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NYU Experiences of Chinese People Journal Entry Paper

One journal entry

The readings of this week appeared controversial and politically charged, dismantling some of the core values of Chinese society. Topics such as herbal medicine, Confucianism vs. Socialism, and the values of food were all discussed and revealed as common focuses of Lu Xun’s writings. Herbal medicine was depicted in “Medicine” as somewhat threatening and ineffective in my opinion, revealing the ghastly nature of some traditions and then their unfruitful result. The harvesting of such treatments is somewhat unrealistic and difficult, especially when blood of another human is involved, such as in “Medicine.” The lack of scientific basis for such a practice (consuming another person’s blood is in fact harmful) and the difficulty of harvest, as discussed in “Traditional Medical Values of Food,” both show that such a practice may be heavily symbolic but potentially not healthy nor safe. I found the writings of Lu Xun to be daring and bold, especially given the nature in which they challenged societal norms of the time. Lu Xun made his opinion on herbal medicine and socialist class standards known through the symbolism of his stories, which I found revealing and wellintegrated into the story lines. In “Medicine,” I felt a compelling fear and distaste for the treatment received by Old Shuan, the bun and its red symbolism was heavily graphic and gave the reader an element of surprise and shock. I found that the ending too was significant and might have spoken to Lu Xun’s anti-Confucianism beliefs since all men of the family were absent from the burial traditions. I believe this may have spoken to one, the danger of over- utilizing men in a Confucian society, where sons and males are often given the sole responsibilities of providing for families. Secondly, it showed the competency of women to continue on traditions and familial duties after the men had gone.


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