Rhinotomy In Y Ha

1293 Words6 Pages
“He shouts, ‘Rhinotomy!’ Then he places a steel saw under his nose with the jagged edges facing towards it. His lips, black as his arms, tremble, which makes one think he is smiling. Then his arms move vigorously, with each movement he shouts desperately ‘Rhinotomy!’ As the jagged edges edge themselves into the nose, fresh blood begins seeping out” (Yu Hua 362). Being persecuted during the Revolution, he is unable to assimilate the terrifying memories into his experience which results in a lingering of his traumatic experience, and only through the practice of masochism can he free himself from the nightmare. Freud defined the term ‘traumatic’ as ‘any excitations from outside which are powerful enough to break through the protective shield’…show more content…
The change of name represents only an external, superficial escape which does not necessarily separate herself from her family history. Though the daughter enjoys the prosperity of the new times, she cannot possibly forget what has happened to her family in the past. As she is constantly reminded by her step father that she should stay at home as to prevent seeing the mad man, she can only peep through the curtain to see the outside world. The gloominess of the house represents the darkness of history while her eagerness to going out symbolises youngsters’ reluctance to face history: “As soon as she pulls up the corner of the window curtain, her mind walks on the road of Spring” (Yu Hua 361). Spring signifies hope, revitalisation and future, which immediately forms a strong contrast with the desperation and darkness of…show more content…
After the ten-year disaster of the Cultural Revolution, things change rapidly and go with the cycle of seasons normally, as if nothing eventful has happened. The blooming of flowers in spring implies the revitalisation of all lives as well as the moving forward of society, which contrasts with the destructive history’s effect on humanity and nature. The onlookers, in disregard of their ages, all rejoice in the warm breeze and appear to have forgotten the Revolution completely. The mad man’s return signifies the existence and the inescapability of history, for he represents a relic and a trauma sufferer of history: “They do not regard it [the mournful music] as a practical joke, they rather take it as humor” (368). In such a prosperous time, mournful music appears to be out of place; similarly, history seems to be outdated with the rapid development of the society. They can only move forward instead of looking back on history. Moreover, the onlookers’ observation of the mad man’s masochism is what truly makes his trauma an isolated business, thus the mad man is being alienated from the majority so as to bear the trauma all by himself. Their indifference to the torture that the mad man inflicted on himself indicates their apathy towards history.
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