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Panda, a common typing and binding worker in State Grid for 21 years. Own a bachelor degree of Chinese Language and Literature, and a certificate of teaching Chinese. She is pursuing a Master of Chinese Classical Literature in HuBei University, and studying the novels of Ming & Qing dynasties.
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Fortress Besieged    

By Panda
3505 Views | 1 Comments | 7/31/2010 9:16:55 PM

Those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out.

is a novel by Qian Zhong-shu. Published in Shanghai in 1947, it is a classic of modern Chinese literature. This is an odd book. Beneath the wit and humor lies a deeply hidden sentimental regret. Therefore, it is a smiling tragedy which uses detached ridicule to recount a helpless human life.

The title“Fortress Besieged” comes from the third chapter, Chu Shenming says, “there is a old saying in England, ‘Marriage like a gold bird coop, the birds which are outside want to live in, and the birds inside want to fly out.’ So people get marriage and divorce, divorce and marry, without an end.”Miss Su. says: “There is also a saying in France, it is not about bird coop, but fortress besieged,‘Those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out.’”

In fact, either marriage or career, all our lives seem a fortress besieged. Human beings can’t run away from the ties and obligations provided by whatever fortress they happen to be in. In the novel, there are disputes between Fang Hong-chien and Miss Su, Tang, and Sun. Fang, the novel’s protagonist, is timid and overcautious. He doesn’t have the courage to express his feelings or speak sincerely. He eventually winds up trapped into a marriage with the calculating Sun Rou-jia and finds out what it is to eat the bitter fruit of marriage. Although this emotional fortress was yearned for by Fang, he winds up being bored by it. San Nu University was a career fortress for him—one full of mutual deceptions, open strife and veiled struggle. It was fortress the kind and timid Fang Hong-chien ultimately could not bear. But when Fang left San Nu University, things were no better. He had to face a big mixed fortress of society where his parents’ feudalisms, family duties, and his own career circumstance collided. In this situation, Fang knew was helpless. To him, all things seemed controlled by an unfeeling big hand. Without any capabilities of his own, Fang Hong-chien can only submit to the hand, resign himself to alms from his friends, and allow himself to be trapped into love and career.

The book depicts reveals Fang’s futile struggle and weak behavior, except, perhaps, when he pursues Miss Tang, which can be viewed as an attempt to overcome fate. Still, there is such forlorn ending.

Unlike Fang Hong-chien, Chao Hsin-mei has never gotten into Miss Su’s fortress for 20 years, However, he still can’t escape from the fortress of traditional feudalism. Fang’s two father’s-in-law also can’t be escaped from the fortress of self-respect. In short, every one in the book has a fortress in his heart, in addition to a fortress of private interests or face. This all takes place at a time in China’s history when feudalism blinded China and many made a fetish of foreign countries.

It speaks to the greatness of the novel that the matters it touched on some seventy years ago are as relevant as ever today. Qian Zhong-shu used humorous writing to expound that life is just a big fortress besieged. Human beings can’t escape from endless pressures and ties. They are condemned to live in an invisible four walls forever. No one can escape this fate. In fact, it is just wonderful to live in it. If you were to get out of a fortress besieged, you would just stay in a empty fortress alone. Your life would have no value.

In fact, this invisible fortress always exists. At present, competition is more intense, and master hands congregate just like the clouds. Both open strife and veiled struggle are more intense and dangerous than in the book. Schools, families, society, our every environment is just a fortress besieged; every behavior is also a fortress besieged. The friendship and competition between classmates, the emotional attachment and pressures among family members, the bright and dark in society, we have been building many different fortresses besieged . We have to fight constantly in it, always very keenly creating the splendour in the “city”, enriching the lives of the “city”. We are not able to go beyond the wall of fortress. Because so long as have lives, we will stay in a fortress besieged.

Life is just a fortress besieged. Marriage and career, study and entertainment, success and failure, every thing is a color in the “city”, every one is an element in the “city”. When all the people and things became fine by efforts and optimism, when the colors in the “city” match quite well, then the “city” will not be a terrible tie and pressure, but a happiness paradise. Nobody would try to leave from there. Even Fang Hong-chien would also like it. Maybe the world will not ever become like this, but please allow such beautiful dream always be in my heart.

In , the author has described some parts society and some kinds of persons in modern China. These kind of people are just human being who have fundamental roots, animals without body hair and with two feet.

In fact, there are “fortresses besieged” everywhere in our lives. Not only love, marriage, work and career, but also study, life, and friendship. There is always a “city” around us. “Fortress besieged”____ Those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out.


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#2010-08-09 01:57:48 by hello141 @hello141

Thanks for providing a review of this book. The book sounds interesting to read.

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