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兄弟 by 余华- Spoiler Page (about plot...etc).


wushijiao
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(Warning: If you are planning to read the book and don't want it to be ruined, please don't read this). :nono

Well, it seems that it is impossible to discuss this book without giving away major events in the plot. So, if you have any comments about what happens in the book, put it here.

I'll write a review later today. :mrgreen:

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Instead of writing a whole review, I think it might be good to talk about certain aspects of the book that were interesting.

One of them is the relationship between the 李/宋 family and the 孙 family. Sun Wei was the leader of the young, hooligan Red Guards who brutually beat 宋凡平. Later, when Song went to jail, Sun Wei's father, working as a prision guard, also beat 宋凡平 for fun.

In all of the chaos of the CR, one must ask: who is responsible for the senseless violence? Are people violent by nature, or is violent behavior a learned and cultivated trait? This book seems to point to the latter explination.

The interesting thing is that at first, one might assume certain people are violent by nature because of the obvious link between a savage young gangster, Sun Wei, beating innocent people, and his father doing much the same. But then later in the book, 李光头 becomes friends with Sun Wei, even though Sun and his family were responsible for beating of Li's step-dad. Li, as a young boy, does this partly for his own safety. He knows that his chances of getting beaten by local thugs are much smaller if he has a bigger friend to protect him. Sun Wei befriends the younger Li because Sun is kind of an unpopular loner. The two kids hang out together and also beat political outcasts, giving it as much thought as one might give to getting a cup of coffee or blowing one's nose.

The book then briefly focuses on the Sun family, with Sun Wei getting cut to death, Sun's father getting beaten to death, and Sun's mother going insane with bereavement.

The tragedy of the Sun family was interesting. Personally, on an emotional level, there was a point in the book that I wanted to go back and beat the living hell out of Sun Wei. But, I think Yu Hua wanted to destroy the black/white, good/evil dichotomy by focusing on the pain and suffering that even fairly guilty people ended up suffering during the CR. When we see Sun Wei's father's anguish at losing his only son, even though he was an SOB, the reader still empathizes with him.

Did anyone else get this impression?

I think there was a deliberate attempt to not put blame on any single "evil" small-town characters. That, I think, had the purpose of placing the blame on one single, humble man who created the system of mass torture and terror.

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