as a whole, insofar as the signifier conditions them by its presence as a signifier. (Lacan 579) Lacan further goes on to explain nature of the relationship between the subject in the case of literary analysis, this is presumed to be the protagonist and the object, signified by the phallus. In short, the phallus, as a signifier, represents not so much physical genitalia, but rather it signifies an object in "the Other's" (the unconscious) of the subj ect, the object is in some shape or another a form of desire. In this framework, then, the object in "Blood and Plum Blossoms" to Ruan Haikuo should be a desire prove his masculinity by wielding the "Plum Blossom Blade", the very phallic symbol of his father's masculinity. Haikuo's physical inability to use the sword, consequently, can be understood as a form of anxiety toward the male subject's body; his never managing to kill a person and add another plum blossom to the sword's blade indicates anxiet y over male potency. The concern, however, still rests in what Rong Cai called Haikuo's "false identity" and the notion that he is not the initiator of his journey. This said, there are still other characters in the story who are elaborately defined accor ding to their weapon: the Lady of the Rouge and the Black Needle Knight. Several weeks later, when Ruan Haikuo tried to recall his strange
Long 39 encounter with the Lady of the Rouge, the memory had already come to seem like an illusion. For even though Ruan Hai kuo was a direct descendant of a celebrated swordsman, he had never lived or traveled in the company of his father's brothers in arms This was how he came to be ignorant of a warrior as singularly notorious as the Lady of the Rouge. Known throughout the l and as the most powerful potentate of poison under heaven, her entire body was powdered with a poisonous essence concocted from the noxious blooms that she cultivated around her cottage So deadly was her rouge that a single puff could kill a man in a matt er of seconds from several yards away ... (188, emphasis my own) But as he wandered, he gradually began to draw closer and closer to the Black Needle Knight, without knowing how, why, or indeed that he was even doing so at all. The Black Needle Knight was a figure whose name was almost as widely celebrated among swordsmen and fighters as the Lady of the Rouge herself After more than twenty years of valiant adventure and martial intrigue, the Knight had become known as a master of a secret weapon. When the Knight took aim, he never missed, even in the dark of night. His secret weapon was a strand of hair plucked from his head, for once a hair left his scalp it would stiff into a lethal black needle. Propelled into the dark of night, the black needle was comp letely invisible to its target and thus could not be deflected After many years in the world of swordsmen, bald patches were beginning to appear on the Black Needle Night's scalp (188 190, emphasis my own)
Long 40 As indicated by Yu Hua's reiteration of Haiku o's relation to the celebrated swordsman, Ruan Jinwu, the famous "lethality" of both warriors is completely unbeknownst to Haikuo due to his "false identity" as a swordsman. In both descriptions, the narrator's emphasis like in the initial introduction o f Ruan Jinwu is on the myth and fame of their murderous potency, specifically on the nature of that potency. Perhaps even less subtle than a sword as a phallic signifier of masculinity, the Lady of the Rouge's signifier is her poisonous makeup. To put it in more concrete terms, considering the conventional Chinese gender norms that are a part of the metalanguage in this "knight errant" tale, it is totally appropriate that makeup would signify the Lady's own gender identity. And her lethality, or potency, with her weapon directly stands in contrast against Ruan Haikuo's inability understand symbolically as a form of anxiety to use the sword. The Black Needle Knight's weapon, a "stiff" and "lethal" strand of his own hair operate in the same manner. Tog ether, the Lady and the Knight are both apart of the elite club the club which included Ruan Jinwu of individuals from a time in the past, by which the manliness of Haikuo is judged. This distinction between the young generation of Haikuo and that of his father, as well as the alienation Haikuo's experiences because of this passed down "false identity" and notions of masculinity imposed on him by a history that is not his own reorients the discussion back toward Rong Cai's traveler motif and its allegorical significance in Ruan Haikuo: Yu Hua's demonstration of the self ensnared in an estranged discourse is indicative of both post Mao's writers' alertness to the power of meaning systems in constructing
Long 41 individual consciousness, and their anxiety o ver how much signifying authority they can claim in a society which is quickly becoming a site of conflictual social interests, old and new. (187) Rong Cai seems to be reaffirming in the post Mao era avant garde work of Yu Hua the spirit of which Zhao ch aracterizes as owing to Lu Xun: As I see it after a careful study of Yu Hua, the central issue in Lu Xun's fiction is his anxiety regarding the unavoidable crisis of the meaning constructing systems in Chinese culture, which has no choice but to go for mod ernization. In the crisis the irrefutable reality confirmed by the rational rigidity of traditions is, as he sees it, rotten throughout, whereas what the traditional values view as aberration, fantasy, or even madness are opening to a reorientation of whol e culture... (415) From what Rong Cai characterizes as "conflicting social interests", along with the implication of a youth tradition dichotomy, Ruan Haikuo can then be further understood as a victim. It seems insufficient when Rong Cai claims, "the mor als, ideological interests, and social involvement of the earlier travelers are displaced in Yu Hua's fiction by a deep consciousness of institutionalized language as an ultimate force shaping the individual's social identity." (188) Insufficient in the se nse that she never actually identifies the source of the institutionalized language that he attributes the "subject in crisis'" failure. I submit that it is a system of patriarchal familism that occupies this source, and relying again on the Lacanian phall us, that Ruan Haikuo's mother is the transmitter of this language also, an organ of the patriarchal system in "Blood and
Long 42 Plum Blossoms". These facts reveal a relation between the subject and the phallus that forms without regard to the anatomical dis tinction between the sexes and that is thus especially difficult to interpret in the case of women and with respect to women, particularly as concerns... why, more primordially, both sexes consider the mother to be endowed with a phallus, that is, to be a phallic mother. (Lacan 576) The demand for love can only suffer from a desire whose signifier is foreign to it. If the mother's desire is for the phallus, the child wants to be the phallus in order to satisfy her desire. Thus the division immanent in desi re already makes itself felt by virtue of being experienced in the Other's desire, in that this division already stands in the way of the subject being satisfied with presenting to the Other the real [organ] he may have that corresponds to the phallus; for what he has is no better than what he does not have, from the point of view of his demand for love, which would like him to be the phallus. (Lacan 582) Clinical work shows us that the test constituted by the Other's desire is decisive, not in the sense t hat the subject learns by it it whether or not he has a real phallus, but in the sense that he learns that his mother does not have one. This is the moment in experience without which no symptomatic consequence (phobia) or structural consequence (Penisneid ) related to the castration complex can take effect. This seals the conjunction of desire, insofar as the phallic signifier is its mark, with the threat of or nostalgia based on not having. (Lacan 582) For the purpose of textual analysis (as opposed to b iological), an interpretation of
Long 43 Lacan's lecture is necessarily metaphorical. That said, with regards to the first point, the emphasis (my own) added on the idea of the mother being endowed with a phallus, "to be a phallic mother" eerily calls to the reade r's mind Ruan Haikuo's unnamed mother's coveting of the Plum Blossom Sword. But more importantly, informing her position as a phallic signifier allows for a textual reading of her role in the patriarchal cannibalistic system. If the reader accepts as a giv en Ruan Jinwu and his wife, Haikuo's mother, as well as the other characters depicted, as representative of the imbedded institutional constructors of meaning traditionalism then, her carrying of the sword in Jinwu's death symbolically confirms her age ncy in patriarchy; and imposing upon Haikuo the task of avenging his father's death, the passing down of the phallic Plum Blossom Sword as the means to do so, represents her attempt to force perpetuate the system at the expense of Ruan Haikuo (youth). This is not unnoticed by Haikuo, as has been shown, where he recognizes the actual completion of his journey would certainly bring about his death (he is not a swordsman). The system is cannibalistic in this sense: filial piety, the subservience of the son to the father young to old necessarily consumes the subject, unless it should itself come to act as an agent of the system, to sustain it self and perpetuate the Name of the father.
Long 44 Chapter 2: The Coming of Xu Sanguan Chronicle of a Blood Merchant originally published 1995 in China, became Yu Hua's most commercially successful work and solidified the end of his participation in the Chinese "experimentalist" 20 avant garde literary project that began in the 1980s. Casting off the stale and psychologic ally static male subject that appeared in his early short fiction, and in keeping with his turn towards populist realism with To Live Yu Hua offers the reader an entirely new male subject and conceptualization of male subjectivity with Chronicle's protago nist, Xu Sanguan. What's more, in Chronicle of a Blood Merchant the political/cultural ideological debates that gripped China in the 1980s all manifest themselves through Xu Sanguan's dialogue with his family and the people of his town. The cynical outloo k that Yu Hua had previously taken in the construction of male subjectivity, a subjectivity that is made impossible by a traditional patriarchal structure as noted in Chapter 1's analysis of "Blood and Plum Blossoms" and "World Like Mist" is starkly ab sent; instead, Xu Sanguan defines himself as a man through the formation and care for his family, willing to sell his life blood to ensure the survival of his family, serving as a new phallic analogy and reordering of the Chinese Symbolic. This is made pos sible by Yu Hua's reconfiguration of the Chinese family's ontology and cosmology, and is consistent with postmodernism's rejection of historical grand narratives in favor of more localized individual histories that literature permits. The recognition of t his is most clearly represented in a dialogue Xu Sanguan has
Long 45 with an elderly pig farmer in one of the final chapters of Chronicle after Xu Sanguan himself has also grown old: The old man said, "First you sold your strength. Now you've sold your warmth. W hat's left but your life?" "If that's what it takes, I'm willing." Xu Sanguan explained, "My son has hepatitis. He's in a hospital in Shanghai. I have to find enough money to pay for his treatment. If I stopped selling blood for even a few months, there w ould be no way to pay his hospital bill." I'm almost fifty now, and I've had a taste of pretty much everything life has to offer. Even if I were to go, it wouldn't really be much of a loss. But my son's only twenty one, and he hasn't really lived yet. He hasn't gotten himself a woman, hasn't know what it is to be a man. If he were to go now, it would be too unfair. (emphasis mine) The old man nodded repeatedly as he listened to Xu Sanguan's speech. "You're right, you know. When you've lived to be our ag e, you've pretty much learned all there is to know about what it is to be a man." (222) Here, Xu Sanguan affirms his own life as being in accordance with "what it is to be a man" and recognizes that in his duty as this man ideal, his role as the father s upersedes his will to live. The selling of blood literally and metaphorically serves as his means of affirming his manliness, and is a complete inversion of the Symbolic order 21 that dominates Yu Hua's short fiction the central theme of Chapter 1. In cont rast to fortune teller's role as a brutal and cruel phallic symbol, as well as the symbolized Plum Blossom Sword, the act of blood selling in Chronicle passed down to Xu Sanguan, and eventually
Long 46 passed from him unto others, permits Yu Hua's male subject to succeed where his short fiction's protagonists fail; in essence, selling blood serves as a new "metalanguage" 22 and constitutes a reordering of the aforementioned Chinese Symbolic order. It is also poignantly oppositional to Chapter 1's violent, phallic con ceptualization of Blood and Plum Blossom's protagonist's male subjectivity; a masculinity defined by his (in)ability to spill the blood of his late father's assassins. Chapter 2 of this thesis explores the ontology of a new male subjectivity through a cri tical analysis of Xu Sanguan in his journey through life. In the first instance, the theme of selling blood will be expounded upon as a determinant phallic symbol in the construction of Xu Sanguan's subjectivity. There, a reconfiguration of a Chinese Symbo lic order will be delimited and contrasted against the symbolic order constructed in Chapter 1 and Chen Jianguo's understanding of it. In the second instance, a Lacanian reading of chapter 5 of Chronicle will reveal that Xu Sanguan's subjectivity is not a n independent one, but rather a form of subjectivity dependent on an identification with the family. The shattered family mirror that he bought after his marriage to Xu Yulan, a fragment of which he tries to use to determine whether or not his first born i s his or not, serves to allegorize the most anxiety inducing theme of the book: the dependent relationality of the father to the son, and the son to the father. This anxiety is eventually overcome through the spoken affirmation and recognition their father son relationship, which is also accompanied by Xu Sanguan's wish that Yile (his first born son) would think of him in the same way Xu Sanguan thought of his Fourth Uncle (in place of Sanguan's dead father).
Long 47 Selling Blood and Reordering of Familial Ontolo gy In the previous chapter, Ruan Haikuo's subjectivity was rendered an impossibility due to his incompatibility with the established patriarchy, allegorized through his mother's passage unto him of the Plum Blossom Sword and a quest to avenge the death o f the mythical father, such that he might take his place in "the order of things". Thus the very purpose of his existence is to live for and perpetuate the image of the father at his own expense. In Chronicle the inverse occurs. In place of the symbolic sy stem of violence, represented by the Plum Blossom Sword, that rests on the shedding of others' blood to evoke one's own (non)subjectivity, in Chronicle Xu Sanguan's grandfather passes unto him the meaning system of blood selling as a way of forming for him self what it is to be a man and to make possible his subjectivity. Chronicle of a Blood Merchant begins with the introduction of Xu Sanguan, a young man who works in his local town's silkworm factory. He is out in the countryside visiting his grandfather and fourth uncle, delighting in the fruits grown in their village. A peculiar exchange occurs between him and his grandfather and the issue of selling blood is first brought up: He called for Xu Sanguan to stand a bit closer, looked him over for a momen t, and then asked, "Son, where's your face?" Xu Sanguan said, "Grandpa, I'm not your son, I'm your grandson, and my face is right here in front of you." He pulled his grandpa's hand over to his face, let him pat it, and then put it back in his lap. His gr andpa's palms felt like raw silk yarn.
Long 48 His grandpa asked, "Why doesn't your dad come and see me?" "Dad died a long time ago." His grandpa nodded, and a string of saliva slipped out from between his lips. He tilted his head and sucked until some of it cam e back in. "Son, how's your health?" "Good," Xu Sanguan said. "Grandpa, I'm not your son." (3) His grandpa continued, "Do you sell your blood too?" Xu Sanguan shook his head. "No, I've never sold my blood." "Son," Grandpa said, 'you're telling me that yo u're in good health, but you've never sold your blood. I think you're trying to make a fool of me.'" (4) After Sanguan's exchange with his grandfather, he queries upon his fourth uncle for elaboration on the significance of selling blood in his village: [Xu Sanguan's fourth uncle:]"I don't know if there's a rule or not, but everyone who's strong enough goes to sell his blood. You get thirty five yuan a shot. That's more than you make in six months in the fields. And blood's like well water. If you never g o to the well, the source dries up, but if you use it every day, there'll always be just as much water as there was before." "But Uncle, if what you say is true, then selling blood's a real money tree." "That depends on whether or not you're in shape. If y ou're not in shape, you might as well sell your life away when you go sell blood. When you go sell blood, the hospital has to check you out first. First they take a tube of blood and check to see whether or not you're healthy. They'll only let you sell to them if you're healthy." (6) Here in Chapter 1 of Chronicle we see the constant the grandfather's constant
Long 49 misrecognition of Xu Sanguan for his own son, which is compounded by the fact that the ladies of his grandfather's village as well as Xu Sanguan's fo urth uncle note how Xu Sanguan so closely resembles his father. Xu Sanguan corrects his grandfather that he is not in fact his son, and that his father died years ago. Later on in the book Xu Sanguan remarks that his mother ran off with and remarried a Nat ionalist commander. The significance of this excerpt is two fold: (1) if we are to understand the writing of Xu Sanguan as the (re)writing of a narrative of modern Chinese history and the male subject, then the absence of Xu Sanguan's father represents Yu Hua's critique of the modern subject. Xu Sanguan only has his grandfather and fourth uncle to call on as the repository of (Chinese) history and culture. Thus, Yu Hua seems to be symbolically searching back in Chinese history for the symbolized image of t he grandfather. His grandfather's misrecognition of Xu Sanguan as his son represents the attempt at recreating the modern male subject, and his reliance on his fourth uncle in place of his own father represents the discontinuities of Chinese modernity. (2) The selling of blood to make money is a condition of modern medicine, thus apart of Chinese modernity, so an understanding of Xu Sanguan's grandfather allegorically as the grandfather of Chinese history means that the selling of blood is also metaphorical After his discussion with his grandfather, Xu Sanguan is eager to sell blood to make money, so he accompanies two of his fourth uncle's friends, Ah Fang and Gen Long on one of their visits to the hospital to sell blood to "Blood Chief Li," where he will learn and participate in the (new) religion of blood selling. The three of them walked down the road. The oldest was in his thirties, the youngest only nineteen. Xu Sanguan, who was walking in between them, was
Long 50 somewhere in the middle. He said to the two men walking beside him, "You're carrying watermelons, and you've both got a big bowl in your pockets. Are you planning to sell watermelons in town when you're done selling blood One, two, three, four you each have four watermelons. Why so few? Why not b ring in a hundred pounds each? What are those bowls for anyway? Why didn't you bring any food? What are you going to have for lunch?" We never bring anything to eat when we're going to sell blood,' the nineteen year old, Genlong, replied, 'When we're fini shed selling blood, we're going to go to a restaurant to have a plate of fried pork livers and two shots of yellow rice wine." The man in his thirties was called Ah Fang, who explained, 'The pork livers build up the blood, and the rice wine gives it life. (7) "Xu Sanguan," Genlong went on, "didn't you say just now that we don't have enough watermelons? I'll tell you something. We aren't planning to sell any watermelons today. These melons are gifts." Ah Fang added, "These melons are for Blood Chief Li." They took their bowls out from their pockets and clambered down the embankment. Xu Sanguan crossed to the middle of the wooden bridge, standing to watch as they dipped their bowls into the stream, waving them back in forth in the water until they had swe pt away all the weeds and debris from the area directly in front of them. This accomplished, they noisily gulped down bowl after bowl of water four or five bowls each." Ah Fang looked up. "We didn't have any breakfast. We drank eight bowls
Long 51 of water thou gh. And besides what we just drank, we still have to stop in town and have some more, until our stomachs are so swollen that it hurts and the roots of our teeth start to ache. Because the more water you drink, the more blood there will be. The water sinks into the blood." (8) And after they rendezvous with Blood Chief Li to pay their penance and sell blood, they take their just earned 35 Yuan down to the "Victory Restaurant" to participate in the ritualized consumption of eating "fried pork livers" and yell ow rice wine. This is a very specific ritual that both Ah Fang and Genlong enact and which is closely observed and followed by Xu Sanguan: Ah Fang shouted to a waiter, "A plate of fried pork livers, and two shots of yellow rice wine, and make sure to warm up the wine for me." Genlong shouted in turn, "A plate of fried prok livers, two shots of yellow rice wine, and warm up my wine as well." Xu Sanguan had watched closely as they shouted out their orders and, impressed by the aplomb with which they had sl apped the table for emphasis, followed suit with a shout, "A plate of fried pork livers and two shots of yellow rice wine. Oh, and warm mine up too."(14) What we see here in the elaborate process of going to sell blood and its consummation with the highly specified afterward dinner is the creation of a new set of cultural rules and rituals, a modern religion for Xu Sanguan to partake in and to feel apart of. The significance of this is not immediately discernible until its purpose is solidified in Xu Sangu an's conversation with Ah Fang and Genlong over their dinner, where they explain
Long 52 why they are selling blood and the proper way to spend one's blood money: Ah Fang said, "You've sold your energy. That's why you feel weak. What we sold just now is energy, u nderstand? City people call it blood, but we country folks call it energy. There are two kinds of energy. One comes from the blood, and the other comes from muscle. But the kind that comes from the blood is worth a lot more money." Ah Fang said, "when you climb into bed, or when you pick up a bowl of rice from the table, or when you walk from my house over to Genlong's, you don't use much energy at all. That's the kind that comes from the muscle. But when you go into the fields and work, or you carry a hun dred pounds of watermelon into town, when it comes to that kind of hard labor, you have to use the kind of energy that comes from the blood." Ah Fang nodded and turned to Genlong. "These city folks are really pretty bright." Genlong said, 'We're not nece ssarily stronger than you. It's just that we country folks are more used to spending our energy. We depend on selling blood to make enough money to afford a wife, or build a new house. We make just enough in the fields to make sure we don't starve." Ah Fa ng said, "Genlong's right. I'm saving the money I made today for a new house. Another couple of times, and I'll have enough to start construction. Genlong's selling blood because he's got his eye on a girl named Guihua in our village. Originally she was en gaged to someone else, but then they broke it off, and Genlong ended up falling for her instead."
Long 53 Ah Fang went on. "So, Xu Sanguan, have you thought it through? What you're going to do with the money you earned from selling blood?" "'I don't know yet,' X u Sanguan said. 'I've only just learned what it means to sell the kind of energy that comes from the blood. What I earn in the factory is just sweat money, but what I earned today is blood money. You can't spend that kind of money on just anything. I have to find something important to spend it on." (15 16) The selling of blood then, serves in the same capacity as "hard labor," it is the selling of one's own vitality. And as per Ah Fang and Genlong's example, Xu Sanguan needs to find an appropriately impor tant outlet to spend his blood money on, which if he follows their logic, will be to use his blood money to start a family. Also, it is of some significance to note how Ah Fang and Genlong distinguish themselves from Xu Sanguan by noting how he is a city p erson and they country folk, as well as how they distinguish how blood and energy are the same to them, but different to city dwellers. The implication here is that Xu Sanguan, as a denizen of the urban environment, a product of modernity, is learning and forming his subjectivity according to the local religion of country folk. This compounds Yu Hua's critique against Chinese modernity. Selling blood is a complete inversion of the formulation of subjectivity as represented in "Blood and Plum Blossoms," wher e the use of one's own blood is to create and sustain a family, and not to sacrifice one's own life to sustain the traditional patriarchy. Yu Hua is essentially reestablishing the ontology of male subjectivity as being centered in the male subject himself, and not in the external ideological apparatus of traditional patriarchy.
Long 54 In chapter 2 this is confirmed when Xu Sanguan declares to his fourth uncle what he intends to do with his blood money: Fourth Uncle, I want to find someone to marry. Fourth Uncle, for the past two days I've been thinking about the thirty five yuan I made selling blood and what I ought to spend it on. I wanted to give some to Grandpa, but he's too old now, really he's so old he wouldn't even be able to spend it. And I wanted to give you some too, because of all my father's brothers, you treat me the best, but Fourth Uncle, I just can't give it to you, because I earned it by selling blood, not just ordinary muscle. That's why I can't bear to give it away. Fourth Uncle, when I stood up just now, I suddenly realized I should get myself a woman. Then my blood money wouldn't go to waste. (18 19) Here, Xu Sanguan recognizes that the product of his blood money can't be to sustain a patriarchy, the same patriarchy of "Blood and Plum Blossoms and "World like Mist" that revolves around the old, and that it should be used for himself, specifically to build his own family. This completes Yu Hua's critique of the type of familism that dominates the subjectivity of his short stories male subjects. The Shattered Mirror and the Reliationality of Subjectivity Although Yu Hua is critical of the traditional family, his new male subject, Xu Sanguan, comes to define his own subjectivity through the formation of his own family with the aid of blood sell ing. Yu Hua puts the legitimacy of the system of blood selling as formative of male subjectivity to the test through playing out of the conflict of Xu
Long 55 Sanguan's paternity over his first born son. This is metaphorically demonstrated (or demonstrated on a me tafictional level) through the introduction of the shattered family mirror. By using Lacan's infamous "Mirror Stage" as a basis of theoretical framework, the crisis that ensues over Xu Sanguan's legitimacy "as the father" and his subjectivity can be decon structed. By breaking down how the mirror problematizes Yu Hua's subjectivity, and the significance of its being shattered, the interrelationality of Xu Sanguan's subjectivity, dependent on the family, can be illuminated. First, however, explanation of Ja cques Lacan's "Mirror Stage" is necessary. According to Laplanche and Pontalis, the mirror stage is "a phase in the constitution of the human individual located between the ages of six and eighteen months. Though still in a state of powerlessness and motor incoordination, the infant anticipates on an imaginary plane the apprehension and mastery of its bodily unity. This imaginary unification comes about by means of identification with the mirror of the counterpart as total Gestalt; it is exemplified co ncretely by the experience in which the child perceives its own reflection in a mirror. The mirror phase is said to constitute the matrix and first outline of what is to become the ego. (250 251) The significance of the mirror stage however, is that the s ubject is necessarily alienated and his or her body consequently fragmented through the symbolic splitting of the subject's totality from its exterior image. This is confirmed by Lacan when he states the important point is that this form situations the agency known as the ego, prior to its social determination, in a fictional direction that will forever remain irreducible for any
Long 56 single individual or, rather, that will only asymptotically approach the subject's becoming, no matter how successful the dial ectical syntheses by which he must resolve, as I, his discordance with his own reality." (76) The function of the mirror stage thus turns out, in my view, to be a particular case of the function of imagos, which is to establish a relationship between a n organism and its reality (78) It is in this anxiety between the "organism," or rather the subject, and his reality that the mirror motif finds its power in fiction. The subject's reflection in the mirror (or some reflective surface) can serve to demo nstrate his or her symbolic fragmentation, their alienation from what they see in the mirror and what they believe themselves to be. The shattered mirror in Chronicle appears in Chapter 5, after Xu Sanguan has married and overseen the birth of his three sons. The paternity of his first born son, Yile (first joy), is called into question. Just prior to Xu Sanguan's marriage to Xu Yulan, she had been dating a man named He Xiaoyong who eventually raped her, unbeknownst to Xu Sanguan. Chapter 5 takes place ni ne years after this event as well as their marriage, and the townspeople begin to muse on whether or not Yile is actually Xu Sanguan's son. People in town who knew Xu Sanguan noticed that Erle had Xu Sanguan's nose, and Sanle had Xu Sanguan's eyes, but Yil e's face didn't look like Xu Sanguan's at all. They began to discuss their suspicions in private, saying among themselves that Yile didn't look like Xu Sanguan at all, that Yile's mouth looked a lot like Xu Yulan's mouth, but the rest of his face didn't lo ok like hers either. They said to themselves, it seems that Xu Yulan is the child's mother, but is Xu Sanguan really his father? Who planted the seed? Could it have been He Xiaoyong? The shape of Yile's eyes, his nose, even those big ears of his made him l ook more and more like
Long 57 He Xiaoyong every day. (33) These rumors eventually make it to Xu Sanguan's ears. To test the validity of this claim, he uses the "family mirror" to compare his own face to that of Yile's. It was the mirror he had bought when they got married. Xu Yulan had always kept it on the windowsill, and when she awoke in the morning, she would stand by the window, glance at the trees outside, and then gaze at herself in the mirror as she combed her hair and rubbed a layer of intensely fragran t Snowflower cream over her face. Later Yile had gotten taller, tall enough that he could reach up and grab the mirror on the sill. The mirror was still sitting on the sill when Sanle grew tall enough to reach up and knock it over. The biggest fragment was a triangle the size of an egg. Xu Yulan had picked this triangular piece off the floor and propped it right back on the windowsill. (33) The family mirror, here, is portrayed as shattered, symbolizing the fragmentation of Xu Sanguan's family. Xu Sanguan attempts to use the mirror fragment to examine portions of his own face to compare them against the features of the Yile's face. His method is inevitably problematic from the onset. How can Xu Sanguan hope to affirm his identity as the father, now called i nto question, using but a fragment of the mirror? If we are to understand the mirror's formative function in subjectivity as necessarily constructing the exterior portion of Xu Sanguan's total image, albeit alienating in its very nature, the shattered mirr or makes this an impossible task. Xu Sanguan held the triangular shard of mirror in his hand. He held it in front of
Long 58 his eyes and looked at himself. Then he looked at Yile's eyes. They didn't seem too different from his own. He held the mirror up to his ow n nose. Then he looked at Yile's nose. They didn't seem all that different either. Xu Sanguan thought to himself, They say he doesn't look like me, but I think he looks a little like me. (34, emphasis my own) What's more problematic about this situation i s that, like the townspeople, Xu Sanguan is attempting to determine whether or not he is Yile's father through Yile's semblance to his own image. This echoes the ambivalence of Chapter 1 of Chronicle when Xu Sanguan's grandfather, fourth uncle, and the peo ple of their village, all remark in some fashion as to the resemblance of Xu Sanguan to his father. If we are to understand the death and absence of Sanguan's father as a necessity for Yu Hua to reformulate a modern male subject, then the problematic metho d by which Xu Sanguan is attempting to determine the validity of his fatherhood should be condemned as well. Not only does it serve to further fragment Xu Sanguan's subjectivity, as it is understood in his role as a father, but it alienates Yile from Xu Sa nguan in his role as the son. This is also the same sort of alienation that occurs in "Blood and Plum Blossoms" where the image of Ruan Haikuo is compared against his own father, and specifically in his capacity as the swordsman. However, Yu Hua redeems Xu Sanguan and allows him to transcend the alienating process of comparing the image of the son against his father when Xu Sanguan abandons the mirror fragment in his attempts to reconcile his identity as Yile's father. Xu Sanguan said, "Yile, go get Erle and Sanle for me." Xu Sanguan's three sons came inside. He asked them to sit in a row on the bed, then sat down on a stool
Long 59 opposite them. He scrutinized Yil'es, Erle's, and Sanle's features in turn. This first inspection being inconclsuve, he went back do wn the line, inspecting Sanle, Erle, and finally Yile. The three brothers giggled, and when Xu Sanguan saw them laughing, he realized that they looked more alike that way. (34) Xu Sanguan said to himself, They say Yile doesn't look like me, but Yile looks just like Erle and Sanle. If he can't look like me, at least he looks like his brothers. No one ever said Erle and Sanle don't look like my sons. Doesn't matter if Yile doesn't look like me, as long as he looks like his little brothers. (35, emphasis my ow n) When the mirror is abandoned, and by consequence the same process of alienation that plagued Ruan Haikuo, Xu Sanguan is able to reconcile his subjectivity by the recognition of the interrelationality of his family. Whether or not Yile is related to him by blood is rendered irrelevant; all that matters is that he has his brothers, and then Xu Sanguan's role as the father is understood as a given.
Long 60 Conclusion Yu Hua's treatment of male subjectivity evolved from its depiction in his avant garde s hort fiction from its depiction in his full length, realist novels. As we have seen from the Lacanian reading of "Blood and Plum Blossoms", with the aid of Chen Jianguo's theoretical articulation of a Chinese specific Symbolic order, male subjectivity was subsumed into a logic of patriarchy that dominated youth to sustain the old. In the context of China in the 1980s this has the obvious connotations of political allegory. However, if the analysis were to have stopped there, with Yu Hua's short fiction, the question occurs: Is male subjectivity a possibility? It is under this question that we turn toward Chronicle of a Blood Merchant and find that, at least from Yu Hua's point of view, male subjectivity is possible through returning to models of subjectivity that emphasize the collective and kinship. However, in contrast to the the oppressive traditional paradigms of subjectivity, which as Chen noted invert the traditional Oediapl Complex and make male subjectivity possible only through the father's symbolic castration of the son, in Yu Hua's reordering of the Symbolic in Chronicle his protagonist's subjectivity is only possible through the ritual selling of blood that he might create and sustain his family. He necessarily defines himself through his relation ship to his wife and children, emphasizing the interrelationality of his subjectivity. However, Yu Hua's solution to the problem, although poignant as a form of political allegory and social critique of contemporary China, does seem to lack in several re spects: (1) in Yu Hua's novels there is only a marginal role afforded to their female characters and the possibility for female subjectivity. In Chronicle of a Blood Merchant Xu Sanguan's wife is portrayed as a dynamic and complicated character, but her
Long 61 o verarching importance to the story pales in comparison to her husband, whose presence without which the story could not be told. Females are not afforded the same cultural rites or discursive space in Chronicle and this is symbolized by their lack of part icipation in the religion of selling blood. And this is still an improvement over his use of women and the female body as literary tropes to symbolize the sites of institutional systems of power, as per the case of "Blood and Plum Blossoms". (2) There is t he lingering concern that the coming of Xu Sanguan is just another signal for the rise of a new regime of subjective oppression, centered around the family (or the collective), and which disables the possibility for individual subjectivity. As we have seen Xu Sanguan's subjectivity and his self conception as a male rest necessarily on his ability to create, care, and maintain his family. He cannot be separated from his role as the father or husband, and by consequence this effectively means the same for th ose on the other end of this relational pole: this is to say that Xu Sanguan's wife and his children define themselves and form their subjectivity in relation to Xu Sanguan, the husband and father. Is this really an improvement over the traditional Confuci an scheme of family? Is it different at all? The difference, it would seem, is in how these relations play themselves out and how the actors on the family stage engage each other in voluntary and egalitarian interactions. Of course, on the second point o ne need only look toward Chapter 1 of this thesis as well as to Chen Jianguo for a deconstruction of the Symbolic order governing the relations between the subject and his/her family to discover just how exactly Yu Hua's reconstruction of a modern male sub ject departs from traditional Confucian subjectivity. In spite of this, and perhaps an important site of possible future analysis and critique of Yu Hua's fiction, there emerges behind the dramatic playing out of familial
Long 62 relations and subjectivity in Ch ronicle of a Blood Merchant the specter of the hospital and modern medicine, which truly are Yu Hua's most powerful critique of modernity. We understand the use of blood and blood selling in Chronicle as symbolizing energy, vitality, strength, the very phy sical manifestation of one's inner being, more powerful and more significant than money, and whose use should be carefully demarcated. With this in mind, it's impossible to see the hospital and the Blood Chief as they're portrayed in the story as anything other than the metaphorical manifestation of state power over the individual, particularly those peasants who live in the countryside, whom China's economic reforms in the wake of the end of the Cultural Revolution have least benefited. Xu Sanguan and the other blood sellers in the story, as modern Chinese subjects, are selling their life blood to sustain the modern Chinese nation state, whose most salient and observable organ of power manifests through the arena of the hospital. There still remains much w ork to be done in deconstructing male subjectivity in China so as to enable a non oppressive discourse on identity. As Zhong Xueping notes in defense of her choice to write a book on masculinity and male subjectivity: ... it might seem surprising that I h ave chosen to pursue this project through male rather than female subjectivity, but I am motivated to do so in significant part because masculinity impinges with such force upon femininity. To effect a large scale reconfiguration of male identification and desire would, at the very least, permit female subjectivity to be lived differently than it is at present. (2 3) But whereas her project was to provide new discursive space for the proliferation of identities, specifically emergent female subjectivities, I have chosen to read into Yu Hua's works new possibilities with which a male identity, specifically the father and son,
Long 63 can emerge. While we have yet to escape the dialectic of family, the ambivalence generated between collectivity and individuality, Yu H ua's reconstruction of a modern male subject through his writing of Xu Sanguan offers up a salient, if problematic solution to at least his own problematized male identity.
Long 64 Notes 1 "May Fourth" refers to the date when intense intellectual and political movements started in Beijing, 1919, ni response to the West's conceding to Japan of the Chinese province of Shandong in a secret agreement as par t of the Treaty of Versailles at the end of WWI. 2 The "New Era" is defined by Rong Cai, in her book "The Subject in Crisis in Contemporary Chinese Literature", as encompassing the time period of 1976 1989. Despite their sometimes conflicting and mutual ly deconstructive theoretical premises, Western concepts of all sorts were eagerly swallowed up, hastily digested, and hurriedly circulated by the intellectually starved Chinese critics to both create and fill up a new discursive space where the critics' p osition in the changing society was negotiated and their own notion of modernity articulated and disseminated. Rallying round the common objective of turning China into a rising world power, together they defined the ideological cultural terrain of the N ew Era (1976 1989), making social progress and spiritual enlightenment an underlying theme of the post Mao reconstruction." pp. 1 2 3 As noted by Zhang Xudong in "Modernism in the Era of Reforms," pp. 44. This is discussed more specifically later in this t hesis. 4 Liu Kang, Xiaobin Tang, "Politics, Ideology, and Literary Discourse in Modern China: Theoretical Interventions and Cultural Critique," 1993. This anthology was the end result and compilation of many lectures and papers discussed at a convention at Duke University in 1990. 5 "The strongest manifestation of this new stage in the post Mao imaginings of the subject is the obvious tendency to move away from politics and social history toward culture and aesthetics. This literary tendency was formed amid a surging interest in Chinese culture in the intellectual circles in general. In the mid 1980s, China was gripped by a 'culture fever' saturated with contradictions and ambiguities. Various factors contributed to the revival of attention to the indigenous culture. Jing Wang argues that it came into being as a result of the intellectuals' realization that China's modernization program failed to deliver, and because the intellectuals were prevented from attributing the cause of the failure to Deng's Four Pri nciples, they used the critique of Chinese culture as an 'alternative outlet'. The culture fever is 'a manifestation of the intellectuals' self awakening' to their inalienable right to represent an chart the blueprint of social progress. The phenomenon s uggests two things: (1) Toward the mid 1980s, at the inception of the Cultural Discussion, Chinese intellectuals had definitely got over the self pity and lamentation characteristic of the literature of the wounded and literature of self reflection. (2) Re ady to leave their image as helpless victims behind, they were now geared up to resume their elite position as the vanguard and spiritual leader of society. Rong Cai, "The Subject in Crisis," pp. 47. 6 Andrew F. Jones, in the afterward to "Chronicle of a Blood Merchant," pp. 260 7 "Metalanguage" is a term used by critics such as Rong Cai and Zhao Yiheng in describing the (missing) sentiment behind the language used is "generic parodies" of traditional literary forms. This is pointed out first by Zhao in his essay on Yu Hua, "Fiction as Subversion," pp. 419, and then referenced by Rong Cai in her essay "The Lonely Traveler Revisited," pp. 180. In both essays where this was used it was in regards to Yu Hua's "Blood and Plum Blossoms," which is a parody of C hinese knight errant fiction. 8 Lu Tonglin, "Misogyny, Cultural Nihilism, & Oppositional Politics", pp 159. Specifically, This past cannot truly be eliminated. Even without a name, it continues to haunt contemporary Chinese ideological, political, and soc ial structures. As I have tried to demonstrate in this book, most experimental fiction writers and critics, despite their desire to cut themselves off from tradition, be it Confucian or Communist, have joined the traditional patriarchy by reviving its mi sogynistic discourse." 9 Mencius was a third century BCE Confucian philosopher, and probably the most widely known and influential Confucian after Confucius himself. 10 "Socialist realism" is defined by David Macey as "The dominant style in official Soviet literature and art from 1934 onwards, characterized by its heroic depiction of labour and glorification of the ruling Communist Party. In 1934 it was defined by the statutes of the Union of Writers as the basic method of Soviet literature and as requiring from writers and artists a truthful portrayal of realities in their revolutionary development and a commitment to the ideological remoulding of the people in the spirit of socialism. From "Dictionary of Critical Theory," pp. 357. Socialist realism was s ubsequently adopted by China's communist party as the official literary form, and implicitly meant the only
Long 65 legitimate mode of subjective representation. 11 Mao Zedong, "Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art," Selected Works of Mao Tse tung 1942, http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected works/volume 3/mswv3_08.htm.) ] TJ ET Q q 0.24 0 0 0.24 515.9487 673.68 cm BT 41 0 0 41 0 0 Tm /F1.01 Tf ( 12 This is described by Frederic Jameson in his book "Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," and often cited by Chinese critics and theorists. Jameson w as among the first "Western" theorists to visit China in the early '80s and gave lectures on postmodernism and is thus very influential in debates on Chinese postmodernism 13 Andrew F. Jones, in the afterward to "Chronicle of a Blood Merchant" 14 Yu Hua, "Th e Past and the Punishments," pp. 3 11 15 Ibid, pp. 12 61 16 Ibid, pp. 62 113 17 Ibid, pp. 132 180 18 See Zhao, 416 for his term "meaning construction", which is adopted by Rong Cai and Liu Kang in characterizing Yu Hua's subversion of language and metanarative s 19 "In times of such dramatic reconfiguration of national identity and social values, the individual was the most profoundly affected. Nation building and personal growth, as a result, became intertwined. The radical transformation brought both hope and frustration, joy and pain to the sojourner whose position and moral resopsnibilities in the rapidly changing world were anything but clear cut and stable. Modern Chinese literature has duly explored the individual's vertiginous exerpeience. The trope of jo urneying as a symbolic action of progression and development has been used effectively by Chinese writers in gauging this experience. Rong Cai, "The Lonely Traveler Revisisted in Yu Hua's Fiction," pp. 173. 20 Andrew F. Jones, in the afterward to "Chroni cle of a Blood Merchant". pp. 255. Unplugging, in other words, is no longer an option. For writers of Yu Hua's generation, often referred to as the 'experimentalists,' the crucial questions have changed, irrevocably. The socialist orthodoxy and stale hu manist verities against which they struggled mightily in the '80s have long since been dethroned. The Cultural insularity they so pointedly punctured by way of the importation and creative appropriation of modernist, magical realist, and postmodernist mode ls have become less a problem than a virtual impossibility. Literary censorship is now largely market driven, and formal experimentation simply doesn't sell. 21 In "The Language of Psycho analysis" by J. Laplanche and J. B. Pontalis, the Symbolic order is defined as governing those phenomena with which psycho analysis deal in so far as they are structured like a language." (439) Although first introduced by Freud, it was later more elaborately conceptualized by Claude Levi Strauss as "the idea of a s ymbolic order which structures interhuman reality (440). Chen Jianguo's understanding of the Symbolic is that of Lacan's, which Laplanche and Pontalis delimit thus: "First, he uses it to designate a structure whose discrete elements operate as signifier s or, more generally, the order to which such structures belong (the symbolic order). Secondly, he uses it to refer to the law on which this order is based; thus when Lacan speaks of the symbolic father, or of the Name of the Father, he has an agency in mi nd which cannot be reduced to whatever forms may be taken by the 'real' or the 'imaginary' father an agency which promulgates the law." It is implied that the structure of the Symbolic order is the Oedipus Complex, which Chen Jianguo's description of the fortune teller leads to an inversion of, as explained by Chen: "The Figure of this Chinese 'Phallus' forms an interesting contrast with Western cultural tradition. While the latter seems to suffer from the Oedipus complex, in which the symbolic son kills the Name of the Father in order to obtain the life force symbolized in the mother figure, the former emphasizes the perpetuation of the life force of the Phallus/Father at the expense of his offspring. (21) This thesis operates under Chen's conceptualiz ation of this inversion of the Oedipus complex. 22 Rong Cai, in Chapter 5 of her book "The Subject in Crisis in Contemporary Chinese Literature", addresses the resurgence and failure of "the traveler motif" in carving out new discursive space for the Chines e subject. Regarding the language of such stories, she comments, "The narrative emphasis of these writers' travel stories on their personal encounters. The authors' attitude toward language, the means by which they retain their memories of the journeys, te nds to be innocent in the sense that whether they focus on their own subjective thoughts they treat language as a competent instrument that enables them to keep track of their educational experiences. Language, therefore, is not a primary reality deservi ng comment in its own right but a tool for the writer to reach the present social reality in which the self is lodged." (135) Later, in her analysis of Yu Hua's Blossoms she notes that the
Long 66 "metalanguage" of the story, that is, the sentiments the protagoni st should feel in a typical martial arts fiction (which Blossoms is a parody of) is missing, resulting in the protagonist's ultimate failure. (136)
Long 67 Works Cited Cai, Rong. "The Lonely Traveler Revisisted in Yu Hua's Fiction." Modern Chinese Literature 16 (1998): 173 190. Print. --. The Subject in Crisis in Contemporary Chinese Literature University of Hawaii Press, 2004. Print. Chen, Jianguo. "Violence: The Politics and the aesthetic -Toward a Reading of Yu Hua." American journal of Chinese studies 5.1 (1998): 8 48. Print. Dirlik, Arif, and Xhdong Zhang. "Introduction: Postmodernism and China." boundary 2 24.3, Postmodernsism and China (1997): 1 18. Print. Goldman, Merle et al. An Intellectual History of Modern China Ed. Merle Goldman & Leo Ou fan Lee. Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print. Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism Duke University Press, 1991. Print. Lacan, Jacques, and Bruce Fink. Ecrits: The First Complete Edition in English 1st ed. W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. Laplanche, Jean, and J. B. Pontalis. The Language of Psycho Analysis W. W. Norton, 1974. Web. 6 Mar. 2012. Liu, K. "The Short Lived Avant Garde: The Transformation of Y u Hua." MLQ: Modern Language Quarterly 63.1 (2002): 89 117. Web. 2 Dec. 2011. Liu, K. and X. Tang. Politics, Ideology, and Literary Discourse in Modern China: Theoretical Interventions and Cultural Critique Duke University Press Books,
Long 68 1993. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. Liu, Zaifu. "The Subjectivity of Literature Revisited." Politics, Ideology, and Literary Discourse in Modern China Ed. Kang Liu & Xiaobing Tang. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1993. 56 69. Print. Lu, Tonglin. Misogyny, Cultural Nihilism and Oppositional Politics: Contemporary Chinese Experimental Fiction Stanford University Press, 1995. Web. 9 Mar. 2012. Wedell wedellsborg, Anne. "One Kind of Chinese Reality: Reading Yu Hua." Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR) 18 (1 996): 129 143. Print. Yang, Xiaobin. "Whence and Whither the Postmodern/Post Mao Deng: Historical Subjectivity and Literary Subjectivity in Modern China." Politics, Ideology, and Literary Discourse in Modern China 1993. Print. Yu, Hua. China in Ten Word s Trans. Allan H. Barr New York: Pantheon Books, 2011. Print. Yu, Hua. Cries in the Drizzle Trans. Allan H. Barr Anchor Books, 2007. Print. Yu, Hua. To Live Trans. Michael Berry Anchor Books, 2003. Print. Yu, Hua. The Past and the Punishments Trans Andrew F. Jones Ed. Howard Goldblatt. University of Hawaii Press, 1996. Print. Zedong, Mao. "Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art." Selected Works of Mao Tse tung 1942. Zhang, Xudong. Chinese Modernism in the Era of Reforms Duke University Press, 1997. Print.
Long 69 Zhao, Y. H. "Yu Hua) 0.2 (: Fiction as Subversion." World Literature Today 65.3, Contemporary Chinese Literature (1991): 415 420. Print. Zhong, Xueping. Masculinity Besieged? Issues of Modernity and Male Subjectivity in Chinese Literature of the Late Twentieth Century Duke University Press, 2000. Web. 8 Mar. 2012.