As the first Chinese citizen to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mo Yan shows how a writer in a socialist country successfully internalizes censorship. Censorship in China is part of Mo Yan’s professional and psychic environment and generates two major results in his works, one being hallucination and the other being paranoia. Based on Mikhail Bakhtin’s argumentation, this essay studies four sorts of paranoiac characters in Mo Yan’s novels: innocent fools, tricksters, rogues, and cranks. It is through these masked fools that Mo Yan is able to apply “hallucinatory realism” to depict the unspeakable reality of life in contemporary China. Writers always have the inclination to challenge the parameters of life in various aspects and play against censorship, but due to ideological reasons, censors in China focus more on political issues than on moral ones, and consequently in Mo Yan’s works there is an obvious prioritization of morality over ideology. In challenging morality, Mo Yan appeals to sexual and sensual morality in unique ways, which in part serves as a mask—the political masquerading as paranoia—so as to cover his political point of view. This essay aims to unmask his characters so as to reveal the political disposition that buttresses his works.
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Wang Jinghui; Hallucination and Madness: The Impact of Censorship on Mo Yan’s Writing. the minnesota review 1 May 2014; 2014 (82): 97–110. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00265667-2412910
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