Gao Xingjian Buying Fishing Rod for My Grandfather

Gao Xingjian a Chinese-born author of a number of literature and artworks. His effort was rewarded in 2000 when he emerged the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. However, at this time, he had changed his citizenship to French.  After migrating to France in 1987, Gao Xingjian was constitutionally legible for French citizenship in 1997. Gao Xingjian was born in 1940 and survived the Word War I to become a renowned playwright, novelist, and critic writer. Gao is also a celebrated painter, stage director, translator, and screenwriter. Although globally recognized for his magnificent contribution in art work, painting, and literature, Gao is least celebrated in his native country, China (Xingjian 56-7). The Chinese-born writer contributed to the world of painting and novel through his pieces of writing and painting works that still embrace until today. However, this study will only analyze two of his great works; “The Accident” and “Buying Fishing rod for my Grandfather”.

“The Accident” by Gao Xingjian is purely about a traffic accident on the China’s streets that occurred just right outside electronic repair shop. Xingjian commences by describing the cause of this fatal accident involving a cyclist and a bus colliding head-on. With the street full of pedestrians, the cyclist try to force his way out the road for the speeding and horning business and cars to pass only for the bus to ran on the rider, crushing him to death on the sport. This happens following the break failure despite efforts by the driver to bring the bus to a stop. Interestingly, when the cyclist sensed danger, he opted to save his son who was carried on the baby carriage by pushing the baby carrier off his bicycle. The man was ran over by the wheels of the bus beyond recognition while the innocent baby survived the nightmare without incurring any damage. After upon arrival of the police to the accident scene, the little baby was rushed to the nearby hospital for further medical examination (Xingjian 79). The author Xingjian uses his creativity to show how tragedies and misfortunes like this accident emotional and psychologically affect us. The evening death of the cyclist in the road accidents in front of many pedestrians touches on the lives of many. The evening event on the street of China attracts a large crowd, thus showing the level of creativity of the author through introducing scenes that are touching.

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In “The Accident”, the author demonstrate some of the main Chinese cultures by highlighting the responsibilities and duties a Chinese soon owes to his father. With the dominance of the “One Child” policy in China, male children are valued over the female children. For this reason, the author tries to emphasize on the cultural values of boys in the Chinese society, and therefore, the death of a son would be a major setback to the society at large (Xingjian 77-9). The author, Xingjian, therefore uses the road accident to outline the social problems facing the Chinese government. In particular, Xingjian identifies the dead of the cyclists to expose the weak traffic control regulations in China with the faster population growth rate.

The Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather is a collection of stories written during the 1990s. The story by Gao Xingjian focuses on the past experiences of the Chinese culture and way of life by using a little boy watching football. In this titular story, a grandfather who has been using homemade fishing rods made from bamboo is bought for fancy fiberglass fishing stick ( Xingjian 43). This news fishing rod is beautiful and making the narrator to flashback his young age when he and the grandfather used to fish together. The village that the narrator was brought up in as a child has drastically changed to the extent that even tracing the streets is a problem to the narrator. In particular, the narrator identified the lake where he and the grandfather often fished together as no more with creeks of dry valley as the only living evidence of the old prestigious lake that provided source of living to many. All these past reflections and memories happen when the narrator sits back in his home city watching football on the television. The wife of the narrator gets annoyed with the valueless and expensive for nothing fancy fishing rod bought as all the finishing waters had tried up, hence no fishing place in the home city ( Xingjian 45). However, this sophisticated fishing rod is just but an attempt by the narrator to recall his past experiences that also serves as an offering to his late grandfather as a replacement to his grandfather’s bamboo fishing road that he happen to have broken during his boyhood. According to the author, Gao, this story brings out unmoored sense for the loss of purpose and meaning of barreling to the future, thus paving the old and conservative nature of live for modernity’s sake ( Xingjian 76-9). The author uses this story to identify the changes that have taken place in the society and the contribution of modernity to these socio-cultural changes, hence loss of traditional values and heritage that were at one point valued and worshipped.





Works Cited

 Xingjian, Gao. Buying a Fishing Rod for my Grandfather (Fast Fiction). HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.

Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature, Part2: Faulkner-kipling. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007. Print.

Xingjian, Gao. “The Accident.” The Story and its Writer (7th Ed). Ed… Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007. Print.

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