GSI: Peiting C. Li
Selections from Lu Hsun
Sun Yat-sen: deBary, Sources II, 320-30
Main Critical Reading Question to be addressed in the paper: How Sun Yat-sen’s and Lu Hsun’s ideas of culturally advancing China were different from each other and why such differences would happen in the first place.
A Comparative Study of Lu Hsun’s And Sun Yat-sen’s
Ideas of Advancing China in a Cultural Sense
China in the early twentieth century witnessed the rise of two giants, Sun Yat-sen in politics and Lu Hsun in literature. After the sudden collapse of Qing Dynasty and the end of imperial system, the nation now faced a new question of whether it would be necessary to launch a culture revolution to supplement the political revolution of 1911 as part of the greater efforts to fully modernize China. Sun followed such trend and incorporated certain ideas of culture self-examination into his revolutionary agenda while the less optimistic Lu tried to evoke “a few light sleepers”( Selected Stories of Lu Hsun: Preface to Call to Arms, Lu Hsun, (Norton Library, 1977), 5) out of the “unconscious” population to reinvestigate certain aspects of Chinese culture by fiercely attacking the downsides of the so-called traditional Chinese society in his novels. This paper will discuss three major cultural issues concerning 1) young generation; 2) civil service exam; and 3) traditional morality where Lu’s depictions of Chinese society significantly contradicted Sun’s political arguments. Based on these observations, it is obvious, as the author will argue at the end of the paper, that “the head-bowed willing ox” Lu was more genuinely trying to mobilize the public towards a more complete self-reflection of their own culture than the revolutionary leader Sun in the 1920s cultural revolution. Sun and Lu gave almost contrasting ideas about the current situation of young Chinese and their contributions to the revolution. Sun...
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