Pa Chin (Pseudonym of Li Fei-Kan) Pa Chin - Essay

Pa Chin

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The great change in my writing] dates back to the movement launched by all our people to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea at the end of 1950…. (p. 85)

Life is not an affair of make-believe…. Nor can you counterfeit emotion. The struggles on the Korean front were so fierce that people felt strongly and knew exactly what they loved and hated. Living among new men of this kind, I could not fail to be influenced and inspired by them. That is why even today, eleven years later, I still remember that phase in my life so distinctly and am still writing about some of the soldiers I met in those days. (p. 86)

[My] past writings simply expressed the sorrows of men who had lost their youth, freedom of action, happiness and love, simply exposed the iniquities and injustice of the old system and the old society. But I could only diagnose the disease without prescribing a remedy…. My readers, like myself, were in agony in that suffocating atmosphere. We all wanted to destroy the old system and never stopped looking for a way out…. I can say that in none of my pre-liberation writing did I give way to despair. Even in the darkest days I never lost faith. But I could not shake off my agony because I had not linked myself with the people's revolutionary struggle. I floundered on, my ideas conflicting with my actions, my reason conflicting with my emotions, my ideal conflicting with reality. This went on till the liberation in 1949. This shows what an author writes is determined by his life, his outlook and feeling. (pp. 88-9)

Pa Chin, "Pa Chin the Novelist," in an interview with Chen Tan-Chen, in Chinese Literature, No. 6, June, 1963, pp. 84-92.