An important and famous document of such kind is the series of short stories written by Pu Songling in Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. In this paper I shall evaluate the element of afterlife or horror embodied in his stories using three of them as examples for understanding better the elements under my study. The three stories I shall use are: Biting a Ghost, The Haunted House and Friendship Beyond the Grave.
Adventure-laden, action-packed and supernatural stories of Pu Songling can be summed up to have one feature in common, a preoccupation with experience of afterlife. In the story Friendship Beyond the Grave, for example, the protagonist Ye succeeds in life and fulfils all of his dreams but ironically only after his death and more interestingly, during the entire phase of his activities that he performs with his dear friend Ding, he remains unaware himself that he is dead until he ultimately reaches his home only to be told by his horrified wife that he had been dead for more than three years. The idea of afterlife incorporates a vital period of time, at least in Songling’s story which can be used for unfulfilled purposes. Such is the case which attempts to transcend the concept of death as the end of life as against the idea of death as another life of greater purpose, fulfillment and promise. Anthony C. Yu’s evaluation of the Chinese Ghost’s prose most fits this characteristic:
“Much of this kind of fiction may be didactic, but the intended messages differ just as the plot arrangements serviceable to them differ. The demands of the departed can be quite reasonable, and even ghosts can be outwitted (406)”.
Biting a Ghost is another story what narrates a telling experience of a person who in a dream-like condition experiences a malevolent and horrifying attack from a lady who climbs over his chest and ...
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