The topic of oppression and anti-oppression is supposed to be serious, but in this play, the playwright made good use of the tricks of comedy, and wittily satirized the unfair social reality in a humorous way. However, I can see there is still hope cherished in the playwright’s heart, because the protagonists cooperated and won in the end, even though his friend didn’t have the luck of “[meeting] someone as full of compassion as the woman in this play (Kiln Ding, 48)” and resist the oppression together.
The miserable ending of his friend is changed in this play. That’s where I see hope. I Introduction The play Oppression is dedicated to Ding’s friend Shush Lie. The story is originated from an anecdote that happened to him, but with a better ending, though. This is a Tory about renting a house. The male tenant is searching for a place to live in. The mistress accepted his deposit but the madam wouldn’t agree, because he is single. The two argue and fail to settle, so the madam goes for a police officer. A woman arrived to find shelter before the officer.
The two tenants sympathized with each other, and decided to pretend to be a couple and get the house rented. Thus the oppressed won the dispute. I An introduction of the playwright and his opinion on comedy Kiln Ding is an outstanding playwright who is specialized in comedy in the first few decades of the 20th century. Distinguished himself from the vulgar farces that prevails in those days, Ding has created his own unique style thus made more reasonable interpretation about the way comedy should be like. In his opinion, comedy should be rational.
It must be able to arouse the readers’/audiences’ reflection on the practical issues. After reading a good comedy script, the readers are supposed to be led up to meaningful afterthoughts along with a knowing smile, rather than merely empty laughter. Instead of the commonly used technique of exaggeration or grandstand Jokes dragged into the text, he prefers the exquisite and analytical style of writing. His one-act plays are generally with simple plot and contain no sharp conflicts. Nevertheless, he is able to master the comic points and thereon form core scenario.
The key point is on the comic contradictory relation between the protagonists and their facetious characters. Between the lines, we are able to detect his favor of mild satirized on the way of the world, as well as his pursuit of harmonious rationality. Ii An introduction of the sass mainstream comedy Since the May 4th Movement, the modern drama in china was deeply influenced by Henries Ibsen problem play (King Xx, 21). The mainstream of the early drama emphasized social, political and educational functions.
For a long time drama was used to call for social revolution. While comedies back in those days are empty and bombastic. The works of Ding has injected new vitality to this circle, perfecting his own perspective with ease. In his work you can catch a glimpse of the blame of social evil, but the dramatic art itself is the thing he is more cared for. The Oppression is endowed with some sort of social meaning, even though Ding claimed in the preface that it “is a mere flight of fancy’ and “concerns no ‘issue of the day or ‘moral lesson’ to e learned”. Ii My interpretation of this play 1) The idea the playwright want to convey It is a tragedy that Shush died a nasty death, but Ding wrote a comedy in memory of him. It seems not amenable to reason even inhumane. Nevertheless, it is in this way that the work embodies his distinctive interpretation on life. He is an optimist. Despite all those unreasonable even unfair rules that flooded the world, he is not desperate. In his works, he rewrote the fate of Shush, and in this work, the wit and uncompromising struggle of the protagonists are more emphasized than the hindering forces and negative emotions.
The man and the woman are the representatives of new emerging and progressive forces. They are deeply influenced by the new idea and are not afraid of fighting for what they deserve, and in the end they won an encouraging victory. That’s why I say there is hope 2) The tricks I identified in this play In this script, Ding’s good sense of humor and slight satire runs through the story, no matter in the plot or in the dialogue. The arrangement on the development of the story is also ingenious, with a natural opening, two climaxes separated by a natural transition, and a witty ending.
The characters of the protagonists are also humorous, even the setting and the weather background are meaningful. In the next few paragraphs I will talk about this in detail. II The sense of humor and satire embodied in the play I The conflict between the mistress and the madam The conflict between the mistress and the madam is the precipitating factor that induced this whole incident. This conflict is not directly displayed here, but is brought about through the gossip of the elderly maid. According to the maid, “madam loves playing mahjong’s” and leaves “the young mistress at home”.
When money comes to see the rooms, the young mistress would reject the ones with a wife or kids, “since she only agree to rent to a bachelor”. But the madam wouldn’t accept a bachelor and would “send him away immediately’. It is an amusing plot, the long-standing disagreement has fooled many potential tenants, and now the man is another victim, but with a more complicated situation because the young mistress “has taken matters into her own hands”. I could not help laughing when I read about the maid half complaining half teasing: “At this rate, I think these rooms will remain unreadable for the next decade, never mind the past year.
She is worried about this situation, about the unruly mistress and her stubborn madam, yet she can not do anything about it, maybe because she is Just a servant (she could even not decide to cook or not). So she could only complain to the man, who is actually still “a stranger”. In these few words, the unruly mistress who is longing for love, the headstrong madam who has a very federal way of thinking, and the loquacious elderly maid who finds this situation funny and annoying are all presented before the reader.
And the amusement is between the lines. Ii The dispute between the madam and the male tenant The dispute between the landlady and the man is also very funny. At the time the quarrel begins, mind that Ding intentionally noted in parentheses: MAN (cheerfully). I find this really laughable; the imagination of the scene made me couldn’t stop laughing. The protagonist is such a bad boy. He deliberately infuriated the landlady yet he is not sorry about it, instead he is cheerful. What a little devil! Ii The encounter between the male and the female tenant After the man and the women encountered and talked a little, the man recognized that the woman is a rival and responded to her inquiry “heartlessly’ by telling her hat “you are fresh out luck-?this place has Just been rented out”. But later when he learned about the plight of the woman, he decided to give up the rooms and let her own it. This contrast makes the image of the man very lively and adorable. The deliberately added “rival” and “heartlessly’ revealed the childlike side of the man and makes me feel amusing. V The wit in the dialogue The dialogue is essential to a drama. It is the main tool used to show the characters of the people involved. The successful dialogue should not only be amusing but also meaningful; making the readers laugh at the moment the read about it as well as hen they later reflect on it. Take the dialogue between the man and the woman for example. “I’ll give the police officer a thorough beating and get myself hauled off to the police station. Then I’ll get the landlady to rent this place to you. That way, we’ll both have places to live. ” The man replied this way when the woman asked what is he planning to do.
The words are very funny. The man must be a really optimistic person since he could Joke like that even in such bitter circumstances. Of course he didn’t mean to settle the problem in this way; he Just said these words to orally vent his anger. But it do sounds very laughable. Another example is the suggestion the woman put forward: “how about letting me be your wife? “. Unlike the man’s infeasible solution, this is a truly workable one. However, the woman said that without any fore- sign. So let’s say we are shocked. And shocked is exactly the thing Ding wanted the readers/audiences to be.
The sentence with merely seven words made a sub-climax, ingeniously and successfully. Ill The ingenious arrangement on the development of the story I The natural opening Since the plot of an one-act drama must be completed in one act, it is required to aka it quick: no foreshadowing, no detailed explaining of the background of the characters, no step by step setting of the atmosphere, everything has to contribute to the showing some aspects of the characters or help to understand the whole story. The Oppression started with the male tenant coming to get accommodation.
It is very ingenious to have the landlady out, leaving an elderly maid home. If the two meet immediately, the conflict will have to become acute, and it is unwise to put the climax right in the front. This arrangement leaved time for the necessary narrates: in the asking between the maid and the man, the incentive of the conflict is showed to the readers. What is more, the characters of the man and the landlady are showed. Ii The first climax of the story When the protagonist meet the anti-protagonist, the conflict is bound to sharpen after the two have made clear their attitude because of the inextricable disagreement between them.
The man has a quick wit and a silver tongue, and is bold with Justice on his side: his deposit was accepted. The landlady is no way an easily compromising type: she holds that she owns the house and it is her right to decide whether to allow the man move in or not. The two are both “eccentric” and no one of them would give in. When the landlady sent the maid to ask for a police officer, the story reaches the first climax. We all start to wonder what would happen when the police officer interfere. Iii The second climax of the story The police officer couldn’t arrive immediately.
So there is supposed to be an interval after the first climax. However, unexpectedly, Ding did otherwise and introduced the entrance of another protagonist: the female tenant. The two tenants started to talk, in which we get to know something about the woman’s character: frank, polite and rood of her Job-?a representative of the new generation who has get rid of the bound of federal thought. Also, we realized she is also searching for a place to live in, which made it reasonable when the two “landless proletariat[s]” decide to “unite and resist” the “propertied classes” together.
It is hard to tell explicitly where the second climax is reached: when the man asks “are you married or single”? When the woman says “how about letting me be your wife”? Or when the two are pretending as a couple, trying to deceive the police officer and the landlady? It seems that in this part there are many sub-climaxes. All of them are very surprising and amusing. Iv The trick of the ending In the end of the drama, the man asked a question that should be asked long before. And because of this unasked information, they almost give the game away.
The question makes the readers review the whole process of the plot development: two strangers who have Just know each other less than an hour, united and defeated the aggressive landlady who is backed up by a police officer. When the readers come across this idea, they will break into laughter. This ending have enhanced the sense of humor and led up to meaningful afterthoughts. IV The character of the irritations and anti-protagonist As he said himself, the man is eccentric in character. So is the landlady.
The landlady is deeply influenced by federal thoughts; she dominates in the house because she is the landlady, the mother, and the master. Because of the traditional ethic ideals rooted in her mind, she wouldn’t let her daughter live in the same household with a single man, hence the conflict arises. As to the man, he is also a stubborn person, but is more progressive in mind. Once he firmly believes something, he would stick to his principle and not compromise, unlike most of the Chinese people who are biophysicist and would do anything to avoid conflicts. In this sense, he is eccentric.
The woman didn’t enter until the first climax ended, but it doesn’t mean she is not important. The character of the woman is also very distinctive; it was revealed in the talk between her and the rest. First of all, she is independent. She is very proud of her Job and talked nothing about her family, from which we can tell she is a person who relies on herself rather than her family. Secondly, she is very outspoken and kind-hearted, because she talked so much to a stranger and felt relate to him about is being unfairly treated in renting a house. Finally, she is very clever.
She is the one who came up with the ideal of pretending a couple, and was very clever in responding the inquiry of the police officer. V The function of the setting and the minor characters I The function of the setting in the house and the weather Let us have a close look at the setting in the first paragraph: “a square table surrounded by four small chairs”, “a kerosene lamp and a tea service, a side table with two chairs”, “a washstand with a mirror on a small table”, “a clock and a flower vase”, “everything is simple and economical”. This suggests that the landlady herself is no big landlords; instead she is Just a middle class.
This further suggests that the conflict is between landless proletariat and the moderately propertied classes. In the second paragraph, the man’s dressings are depicted: “high leather boots and a western-style suit of heavy woolen cloth”. As we know the way one dresses reflects the mind of him: old-fashioned or modern. Obviously the man is a modern type, at least not conservative; otherwise he would be dressed in long gown. The weather is also a key factor in the drama. Were it not for the rain, the woman would not tutorial break in and stay there after the man tells her there is no vacancy left.
There is an old saying in China: When the host wouldn’t ask for the guest to stay, the weather would. It is a perfect context to use this idiom. Ii The function of the elderly maid The elderly maid in this play is kind of an information provider. The man, as well as the readers, gets lots of useful information from her. Her obedience to her madam also reflects the character of the landlady: dominative, aggressive, and conservative. In spite of being a minor character, her character is also vivid. Ding successfully built n unvalued elder woman full of complaint, which is typical in China back in those days.
It is an image that all readers and audiences are familiar with, making it easier for the readers to relate to the work as well as making the story more close to life. Iii The function of the police officer When the landlady first threatened to ask for a police officer, we readers are terrified somehow. We begin to worry that the man might be violently treated. But when the police officer is really here, his careless attitude and the way he muddles through his work became a vivid contrast. His attitude made the landlady have to give in, since ere strong backer is suggesting otherwise.
Were it not for the police officer, who is dragged here from mahjong’s playing by the maid and is eager to go back to the game again, the landlady would not have agreed so easily. Old-fashioned Chinese people always dare not disobey the officers; the landlady is, of course, no exception. VI the Socio-historical and literary function of this play Oppression was completed in the winter of 1925, Sheen Hong appraise it as the only masterpiece in that period (89). The peculiar comic style, exquisite arrangement of plots as well as the humorous and meaningful dialogue has infused new energy to he circle of drama.
Some critics criticize it as shallow in contents and failed to deeply expose social evil (Liana Pet, 114-115). It is true that the matter that is reflected in Oppression is no significant social problem. However, Judging from the Chinese drama circle in preliminary stage, we are able to find the value of Oppression. The roughly made problem dramas prevail, so rough that they can hardly be called drama script. Just pages of dialogue, short of artistic touch, they are miles away from real drama. The works of Ding stood out among the crude, puerile flood of works, and as become a good model for others to study from.