A Deranged World through Structural Disarray: The Power of Narrative in 1980s Chinese Fiction


China under Maoist totalitarian extremity is a deranged world. In literary works by critically acclaimed authors Yu Hua, Can Xue and Chen Chun, the nightmarish reality is represented through narration strictly through the viewpoint of the male or female protagonists. In Yu Hua’s story, the teenage protagonist is an individual with the mental disorder of persecution complex. His delusive mind stages the April 3rd incident whereby he suspects that his family members, friends and neighbors conspire to harm him. Can Xue’s schizophrenic female character lives in Kafkaesque paranoia. She fears the sound of shutting the desk drawers because, to her, it is just as threatening as the rainstorm splashing against the windows. Chen Chun’s male protagonist is physically impaired and paralyzed from waist down. Since he works in a factory for physically and mentally challenged individuals, the “abnormal” perspectives of those social outcasts on reality become metaphors for the world of distortion and disintegration. In terms of literary form and structure, the artistic representation of that world of menace is achieved through the deray of fictional time. The chronological storylines are disturbed and shattered. The narrative sequences become anachronic fragments. The disorderly time not only mirrors the confusion and disorientation of mind of each protagonist; but also reflects the madness and chaos of an era when extreme suppression rules.

Author Information
Xiaoping Song, Norwich University, USA

Paper Information
Conference: LibEuro2015
Stream: Literature - Asian Literature

This paper is part of the LibEuro2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon