Reflection Of Cannibalistic Societies Through Diary Of A Madman And The Correlation To Today's Society

1696 words - 7 pages

The meager image depicted by Lu Xun's 'Diary of a Madman' projects an illustration of society that stresses submission to authority, and the ultimate compliance to tradition. Lu Xun battles the idea that society is constantly being manipulated and controlled by the masses of people who know no better than to follow tradition. His story 'Diary of a Madman' gives the representation of a culture that has not only failed, but failed by the cannibalistic nature of humans corrupting them-selves over and over again therefore feeding upon themselves. The analysis of 'Diary of a Madman' gives way to a new interpretation of societies of the past, present, and future. Following the idea that ...view middle of the document...

The content of the story is divided into thirteen chapters that project images of society in discrete ways. The preface of the story begins explaining the story of two male siblings who remain nameless and identity less throughout the story. The men can be seen as society as a whole, without a name, without an identity, without individuality. The identity of a culture is very important to give separation between individuals, but in the story there is no distinct characteristic described that can set these two men apart from any other two men. Without the individualism of nations, cultures, and people, identity can never be established or characterized.

As the story unfolds the main character, the diarist, announces the idea that one must always be in a constant state of awareness, always ready for attack. The thought that someone could cast a look of fear upon another, but at the same time reflect an attitude of complete hostility towards another begins the diarist?s paranoia for others. Paranoia is a theme that runs wild in the ?Diary of a Madman?, disillusioning the diarist into feeling that he is going to be attacked by others, or even worse eaten. This false belief that people are plotting against the diarist is the central story line of the story. Although the idea of cannibalism may not be a worry in today?s society, the paranoia of society still exists. For example, the paranoid society of Nazi Germany believed strongly that Jews were secretly controlling the world. This delusion caused Hitler to ?defend? himself against the Jews, and therefore horrifically killing, torturing, and enslaving many lives during World War I.

The diarist begins to first realize that although he is an individual, he is considered no different from others in his culture in chapter three. At times a societal or government structure manipulates and devours its own members to gain benefit from the people as a whole, and not as individuals. The importance of individual people does not matter to the strong upper classes that control the majority, but only the things that the majority can do for the upper classes. The diarist realizes this when his Elder Brother and tenant farmer do not get affected by the supposed killing and eating of a ?bad? man. The diarist then says, ?If they?re capable of eating people, then who?s to say they won?t eat me?? (p. 1922).

Society can also have a way of turning against others, and then defending their actions by claiming that individual or culture to be bad. Lu Xun quotes the diarist and his explanation of societal reasoning perfectly, ?What?s more, as soon as they turn against someone, they?ll say he?s evil anyway? (p. 1922). An ideal example of this situation in current society can be described with the current war with Iraq. The power of the United States can be shown in the initial invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. The United States argued that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were continuing to...

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