In the first diary entry in Lu Xun’s “Diary of a Madman,” the madman references the moon. He writes, “Moonlight ‘s really nice tonight. Haven’t seen it in over thirty years. Seeing it today, I feel like a new man (Lu Xun).” In this passage the moon illuminates many things to the madman. He notices that the Zhao family’s dog is giving him “dirty looks (Lu Xun).” The moon seems to represent his madness, and seems to be present during his most paranoid thoughts. These references to the moon occur throughout the madman’s diary. In the second entry, he writes, “No moon at all tonight- something’s not quite right (Lu Xun).”
Under the moonlight, the madman is able to see the “dirty looks (Lu Xun)” that people (and dogs) give him. The moon (and often times the lack of the moon) seems to intensify the madman’s paranoia, and seems to exacerbate his thoughts of cannibalism. However, he enjoys the night, and is depressed by the day because he studies the night. He writes, “I can never sleep at night. You really have to study something before you can understand it (Lu Xun).” Indeed, in “Diary of a Madman,” the moon plays an important role in bringing out the madman’s paranoia and fear.