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Repositioning the Prototype of Ah Q

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China Social Science Review

No.4, 2021


Repositioning the Prototype of Ah Q



Yu Zhaoping


The status of the prototype of the image of Ah Q has long been debated. Using the research method of using [the words of] Lu Xun to understand Lu Xun and verify Lu Xun, that is, seeking information about the prototype of Ah Q in Lu Xun’s writings on the basis of the logical principles of experiential induction, will give us relatively reliable conclusions. In addition to “How The True Story of Ah Q Came to be Written” and other pieces that focus on the novella, there are also papers, essays, translators’ notes, letters and other materials from various periods. The intertextuality of these sources and The True Story of Ah Q can help locate the prototype of Ah Q. Lu Xun’s words about “the airs of importance assumed by a man whose family has seen better days” can serve the key to the puzzle. This approach will enable us to resolve some contradictions in the previous interpretation of this work.