National Dementia: Memory as a Metaphor in “Azaleas Wept Blood”


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Essay #: 065007
Total text length is 5,054 characters (approximately 3.5 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
National Dementia: Memory as a Metaphor in “Azaleas Wept Blood”
This paper will examine Liu Ta-jen’s story “Azaleas Wept Blood” and, in particular, how this story makes use of physical memory as a metaphor for history. The thesis will be argued that in this story we see the traumas of the history of the Communist Party of China – from the purges of the 1930s to the Cultural Revolution – represented as a form of “national dementia.” It will be shown how the author represents the repression (and recovery) of memory as a metaphor for the political repression of the People’s Republic of China and, implicitly, of modern Taiwan as well.
The story relates how Dr. Hu comes to China from America in search of his long-lost aunt – Leng Feng – whom he...
The end:
..... its story of how she ate the heart of her lover in the 1930s.
Dr. Hu is left wondering what he can believe, as the horrific story sounds true, yet he questions how a woman who could do such a thing could be broken into insanity by the Red Guards.
“Azaleas Wept Blood” can be read, it may be argued, as suggesting that – as in cases of dementia or Alzheimer’s – it may be impossible to recover the truth of history in the case of modern China as so many people are complicit in its suppression. In fact, it is suggested that even Western-educated seekers of the truth such as Dr. Hu may themselves be guilty of a similar editing of history as took place in China.
Liu Ta-jen. “Azaleas Wept Blood.” Translated by Nicholas Koss.