Sinking by Yu Dafu: Analysis of the Protagonist

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Published in 1921, Sinking is a well-known story written by Yu Dafu. This work of literature is recognized as one of the initial psychological narrations in the history of contemporary Chinese fiction as it explores the experiences and the thoughts of a single individual. Its importance in the Chinese fictional history is perceived in its fundamentally new focus on the individual and intensely subjective psyche of an individual character. Clearly, the story focuses on the internal conflicts of the character and how he feels about the external environment including the government. Essentially, the main theme in this story is nationalism since it focuses more on how the character feels about the society by highlighting the incompetence of the government. In this regard, this paper shall analyze the character of the protagonist and how his character influences the whole story as well as how it defines the theme of the story. Particularly, the focus shall be on the scene at the school where the protagonist isolates himself from the other students. First, the protagonist in this story is not named. He remains merely an unnamed “He.” Most importantly, this character seems totally alienated both from the society and women. The story begins with the protagonist alienation prompted by profound feeling loneliness which overwhelms his person. His alienation is manifested when the author says, “Lately he had been feeling pitiful lonesome…his emotional precocity had placed him at close odds with fellow men…” (Yu 44). Here, the author introduces us to the protagonist’s world. In this world, he is isolated from the society and is completely in a world of his own. With

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