Friday, March 28, 2008

Cannibalism in Families

In Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman, Younger Sister dies when Elder Brother was in charge of the house. Not only does this raise suspicion in the madman’s paranoid state, it also raises concerns that the cannibals have no boundaries. Families are now consuming their own flesh and blood. For this reason, Younger Sister symbolizes how barbaric society can be. We have no concern over family ties.

How many times have you watched the news and seen someone has killed his own brother, or a mother killing her child? This is just the sort of thing the madman is thinking about when he suggests that Younger Sister was eaten. As he says, “If it’s alright to exchange children and eat them, then anyone can be exchanged, anyone can be eaten” (1925). Cannibalism knows no bounds. Families are free to devour one another, and strangers on the streets are allowed to consume other strangers on the streets. Lu Xun’s work highlights the chaos and bleakness in this world. If you just look around, you can observe that we do not live in a utopic society. There is crime and chaos all around, and there is nothing to save us from “cannibalism”.

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