Readers’ Blog

To Live or to Survive

Popularity 5Viewed 387 times 2018-2-25 12:18 |Personal category:Reflections on Life|System category:Life| Live, survive, life, tragic, love

I spent half a day reading the famous book “To Live” which is one of the master works of Chinese writer Yu Hua. The movie shot based on this book is a classic movie in China reflecting life philosophy and social changes. Reading the book is like watching a movie. It seems that we have witnessed the experiences of the protagonist and the transformations of Chinese society with our own eyes.


The first scene of an old man driving an old ox caught my attention. The man named Fu Gui is the protagonist in the book and he also names his old ox Fu Gui. It makes us sigh about how life changes a man. He tells his own stories to the narrator and Yu makes him put his own story in the first person to make it real to the readers. The yong Fu Gui simply fools around every day with women and money. As the only heir to the family property of more than a hundred mu farmlands, he has no family responsibilities at all. Later, he is deceived by a gambler Long Er and loses all the money, farmlands and real estate to that cunning guy. It’s not until that time does he feel scared and sorry. He is scared because he and the whole family will has no money at all and he will lose his position of a property heir. He feels sorry because his parents, his pregnant wife and his little daughter will have no money or shelters and they will all have to suffer poverty because of his foolishness and impenitence. His father becomes sick because of angers to him and died shortly after. Then he has set on foot of his misfortune.


What I feel unimaginable is that when he is on the way to the town to buy drugs for his sick mother, he is caught and then forced to join the Kuomingtang Army to fight against the Liberation Army. All this is caused by a little boy who plays a prank at the gate of the county magistrate. If he did not help the little boy to knock on the knocker, he would have not fight with the doorman and would have not been compelled to do labor work in the army. Having seen the death of many innocent lives in the battle fields, he feels grateful for his survival and eagers to return home to meet his mother, his wife and children. Sadly, his mother passed away not long after he was forced into the army and she even did not know where her son was when she closed her eyes to the world. His daughter Feng Xia becomes mute because of a high fever. He is glad to meet his son who is about three years old. Then they started their life anew together.


However, life seems to play with him. Several years later, his son died when donating blood to his head teacher when she is giving birth to a child. Has family have suffered years from the social transformation starting from agrarian reform, severe famine, community movement, Cultural Revolution etc. When his daughter comes of age, fortunately she marries a decent man. Life teases him again that his daughter leaves him forever when giving birth to a boy. At that time, his wife is heavily sick. Although he has been trying not to let her know about the death of their daughter, she guesses it finally and one night, they sit together beside the tombs of their son, their daughter and their parents. Tears roll out of my eyes and I cannot imagine how can a man’s life be so tragic. Shortly after his wife passes away and leaves only Fu Gui and his little grandson Ku Gen.


However hard it is, life has to go on. His grandson is the drive for him to live on until one day the poor boy was choked to death when eating beans. He regrets for having not taken good care of his grandson, but all is too late. He will never come back to him anymore. He is the only one left in the family.


If I tell you the story of Fu Gui, you must have the same feeling with me that he has a tragic life. He intends to start afresh and be with his family, but it turns out that he loses every one of them. He desires a better life, but poverty of the society has dragged him down to disappointment. To live or to survive; this is a question. For us, he has survived from the war, disease, reform and death. However, for him, this is what life is all about. It is about suffering from what he has to suffer and living the life he has to live. He lives to live but not to survive.


Every one of us has a different life to live. Every kind of life exists for some reason and belongs to someone. No one can doubt its existence and no one can live others’ life. So be ourselves and live our own life to our best interests.



I like the following sentence and would like to share with you.


Don’t let the noises of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice and most importantly have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




Shake hands


Friends who just made a statement (4 Person)

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Comment Comment (7 comments)

Reply Report Liononthehunt 2018-2-28 18:32
The resilience of human beings knows no bounds when you are mentally strong enough.  

By the way, it is really impressive it only took you half a day to finish the book. lol. Just joking.
Reply Report Igo 2018-3-1 08:49
I watched the movie, but didn't get a chance to read the book. It is said that the book is more heart-rending than the movie. We all hope that crazy and condemned days won't come back to Chinese people again today.
Reply Report sharoncuizz 2018-3-1 12:45
Liononthehunt: The resilience of human beings knows no bounds when you are mentally strong enough.  

By the way, it is really impressive it only took you half a day ...
Dear friend, thanks for your comments. The wording in this book is very simple and you can finished reading it in estimated three or four hours.
Reply Report sharoncuizz 2018-3-1 12:47
Igo: I watched the movie, but didn't get a chance to read the book. It is said that the book is more heart-rending than the movie. We all hope that crazy a ...
I cannot agree with you more. Hope everyone of us can live a better life.
Reply Report Swifty55 2018-3-2 06:53
Well done and since I can not read Chinese.Made me think.Thanks
Reply Report sharoncuizz 2018-3-2 12:05
Swifty55: Well done and since I can not read Chinese.Made me think.Thanks
Thanks a lot for the comments :)
Reply Report Swifty55 2018-3-2 15:12
Welcome pretty lady.My pleasure

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Recent comments

  • Poems 2018-3-19 12:51

    Thanks so much for the comments. I want to be an English teacher, too and now I'm hunting for the job.

  • Poems 2018-3-14 05:26

    I like Frost also very much. I enjoy poems and writing them.Most of mine where about education of life.Have written over 2,000 over the years.But none lately.I spend time now teaching and trying to learn conversational Chimese.Try is the key word.Like your blogs.

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