Disease And Humanity: Ba Jin And His Ward Four: A Wartime Novel Of China

Haili Kong, Swarthmore College

This work is freely available courtesy of Brill Academic Publishers and Higher Education Press.

Abstract

“Family” as Ba Jin’s intense concern seems to be a central icon of his literary works, carrying through from his Family (1933) to Cold Nights (1947). After briefly reassessing Ba Jin’s literary contribution in his early phase, this essay will focus more on Ba Jin’s novels written in the 1940s, particularly his Ward Four, which rarely attracts critical attention. For Lu Xun, mental disease in China was more crucial than physical disease. Ba Jin uses both mental and physical diseases to explore humanity in a wartime hospital. Ba Jin’s early novels were infused with more radical ideas, but as a more mature writer in the 1940s he provided readers with a new perspective to explore and understand society.