Mo Yan’s unusual life makes his stories vivid and lifelike. Every time after reading his works, the most impressive thing in readers’ mind must be his writing style—like a humorous storyteller who enjoys sharing his stories and experience with everybody in his way. His way seems like having a chat with you. So you do not need to be nervous or worry about whether you can understand his opinions or minds. Through his stories, you can find what he indeed wants to share everywhere. His life also is like an unbelievable legend. When his mature writing mixes with unique stories, a spiritual creation comes out. Who can have confidence in refusing this temptation? That’s why all of his works have caused huge stirs in public after being published. Because of the above elements, in 2012, Mo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. What’s more, he is the first Chinese writer to own this meaningful and priceless honor.
To better describing this great man, this biography will be divided into three parts: his childhood, study life and before being famous.
Mo Yan was born in 1955, in GaomiCounty in Shandong, China. His birth, to his common family, was not happiness but a burden because his family was too poor to support more kids. His grandpa named him: Guan Moye, meaning being successful in the future. Mo Yan is a boy and the smallest kid in his family, but his parents did not spoil him. On the contrary, he had become a shepherd since six years old. Because his poor class and ugly face, other kids did not want to play with him. He was alone all the time. So playing with animals made his heart full. In his eyes, they were the most sincere friends. With animals’ friendships, he did not feel he is lonely. Oppositely, his gap of friendship was crammed by them. It is not hard to find this emotion in his works like Sheep and me; Dog, birds and horses; the language of horse etc.
At that time, his family lived with his shushu (uncle)’s family and grandparents. His shushu worked in the local government so he got a higher salary than others. Due to this reason he did not worry about livelihood problem. Mo’s parents were different. They lived on ploughs. In another word, they were common peasants and always worked in the field the whole day. Because of this hugely different class, his shenshen (uncle’s wife) despised and looked down on his family. When Mo was little, the living conditions in China were poor, all of Chinese were worrying about how they would not to be hungry. Having a hearty meal to everyone was a merely illusion. To be exaggerated, food even could let people sell their souls. However, little Mo was a very good eater. At each lunch time, he fast devoured his food but still not felt enough so that he robbed his tangjie’s (uncle’s daughter). His tangjie cried and angrily told her mum. When shenshen knew his daughter suffered losses, she always got mad at him and said lots of evil and mean bad words. In his shenshen’s heart, he was totally a freak. Fortunately, he had a great mum. She apologized to shenshen without any grumble. To Mo’s behavior, his mum did not blame him. In the contrary, and then she gave all of her own little food to Mo, although she was terribly hungry.
In every speech, Mo Yan always mentioned that his success could not come without his mum’s encouragement and education. When he had a dream to be a writer, his mum did not object. “She said nothing and then cautiously took out couple of coins from her breast pocket to me. She told me to buy a pen and a bottle of ink. These things celebrate my dream as a gift. Although I knew my family was in trouble, my mum still supported and encouraged me to realize it. You know, at that moment, bought these were pretty ridiculous in other’s eyes. Never mention being a writer… In their view, writers are chairwarmers.” Mo remembered. In his memory, his mum was humble to others but strict with him in every detail. She always educated him to be an honest and strong man. From his literary works such as let’s chat from photos, Selling cabbages his mum’s personalities and characters were described by him vividly and utterly. In Selling cabbages, because of little Mo’s mistake, his mum asked for an old taitai (woman) one mao (one tenth of a yuan) more. When his mum realized this, she was ready on her way to back home. Nevertheless, she deeply knew that parents were the best masters to children; she did not want Mo to be a cheater when he grew up. So she decidedly turned around to chase the old taitai. When Mo came back, he saw his mum sadly shedding tears. Beside her were the cabbages which they sold in the morning. Mo did not know what happened and why she looked disappointed… She looked up and gazed at him with her red eyes. The atmosphere in the house was silent. For a long she yelled to him in an impressive voice “My son, how could you do this? How dared you to charge her more money?!” “Today, you made me feel shameful of you for the first time. You have lost my face and pride!!”While she was saying, two rows of tears were filling down her cheek…In Mo’s heart, this possibly was the most unforgettable and meaningful thing in his memories of mum. Mo said that “The most thankful person in my life must be my mother. Although she never got any education, she used her behaviors to teach me how to be an upright and useful person. In my heart, she is the best gift to me from the God.”
When Mo Yan was 5 years old, his parents sent him go to primary school. In school, he was the youngest kid and always easily cried. What he was educated and acknowledged in primary school was foundation to his life. However, what he learned in school can not satisfy Mo’s curiosity and desire for knowledge. At that time, it was normal that people have neither computer nor television; even had a radio was a luxury to them. In this cultural environment, reading novels became Mo Yan’s way to “kill” time. In order to read more books, Mo tried every possible means like having a fight with brother; even once destroyed a bunch of bees’ nests to get honey and sold it for books … By reading novels, Mo widened his view; the most valuable thing to Mo is open his fantasy. Overtime, reading has become Mo’s favorite interest until now.
When Mo Yan was 11 years old, the Cultural Revolution was launched, he was in Grade 5. Be- fore Chairman Mao announced that Chinese entire education system was totally wrong. Some teachers in his school swiftly established School Committee in order to show how loyal they were to their sincere Communist Party. They encouraged students to write da-zi-bao to unmask the true nature of others or expose others’ candles and personal issues. At this time, Mo was a naive and impulsive young man, of course he followed. Before long, he became a member of Red Successor. Therefore his life totally changed in one night. He accidentally through a hole of a window saw that Teacher Zhang who was the leader of School Committee was molesting principal’s wife, the principal himself just saw, but did not resist… His silences made Mo disappointed; he even found despair in his heart because he deeply believed he taken in by his dear party. In order to revenge, he made a poster about what he saw and then put it on the public billboard. Soon, everyone in the town knew this scandal… Due to this, Mo offended Teacher Zhang and after that he had to leave school to work as a farmer. From that moment, his self-learned life started.
Because of the Cultural Revolution, lots of books were banned. Mo Yan’s self-learned life was hard. When other people heard of his study, most of them laughed at him and said “ if you can be successful, I can promise that pigs will be successful faster than you！！！！You are a son of peasants, you will also be a peasant….”No matter how other ridiculed, Mo still believed that one day he could make his dream come true. At the age of 18, he began to work at a cotton factory. During this period, which coincided with a succession of political campaigns from the Great Leap Forward to the Cultural Revolution, his access to literature was largely limited to novels in the socialist realist style under Mao Zedong, which centered largely on the themes of class struggle and conflict. In 1979, Gaokao restarted. Base on his great writings, he got an opportunity to go to university, although it was pretty slim. When Mo was almost 30 years old, he became a student in university.
After graduating from university, he created lots of famous works such as The Garlic Ballads, Big Breasts & Wide Hips, and Sandalwood Death etc. His novels are like his autobiography. Readers can find his past time and the people who lived in his hometown’s personalities. He said: “As a writer, it is shameful that I am not poor at creating stories. My advantage is sharing what I knew to other. In some way, I admit I am a bad creator; but I believe I am a fantastic storyteller…
On 11 October 2012, the SwedishAcademy announced that Mo Yan had received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his amazing work. At the time of the announcement, this 57 years old simple storyteller was the 109th recipient of the award .He finally realized his dream and proved his gifted capability.