Death as Triple Allegory: Existential Truth, Cultural Reflection, and Historical Authenticity in Yu Hua’s Fiction

By Zhansui Yu

Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, vol. 22, no. 2 (Fall 2010), pp. 231-261

Based on a reading of Yu Hua’s first and influential novel Screaming in the Drizzle, within a theoretical framework of comparison of Western and Chinese views of life and death, the essay explores how Yu Hua manipulates death as triple allegory–existential, cultural, and political–to meditate on the universal human condition and human nature, to revisit and reflect on traditional Chinese values and views of life and death, and to expose the social reality and people’s mentality in a totalitarian regime. Taking Yu Hua as an example, the essay also sheds some light on the complicated and intertwined relationship of Chinese avant-garde fiction with Chinese tradition.