Red Sorghum By Mo Yan

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Red Sorghum, a novel written by Mo Yan, depicts events of horror on the Sorghum fields during the battle between the Chinese and Japanese. As the novel unfolded the role of Red Sorghum as an active character in the novel was established. As an agricultural necessity for the Chinese, the participation of the plant in the story declared that the people’s relationship to the grain is far deeper than the just a means to earn money for business purposes. The contributions sorghum made through its life giving abilities confirmed it as a vital part to the Chinese’s survival, especially through the hardships of the war. With the plants powers to provide and sustain life, protect and offer a sanctuary to earth’s creatures, and the plants relation to the human demonstrates its place as more than just an agricultural commodity.
As Red Sorghum unfolded the importance of sorghum as a grain and a means of sustenance is confirmed. Sorghum provides the characters with food, wine, and antiseptics. In this case to take precautionary measure against catching leprosy wine is sprayed all over the body. Uncle Arhat’s belief was sorghum wine is a germ sterilizer, “Uncle Arhat believed sorghum wine was an effective disinfectant for all kinds of dangerous germs” (Yan, 114). Wine is used as a resource for sterilization and when handling wounds. As an example, granddad was showing father how to properly clot a wound, “smear some of the salty white powder from the sorghum stalks on it”(Yan, 175).

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