Trauma, Memories of “the Cultural Revolution” and Illness as a Literary Device: On the Writing of Madness in Lin Jinlan’s “Five Dollar Coin” in Ten Cases of Hysteria in Ten Years and Yu Hua’s “The Year 1986”
Keywords:林斤瀾《十年十癔》, 余華《一九八六年》, 瘋癲, 疾病修辭, “文革”創傷記憶, Lin Jinlan’s Ten Cases of Hysteria in Ten Years, Yu Hua’s “The Year 1986”, Madness, illness as a literary device, traumatic memories of “the Cultural Revolution”
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
This paper discusses two novels from the mid-1980s, Lin Jinlan’s “Five Dollar Coin” in Ten Cases of Hysteria in Ten Years and Yu Hua’s “The Year 1986.” It uses madness as a literary device to interpret the traumatic memories of the Cultural Revolution; firstly, by employing the psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan and others, this paper discusses how the traumatic memories of the Cultural Revolution are disguised as symptoms of madness, in which different symptoms contain their own features as a literary device. While Lin Jinlan employs “five” as a symbol to represent the Cultural Revolution’s traumatic memories, Yu Hua reproduces the atmosphere of denouncements during the Cultural Revolution through delusional madness. Secondly, this paper shows the causes of the symptoms, which are the traumatic experiences of two madmen. The paper also illustrates the individual symptoms that are linked to the historical and ideological setting of the Cultural Revolution, in order to reveal the disorder and absurdity of that period of time. Finally, this paper examines the inherent belatedness of the symptoms of madness using Cathy Caruth’s idea of trauma, in order to explore the significance of this madness writing in terms of the narrative of the Cultural Revolution.
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