Desperation, Depression and Death in the Poetry of Xu Lizhi


  • Beaton Galafa Student, Master’s in Comparative Education, College of Teacher Education, Zhejiang Normal University, China.


The paperreviews the themes of desperation, depression and death in selected poems of a Chinese contemporary poet Xu Lizhi.This is through a careful analysis of the diction he deploys, constructing powerful imagery themed around death and the suffering that precedes it in the daily life of migrant labourers in Chinese metropolitan cities. Drawn from his experiences as an assembly line employee in his short work span in the city of Shenzhen, his poetry laments mechanization and the deprivation of life in the youth’s prime as they struggle to survive for a living. The paper draws its analysis from the poet’s personal biography – a string of experiences that culminate into his suicide. The events surrounding his personal life form a contextual understanding of the psychic state behind the literary ingenuity expressed in Xu’s poetry. On the question of death, the paper explores the existence of a tragic life that mounts to death before the actual death amidst the migrant workers, but it also exploressuicide as a kind of prophecy throughout Xu’s poetry,foretellingthe tragic end of his life.


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