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Lu Xun’s Use of Humour in “Ah Jin” and “the Secret of Being a Joker”, Research Proposal Example

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Words: 352

Research Proposal

Writing is often times conceptualized as a highly serious intellectual undertaking.  Although there are some writers that take this statement to be a solitary rule for composition, other writers, particularly short story writers, effectively use humor and satire to grab the attention of the reader to make a larger (serious) point about society.  My research paper will look at writers’ diverse use of humour and satire in short stories to achieve different ends: some writers use humor as a device to tamp down the (over) serious content matter of a story; others use absurd satire as a means to show how society has adopted practices that are not consistent with national progress.  The proposed title of my final term paper is: “Revolutionary Humour”, a playful title that draws on writers’ use of humour and satire to change society during the revolutionary era.

For the paper, I plan to focus on two key arguments.  The first key argument revolves around Lu Xun’s use of humour in “Ah Jin” and “The Secret of Being a Joker.”  Lu Xun generally uses literary devices to make a bigger point of society; the use of satire is meant to help readers see the cultural “backwardness” of the country in a more powerful light.  This is one type of humour commonly used in revolutionary texts. The second argument explores the use of humour as a literary device for writing about quotidian occurrences.  Lin Yutang provides several works that use humor to achieve a literary objective that is not necessarily tied up in a larger societal purpose.

Finally, the paper will compare and contrast the use of humour in different works to show how they contributed to the move for change in revolutionary China.  This section will not only draw on textual passages, but also interweave historical vignettes that helps the reader to understand the purpose of humour in these works.

References:

Anderson, M. (1990). Chinese Fiction in the Revolutionary Period.   Berkeley: University of California Press.

Goldman, M. (1977).  Modern Chinese Literature in the May Fourth Movement. Boston: Harvard University Press.

Hsia, C.T. (2013).  C.T. Hsia on Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press

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