The Importance Of The Chinese Examination In Literature

1554 Words 7 Pages
The Chinese examination has been known to be an extremely hard literary test of intellectual skill. Passing this examination allows one to obtain a position in the state bureaucracy. It consists of composing essays that will exhibit the intellectual potential of the applicant. Individuals who decide to take the examination go through multiple rounds of tests and the majority of applicants do not pass the exam. Based on the intensity of the examination and opinions on intellectuals, I argue that Wu Jingzi believes that the Chinese examination is a prime example of how intellectuals can lose their way because of this “fantasy world” that promotes a negative transformation of character. Through Wu Jingyi’s use of exaggerated reactions, he continues …show more content…
Fan Jin, a man who passed the examination honestly, exhibits how he briefly loses his character due to his success in the examination. He goes through a similar mental breakdown to Zhou Jin in which success has transformed him into a complete mess. “Clapping his hands again, he let out a peal of laughter and shouted, “Aha! I’ve passed! I’ve passed!” (CP 176/73). His breakdown demonstrates that Wu Jingzi sees the Chinese examination as something that changes people. Fan Jin entered a state of disbelief and euphoria as opposed to his quiet and mature demeanor. Through this change, Wu Jingzi really describes his true feelings about the Chinese examination. Being consumed in the fantasy that became a reality shows the true nature of how damaging actually passing the Chinese examination can be. If one enters “the world of fantasy” of wealth and prestige, one loses their true self and even a hold on reality itself. The Chinese examination transforms people and not for the better, according to Wu Jingzi’s use of exaggerated extremes with Zhou Jin and Fan Jin’s …show more content…
One is ensured a high position in the state bureaucracy and high wages. With this perception of benefits the examination will provide, many men study vigorously and take exams for years without success. Wu Jingzi uses the character Zhou Jin to exhibit how difficult the examination is and how much of a mental toll failing consistently does. Although Wu Jingzi takes his breakdown to an extreme, the portrayal of Zhou Jin’s emotional breakdown demonstrates that again the Chinese examination is a type of fantasy. Because of this fantasy blind sighting Zhou Jin, he comes to terms with reality. For example, Zhou Jin’s emotional breakdown is so extreme that he “…after crying in the first room, he rushed over to cry in the second and then the third, rolling over and over on the floor…” (CP 168/57). By indulging in the fantasy of prestige and wealth, Zhou Jin realizes that everything that he worked hard for is just a dream and seemingly gives up. The author clearly sees the Chinese examination as a waste of energy when buying a position is the only solution. Because of this premise, Zhou Jin does not buy his way into the system and continued to take the exam for many years with

Related Documents