Hometown is a very nice story describing Lu Xun's hometown. The story is one of Lu Xun's brighter stories and truly enjoyable. If you missed the introduction to Lu Xun, then follow this link to An Introduction to Lu Xun.
Gùxiāng故乡 was published in May 1921 in New Youth (新青年 Xīn Qīngnián). After moving to Běijīng in 1912, Lǔ Xùn lived in the Shàoxīng club for a number of years. The Shàoxīng club was a hostel for those of similar geographic origins to live. In 1919, Lǔ Xùn purchased a large family compound for his family and his two brothers' families in Běijīng. This story is about his trip back to Shàoxīng to sell the old family compound. Upon arriving in his hometown, Lǔ Xùn sees a place little different from the one he left behind twenty years prior. The town is still a barren place with little signs of progress. However, at the slight mention of his childhood friend, Rùntǔ, Lǔ Xùn becomes nostalgic. He remembers the time his family was in charge of the large sacrifice for their clan's ancestors and how they hired Rùntǔ's father to help out. Lǔ Xùn and Rùntǔ became immediate friends and Lǔ Xùn was fascinated by Rùntǔ's stories. Since Lǔ Xùn spent all his days inside the family compound studying the classics, Rùntǔ provided stories of a life Lǔ Xùn knew nothing about. Stories about trapping birds, guarding watermelons, fighting cha, and collecting shells by the shore. Their childhood friendship proved hard to rekindle thirty years later. The wall between intellectual and farmer had grown and Lǔ Xùn found it hard to open up and share stories of the past with his friend. The past decades had been hard on Rùntǔ. Whether it be bandits, officials, or famine, something was always creating obstacles for Rùntǔ and making life difficult for him. The day before the lunar new year Rùntǔ and others come to see Lǔ Xùn off as he sells their family home in Shàoxīng to prepare for their future in Běijīng. Lǔ Xùn lets Rùntǔ have his choice of his family's belongings and Rùntǔ asks for the incense holder and candlesticks. While Lǔ Xùn slightly chuckles because Rùntǔ still worships idols, he can't help but wonder whether his own hope for a better future is any different. His hope for better opportunities for his nephew and Rùntǔ's son to be able to stay friends as they get older. He hopes there will be better opportunities for his nephew and Rùntǔ's son and that they can remain friends as they grow older. His hope is no more tangible than the idols Rùntǔ worships. Rùntǔ is based on an actual peasant from an area near Shàoxīng. His real name was 章运水 (Zhāng Yùnshuǐ) and the character Rùntǔ appears in several other pieces of Lǔ Xùn's writing as well. Hometown 故乡
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