Chinese literature writing paper

Length: 750–1,000 words

The goals of this paper are for you to show that you can read a fictional text closely and apply some of the reading techniques we have been learning in this class.

The paper needs to have

1) an argument;

2) include evidence, citing page numbers, from the primary text to support your argument;

3) when using a quote from the story, explain why you think this quote is important;

4) show that you can relate your reading of the primary text to some of the cultural and historical contexts that we have been discussing.

Choose One of the Following Topics:

I.What do you think the message of Lu Xun’s “Diary of a Madman” is? Please analyze both the brief prologue and the main diary entries. Is the text really about cannibalism? Why or why not? How can it be read as an all-out attack on the traditional Confucian society and culture? Does the author see any hope in that society? Please also pay attention to the metaphors and historical examples used in the text.

II.Describe the theme and style of Ding Ling’s “When I Was in Xia Village.” What particular view or position does the story promote? How does the narrator show her sympathy toward Zhenzhen? How does she express her views toward the villagers? Does the story have an open ending? How do you imagine the fate of Zhenzhen after she leaves the village?

III.What do you think Wang Xiaobo’s novella “2015” is really about? Is the world described in the story through the eyes of the narrator rational? Can that world exist in real life? Does the protagonist, the narrator’s Uncle, show any signs of resistance? How does “my” uncle’s sadomasochistic love relationship with the policewoman work as a metaphor for the larger oppressive power relationship described in the story?

IV.What is the story in Mo Yan’s “Explosions”? Does the narrator have a position toward the events described in the story? How does the description of the environment contribute to the development of the story’s theme? Do you like Mo Yan’s style? Why or why not?

V.What is the message of Zhu Tianwen’s “Fin-de-siècle Splendor”? What does the line “the abyssal blue of the lake tells her that the world men have built with theories and systems will collapse” mean? Is the story a celebration of the end of something or the celebration of a new beginning of something? Either way, what is that something?

Please talk to me or your GE if you are unclear about any aspect of the paper.

Grading Rubric:

We will use the following grading rubric (this helps you understand what to think about when writing the paper).

Argument: 1 point (use a strong thesis paragraph that lays out the question you are answering)

Evidence (appropriate choice of quotes/details; analysis of quotes/details): 4 points (choose at least 5 quotes that support your argument; explain why you think these quotes are important)

Content (how much have you learned?): 3 points (define your terms—such as filial piety, causality, karma, fate, Confucianism, Buddhism, etc. as you use them in your paper)

Structure: 1 point (a paper with a strong thesis generally has a strong structure; your ideas should build to a conclusion)

Grammar/spelling: 1 point

Total: 10 points

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