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The essay is a critical examination of Spencer's work, 'The Question of Hu'. The paper adopts a counter-argument format as it tries to answer the question Hu posed after being visited by Jesuit Pierre de Goville, the questions he asked after being asked whether there is something else he need, was ' Why have I been locked up". It is important to note from the onset that counter-argument writing is a situation whereby there are possibilities of objecting once argument upon introduction, explaining as well as responding to it. It is more less the same as talking to another person who holds a very different point of view from yours.

The Question of Hu Summery

The novel was written by Jonathan Spencer in which he brings to light the life of Hu a Chinese who was taken to France by a priest, Jean-Francois. Hu was to help the priest in translating a Chinese document. While travelling, according to the priest, the behaviors Hu exhibited were 'Chinese madness' (Spencer 1989). Among the actions he did while in the voyage and even after arriving in Paris included eating large amount of foods at one given times, stealing a horse as well as not interacting with women and tearing a blanket while in an asylum camp.

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Most of the times, he was very unpredictable as he could be happy then suddenly become angry. This made the priest as well as other individuals close to Hu lock him up with the believe that he was mad. It is worth noting that upon arrival to France, he gave his coat to a beggar and declared that he will do whatever possible to see the Pope. He turned to be hostile and refused to work prompting the Europeans to incarnate him. Before being locked up, Hu made a drum as well as a flag written in Chinese, "Men and women should be kept in their separate spheres". He later took to the street preaching in Chinese. This moved the ground as people cheered him up.

After spending two good years from where he was locked, during that time he was visited and one question he asked was, "Why have I been locked up" (Spence, 1989). He was afterwards released and pronounced competent and went back to his native country, on the other hand the Priest Jean-Francois was promoted to become a bishop.

Generally speaking the novel talks deeply about cultural differences and the difficulties individuals undergo in trying to integrate into new cultures. It is evident that the European did seem to believe that their culture was more superior to those of other persons in this case the Chinese culture. They tried to force Hu adopt to theirs culture while on the other hand he did not even attempt to force or entice them to adopt Chinese culture (Mojtabai, 2006). In my view due to globalization and advancement in technology, people from different background meet hence, there is need to appreciate the cultures for peaceful existence.

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Answering Hu question

The question posed by Hu is why he has been locked up. Historically those individual being locked up were considered to be insane, thieves, rapist (criminals). The difference in culture between the European and Chinese made the later believe that Hu was an insane person and deserve to be locked up (Mojtabai, 2006). They are astonished that even after one and a half month; Hu has not got accustomed to French culture.

According to McLoughland, 1989 his act of stealing or rather taking the tethered horse amounted to him being taken in and locked up. According to French culture, such an action is as a rash and not consistent with European culture. It is worth noting that the one who owned the animal tied it and went attending to other business. According to Hu when confronted about the issue, he says that he saw no use of an animal being not used and he was in need.

Additionally, when he was an asylum, one of the employees in Charenton provided Hu with a blanket. Surprisingly, although the blanket was of good quality and could provide sufficient warmth, he just tore it into pieces.  I believe in Chinese culture, being given something not asked for amount to scolding. On the same line, he tore the blanket to show his opposition to those who captured and put him under custody.

Being a visitor in a foreign country, his constant disappearance worried Jean-Francois the priest who brought him to France. This worried the priest and he had to take necessary action. One action at his disposal was to lock Hu so that he doesn't get lost (Mojtabai, 2006).

Additionally considering the issue of social classes back in the 18th centaury,  the priest Jean-Francois who represented those individual in upper classes seek to control those in lower classes. Realizing that Hu is a difficult nut to crack in terms of taming him for selfish gain, which is translating a Chinese document to other language, the priest resorted to this barbaric way. This made him hold the view that Hu is his servant. Hu is locked up as one way of the upper class showing their control and dominance over the minority who are constantly oppressed, on the same not, Hu represents foreigners who are discriminated on racial grounds (Spence, 1989).

Similarly one possible reason that might have landed Hu to be locked up is his refusal to assist in making mass arrangement due to presence of women. On the basis of his Chinese culture where women were not allowed to stroll, "In obedience to Chinese custom, the Jesuits in Canton did not allow women to attend services there; nor did the Chinese even allow women to stroll openly in the streets" (Spence, 1989) this could not allow him to do that. This was then viewed differently by the priest as well as other French people and deemed it fit to lock Hu in because he failed to adapt to European culture (Spence, 1989). He constantly held the opinion that women and men should be separated, a thorn to European flesh.

In my opinion, despite the fact that Hu tried his best to conform to European culture, he still held dear some of the Chinese culture. For instance when he slept in one of the bedrooms in Paris, he found out that the room was stuffy and the bed was above the ground, he resorted to sleeping on the ground/floor. Additionally, while on the voyage to Paris, his eating habits might have contributed to him being locked up because this annoyed the priest. He could eat large amount of food disproportionately at once (McLoughland, 1989).  

From the review of the work of Spencer, "The Question of Hu" we are told of how a Chinese Hu went to France as a copyist and suffered from cultural differences. His quest to continue with his native culture landed him into trouble. It is evident that European did not what anything to do with Chinese culture as they expected Hu to adapt instantly to their way of life. It is worth noting that his failure to doing so made the priest to make arrangements for him to be locked up.

For two years being behind bars, he asks why he was locked. The reasons are clear throughout the novel. These reasons pertain to culture and the way of life. Since he was seen to be stubborn so to speak in adapting to French way of life, the only option was to lock him up and send him back to his native country when appropriate. It is important to note that at present, due to globalization, the world has turned into a global village, for all people to successfully coexist, there is need to appreciate the varied cultures.

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