24 October, 2010
Literary Analysis on “Saboteur”by Ha Jin
If you ever wanted to get revenge on people who have wronged you, then you may be able to relate to Mr. Chiu, the main character in the short story “Saboteur” by Ha Jin. Mr. Chiu’s revenge is ironic as the conflicts he finds himself in throughout the story. The setting is in Muji, China during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. The leader of the communist party at the time is Chairman Mao and ruled based on a Marxist model by the story mentioning the concrete statue of him in the center of the square. The author states that “the Cultural Revolution was over already, and recently the Party has been propagating the idea that all citizens were equal before the law” (26). The setting and the period of time is important because the story is told in third person limited, because we are only exposed to Mr. Chui’s feelings and thoughts. Also we can tell that its summer because Mr. Chiu and his bride are wearing sandals as well as the confession he signs is dated July 13. The setting is very important to the meaning of the story and it provides reasons for the characters behaviors. Mr. Chiu, the protagonist, is described as a well educated and polite man. The couple is obviously well off; shown by the fact they own a color TV (57) this was something that was rare in the time of the story. Mr. Chiu’s features are described as having a “sallow face showing exhaustion” (4). Months earlier he was suffering with acute hepatitis. The wife is describes as “wearing glasses” and “pale cheeks” (4) and also suffering from a headache. Their physical features seem to be weak. The antagonists, the policemen, are described as “stout” and “tall of athletic build” (2). It is clear that between the policemen towards Mr. Chiu and his wife when the police “would steal a glance at Mr. Chiu’s table” while “telling a joke” (2). The fact that Mr. Chiu did not say anything about the looks...
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