22 July 2010
“Love in the Air” Analysis
In Ha Jin’s story, “Love in the Air”, Kang is isolated in his work place, in which he shares with fellow officers. In his isolated military base, Kang has become socially deprived; this makes him vulnerable to falling easily in love with the female telegraph operator, whose voice he becomes infatuated with, playing it over and over in his head. Due to being isolated and his infatuation with trying to figure out who his mysterious love really is, he becomes restless and distressed. He is described a walking corpse, and he is losing focus at work. As bad as he wanted to free his mind of the woman, he wasn’t sure how.
At the end of “Love in the Air”, Kang has come to a realization; the only way to free his mind of the woman is to step out of his cold, dark shell and into the open world. Kang is described as being “abnormally large” in the story, but in a world of vast land and an endless sky, he, for the first time, feels small and welcomed. He now has a broad perspective of the world; it is full of opportunities, and he has learned living in a world of isolation will deteriorate one’s mind.
Kang’s contemplation of the landscape, in “Love in the Air”, does have an impact on the story. If Kang had not been isolated, he may have not been so vulnerable to become so emotionally attached to a woman whom he never met. Due to his isolation, Kang couldn’t rest his mind; he was driving himself crazy. After being isolated and stepping out into the world, he realizes the world is full of opportunities, and the sky is the limit. A person cannot live their life in a nutshell, afraid of what someone else may criticize; you have to take chances and have an open mind. Living a life of social deprivation and isolation may lead to self destruction and possible insanity.