Revolutionary Literature in China: An Anthology

By John David Berninghausen; Ted Huters | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Man and Wife Learn to Read

By Ma Ke

translated by David Holm

Dramatis Personae LIU ER, a young peasant LIU'S WIFE

Enter Liu Er

LIU ER: [recites lianzi zui--"patter-mouth"]
Talking 'bout change, change,
Making people's customs change,
Studying culture, learning to read.
I, Liu Er, used not to read,
In three days twice I'd look the fool.
I went to market in Qianzhuang,
Cotton my wife told me to buy.
A brand new thousand dollar note
I spent as a fifty. So . . .
The crowd did laugh,
My wife did scold,
You tell me I'm not a pumpkin-head,
You tell me I'm not a pumpkin-head!
This year we made output plans,
The public sent a man to help.
I speak up, he writes it down,
Once he's gone, I've forgotten it!
Other people's plans were set,
I thought a plan was too much sweat.
Black little words on paper white,
I could not make them out aright.
Other men did things to plan,
Output got on really grand.
I'd not a plan of any kind,
People said I'd got just one hand.
My output's faulty compared with them.
The crowd did laugh at me,
The wife she scolded me.
I went home and looked at the plan,
White paper, black words--what a drag.
I couldn't make them out aright.

The crowd did laugh at me,
The wife she scolded me.
You tell me I'm not a pumpkin-head,
You tell me I'm not a pumpkin-head!
Study culture! Study culture!
Be a word-blind man no longer!
Reading squads, newspaper squads,
Just give your name, participate!
Little boys, little girls,
Old men, women too,
You teach me, I'll teach him,
As happy and lively as one family.
[gradually faster]
Now that I've got culture in my belly,
Everyone says that's really jolly.
Now this word-blind man can see,
The world's getting wider in front of my eyes.
I can read the papers,
I can write letters,
I can reckon bills,
I can keep accounts.
[sings yangge-diao--"Yangge tune"]

From now on, let's raise up our culture, a great fanshen,
Muddleheads, become clever men.
Of our food and clothes we've guarantee,
No man of us will suffer poverty.

My name's Liu Er. Tonight our village is electing its model
reading student. I'm going home to tell my wife to come to
the meeting.
[sings huayin gangdiao--"Ornamented gangdiao"]

I, Liu Er, walk along, feeling very fine.
I take out my reading book and read a few lines:
"Being a farmer's preferable to commercial trades,
For each seed in the ground, in the barn ten thousand laid.
Diligently plough and plant, make hay and store grain.
Three years plough, put one aside, prepare for lack of rain."

Exit

Enter Liu's Wife

LIU'S WIFE: [reading aloud]
"Produce, produce. Have food, have clothes. Study, study.
Read books, learn the script. In production be a model. In

-74-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Revolutionary Literature in China: An Anthology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 108

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?