The May fourth causes and happenings
The May fourth movement is a period in China’s history that was characterized by political unrest and demonstration in streets mainly caused by students in protest of the nature of political instability and governmental failure towards protection of China’s sovereignty and its people. These protests took place in the year 1919 and were China’s movement towards democracy and change in political system that saw control brought to the masses and away from a few people in power. It also saw the abolishment of traditional systems that had influenced the negative political situations and resulted to the adoption of modern western notions. The old traditional ways were blamed for the weakness in political systems in the country and this necessitated for a new cultural movement.
As a result of involvement in the world war one, Germany had some of control of parts of china such as Shandong and which they had to give back to the people of China, however, poor political will and support resulted to the rights of this place given to the Japanese government. The government at the time was on the hands of war lords who only looked after their own political interests and gains and disregarded the well being of the people. Due to the fact that china had been involved in the world war after allying with the German forces, they expected to reclaim their territories but as a result of political determination in reclaiming these territories, they lost them to the Japanese government (May Fourth Movement (1919), 2014).
This lack of proper negotiations fuelled the movement and led to the uprising which was revolutionary at the time because it saw great changes in the political systems of the time. Lu Xun was a man of literature from china who was involved in creating much influence over the May fourth movement. His literal work paved way for the movement though great influences that resulted to much support by communist regimes. One of his most influential works is the dairy of a mad man.
This was influential because of the fact that it brought out the aspect of corruption and exploitations of the Chinese people by each other. It explained cultural values of the past as evil that was causing self destruction of the Chinese people. It also emphasized the need to develop changes in values that would see development and modernization. This essay is therefore very important because it will try and analyse the May fourth happenings and relate them to the works of Lu Xun. It will examine the various aspects of Lu Xun’s work, most notably the “Diary of a Man” and compare the writings to the nature of the Chinese nation at the time. It will also explain the various ways that his writings created influence over the Chinese people through the use of satire to paint a clear picture of the need for revolution.
The nature of the Chinese nation (corruption and greed)
The May fourth movement was mainly initiated by university students that took to the streets to protest against the lack of consideration of Chinese people’s interests after the world war one. These were learned people that had knowledge and information about proper political systems and governance which was lacking in China at the time. This movement was also a move towards modernisation of the Chinese nation through development in politics, art literature and philosophy and at the same time leave behind the old traditional ways that were mostly tainted with corruption and greed. The traditional ways were lagging the country behind and facilitated domination of the nation by western countries such as Germany as well as Japan. Japan had even acquired a section of Chinese territories through corrupt ways. these factors created the need for the new culture movement that involve a complete change in regime from the old hierarchical and traditional regimes to new and more democratic regimes which gave power to the people (May Fourth Movement (1919), 2014).
The significance of literature and foreign experience in influencing the movement
The development in literature as well as philosophy had a big hand in the revolution. Many young Chinese had studied abroad as a result of several educational programs. This was influential because they would bring back new ideas about change and development into the country. This also influenced the Chinese literal work that exerted much influence for the movement. Lu Xun is an example.
He studied in Japan and used the knowledge he learned there to help the Chinese people. His main hopes were to influence change involving modernization and reduction of exploitation of the Chinese people by each other (THE MAY 4TH MOVEMENT, 2014). The movement saw the emergence of a generation of intellectuals that greatly rejected the old traditional Chinese ways and adopted new cultural values that were characterized by democratic values and political development as well as public considerations in the political scene.
Lu Xun’s influence on the May fourth movement
The May fourth movement was a form of revolution that mainly changed the cultural beliefs of the people of china. The inspirations made by Lu Xun’s literature on the university students influenced the whole movement. The writings of the diary of a madman explain aspects of people turning against each other and this aspect is clear in the case of china where there was little control from the government and everything left in hands of warlords. The country’s sovereignty was at risk because of this state and the country’s development was receding. There was great need for change.
Lu Xun’s educational background and experience in other countries developed the need for influencing change in his home country. Other countries mainly western countries as well as Japan were exerting dominion over china. A line in the writings say, “if you don’t change you may all be eaten by each other” (Madman, 2014). His use of literature mainly through the use of satire greatly reflects on the people’s actions that turned against the government for a better future. The use of cannibalism in the diary of a madman is very symbolic in the depiction of corruption and wrong doings by the people on each other.
Comparison of Lu Xun’s literal work with the Chinese situation
This is a clear example of the social characteristic of the people of China. The corruption and exploitation was in the country was at all time high. The old ways were reducing the country into a failed state. The writing relates the Confucian nature of the country’s social characteristics to the acts of cannibalism that haunted the mad man.
Lu Xun’s great use of satire greatly brings out the need for development and progression to a brighter future away from the corrupt and negative ways of the old traditional values. The need for change was very high because in the writings, lack of change would result to everyone eating each other and this was related to the real status of the country where, lack of change the old traditional political systems would see the country in great demise and in the hands of other nations ready to exploit it for their own gain (Madman, 2014).
The aspect of morality as well as virtue is greatly compared between the writings and the real China. The use of cannibalism to develop a clear picture of the real situation is very important in the creation of influence on the people of china. Old traditional Confucian values and virtues were putting the country at risk of obliteration. The writings of Lu Xun were therefore very instrument in painting a clear picture to the people of china and greatly related to their situation cause by poor political strength and support to the people.
Apart from this, the government had little control over situations in the country and control was in the hands of corrupt warlords that only seeked their own political systems. Also the country was on a backward progression as far as development was concerned. All these factors infuriated the masses and resulted to the movement initiated by university students from all over the country who protested against the current political situate. The movement was too big that it became a cultural movement which disregard the old traditions ways and encouraged the new culture characterized by democracy and positive development.
Lu Xun, a man of literature from china had a great hand in the movement. His literal works greatly influenced the movement. The writings depicted aspects of the nature of the corrupt government in a satirical manner that related to the people. His writings, “The diary of a mad man”, use cannibalism to depict the nature of corruption by individual citizens that was affecting the country. His writings also showed the great need for change. The writings express the need for change by showing how people would end up feeding on each other in case no action was taken.
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