Literacy and Liberty

visiting a memorial
Posted by: , October 3, 2018, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I visited former home of Lu Xun in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province during summer. Reading articles of Lu Xun is a literature event that every middle school student has to go through; however, at that age I was so confused about his words and always had a hard time understanding his spirits.


Lu Xun is the pioneer who called for an end to old customs and ideas and led new cultural movement in the situation of Chinese society being self-isolated and feudal. After he watched educational film of the Japanese-Russian War, he made his mind to step into the field of literature while realizing his major of medicine could not help Chinese out. He chose to use pens to against guns from then.

During the visit I recalled that his book mentioned on the desk in the old-style private school he went to, he engraved the word “早”, which means “early” in English. However, I noticed his house is in fact quite closed to school, about 50 meters. Someone explained to me that Lu Xun had to take care of his sick father while helping mother dealing with housework, and was always on the run from pawnshop to hospital. Once upon a time he was tardy and scold by teacher, he engraved “early” on his desk to remind himself.

When I returned home I decided to reread those books by him from middle school. I was trying to refresh my memory so badly. Those dusty books, with messy notes on, gave me new understanding of this great man. One quote from him has now become one of my standards: “The brave man would go against strong if he is angry; Only timid man would go against the weak if he is angry”.

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Julie, thank you for sharing this post, which taught me a lot. How do you enact that concluding standard in your life, and how do you think your take on that standard differs from/lines up with how your peers in China think about Lu Xun?

   Professor Seiler 10.08.18 @ 2:25 pm

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