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Kong Yiji, Diary of a Madman by Lu Xun

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Kong Yiji, Diary of a Madman by Lu Xun describe the tragedy that generated by the old traditional Chinese civil exam to the low social rank scholar, and the unconcerned and indifferent between human relationship in a feudal society during monarchy period. Kong Yiji was a despaired scholar who was unable to pass the civil exam. He was “the only customer in a long gown (page 43)” in the bar. Everyone mocked him for his failure on the exam. Although he was mentally hurt, he still showed his arrogant and stubbornness to these uneducated people. Like his long gown, it was dirty and toned but Kong Yiji always wore it in the public. It represents his self-esteem because without it, no one realized he was a scholar but only knew that he was lazy and useless. Kong Yiji only concentrated on the books and he was not able to accept new ideas. He stole books to read while told people that “the purloining of volumes cannot be counted as theft (page 44)”. Kong YIji’s concept was distorted due to the cruel system of imperial examination and hidebound traditional education.

However, Kong Yiji still had a kind personality compared to other Chinese. He often gave the children “some of his bean (page 46)”. On the other, none of others had felt misfortunate for him because they only teased and insult him. Everyone seemed not to show any sympathy to Old Kong, instead they rubbed salt in his wound by mocking his failure on the civil exam. Even the narrator, a twelve years old boy, was disrespectful to Kong Yiji. After Kong was caught by stealing, he was beaten and broke his leg. The manager only remembered that he still owned nineteen coppers and did not express a pity to Kong. One day, Kong appeared in the bar again, but this time, he wore “a raggedy old jacket (page 47)”. He had crawled his way to the bar. The last dignity of Kong was completely vanished. He did not defend himself with the classical Chinese phrase as people laughed at him. After that, Kong Yiji had never shown in the bar. Through the passage, Lu Xun had revealed the darkness of the society and the tragic fate of the scholar who failed the civil service exam. Relationships between the people are frigid. Individual barely concerned towards other who were desperate for help. Also, the pedantry scholars were suffering. These tragedies were caused by a feudal and merciless society.

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