Keep calm and love literature
China has been longing to gain a Nobel Prize for several generations now. Finally, we have something to crow about. Mo Yan, a Chinese writer, won the 2012 Nobel Prize of Literature. The Nobel committee appreciated his works as “hallucinatory realism” which perfectly mixed reality with surreal plots.
Interestingly enough, it seems that Chinese people are begrudged to see this. Many heated discussions arose amongst the country about whether a writer that writes within a system of state censorship could produce a masterpiece honorable of the Nobel Prize. Earlier in the year, he even attracted sharp criticism for his relatively close relationship with the Party. Here a fun question arouses: Is the dissidence of an author a necessity for evaluating literature works? In other words, should we judge the value of the works simply because of his Party Affiliation, which is nothing but a personal preference?
In fact, writers have anything but power and force. They depend on the single pen in hand. All writers do is present ideas. The cost is low but the potential influence is huge. If the writers do not cross over the propaganda of any political party, then they rely on personal issues. What is his political status, or what is his view of everything in general, anyway, it is your call to love him or not. Those acerb critics, who claim pursuing the dream of democracy and require everyone to be an anti-establishment hero at the same time, are only running in the opposite direction.
The footstone of democracy, to some extent, is a belief in the weak side of human nature. Because of this belief, we make every effort to protect individual rights, the freedom of speech and the freedom of keeping silence as well. We understand everyone is fragile and lonely; therefore, placing personal interest as the highest priority is nothing to blame. That is human nature; any ignorance of this in the name of democracy is nothing but denial.
As for Mo’s literature works, however, are far from resembling party propaganda. Mo Yan’s latest novel, “Frog”, tells the story of a midwife who has been coerced into forced abortions under China’s one-child policy. In an earlier work of his, “The Republic of Wine”, Yan uses cannibalism as a metaphor for Chinese self-destruction. His works display his ability to balance, to discover and to criticize.
Again, it is your personal choice whether to read a writer or not. What is more, it is up to the reader’s discretion to decide how much they wish to see through the plots and descriptions. The Nobel Prize of Literature is a personal glory for a writer and, will most likely never validate China’s power and culture clout.
Therefore, stop fighting and read what you are interested in. Award the Nobel Inner Peace Prize to yourself, keep calm and simply love literature for what it is.