Nov 19, 2020 in Literature

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Blood Behind the Open Gates in Sea of Regret

After leaving the house to find out what was happening in the city, Zhongai was surprised on his return to find the double gates wide open. But his surprise was nothing compared to the shock he received when he went inside and found blood everywhere and his parents lying dead on the floor. Shocked out of his senses, he fell over backwards and ended up unconscious on the ground. No one was there to revive him, but after some time he regained consciousness and began wailing with grief. Then, after grieving for some time, he called for the servants, but he received no response. He searched inside and outside the house; the rickshaw man the family employed and both their servants had vanished without a trace, while the family retainer they had brought with them from the south was lying dead in the back court. In the kitchen Zhongai found their maidservant hiding in the woodpile, cowering with fear. When he told her to get up and tell him what had happened, she was trembling too violently to speak.

A group of Boxers got in the gate, I dont know how, she said when she had calmed down sufficiently. They asked the master where he was from, and when he answered Guangdong, they said, Theyre hangers-on, all of them, and killed him. Then the mistress began screaming and they killed her, too. The servants and that rickshaw man tied red turbans around their heads and went off with them. (Wu Jianren, Sea of Regret, 151)

This current passage from Wu Jianrens Sea of Regret starts with the scene near the open gates of Zhongais house. This is also the beginning of the most terrible episode in his life, after which he will probably never return home as always. At the same time, Wu Jianren shows how stringently the Chinese society was built when only the place of living could be a sufficient reason for killing.

The increasing anxiety is fixed on Zhongais crisp image of the double gates wide open (151). This disturbing episode is reinforced in the coming shocking scene with Zhongais dead parents on the floor, where the central phrase is blood everywhere. Wu Jianren intentionally uses such naturalistic words for the diving in the blood tragedy. It is quite obvious that he fell over backwards and ended up unconscious on the ground. No one was there to revive him, but after some time he regained consciousness and began wailing with grief (151). Zhongai stays absolutely alone in both senses of the word; so, he begins wailing, which emphasizes his inhuman condition at that moment. Wu Jianren tries to shock the reader by using the word wailing because it intuitively implies the word howling. Perhaps, the author unites the metaphorical transformation of Zhongai into the beast with the naturalistic, aggressive action of his parents killers.

 
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The author moves through the depth of Zhongais despair, describing it with the next attempts to find someone who was left alive. It seems that no one is here, the rickshaw man the family employed and both their servants had vanished without a trace, while the family retainer they had brought with them from the south was lying dead in the back court (151). The idea of abandonment is disclosed with the minus phrases such as no one was there to revive him and he received no response (151). Then, Wu Jianren gives a chance to Zhongai to receive an explanation about the blood massacre when he found their maidservant hiding in the woodpile, cowering with fear (151). By using the phrase cowering with fear, Wu Jianren describes the situation from the opposite view. Maidservant cannot say any word, she was trembling too violently to speak (151). The idea is that he simply does not know what to do when his maidservant wants nothing to do because of fear. Therefore, Wu Jianren uses different syntactic markers in order to outline how awful the Zhongais despair is.

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In the next passage Zhongai finally discovers what has happened with his parents behind the open gates, in his own house. Maidservant says that a group of Boxers got in the gate (151) and she does not really know how it exactly happened. There is no explanation who these people were, where they came from, or even what they looked like; however, it seems that Zhongai knows who could send the killers. The maidservant does not describe the Boxers and only uses the word group. Therefore, the question arises about the reason why so many people were in the house. One more question about Zhongais place in this history stays open. There is only the reason of killing, the least that Zhongai knows from the transferred short talk between the Boxers and the master: They asked the master where he was from, and when he answered Guangdong, they said, Theyre hangers-on, all of them (151). These were the last words before the death of the master and his wife. This short conversation describes one more time the tragedy and the deadlock situation where Zhongai cannot find any rational explanation. After all, the servants and that rickshaw man tied red turbans around their heads and went off with them (151), says the maidservant. In this manner, the author leaves both Zhongai and the reader with confused thoughts and guesses about the Boxers, hiding maidservant, and all that disturbing chaos that has recently happened in this house.

The dramatic episode of killing of Zhongais parents and maidservants by the Boxers was built by using a cool-headed tone with some contrast words that increased the Wu Jianrens idea of pure despair.

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