A Matter of Character a Critical Analysis of “Saboteur” by Ha Jin

Topics: Police, Police brutality, Sting Pages: 2 (865 words) Published: May 7, 2013
Ha Jin’s short story “Saboteur” tells of a man who seems discontent, idealistic, and gravely ill. In Muji, Mr. Chui, is accused of sabotage and taken by force to jail after a run in with railroad authorities. His crime is for speaking out against police officers assaulting him and his bride during lunch in the city square. The reader is lead to believe this is a simple case of excessive force by the police, therefore the abuse of power is the catalyst of this short story, but the real story is about Mr. Chui’s contempt for all those around him and his utter lack of integrity. Mr. Chui is thirty-four, a lecturer at Harbin University, is gaunt, pale, and still recuperating from hepatitis. His bride, a pale girl who wears glasses, is a recent graduate of collage were she earned a degree in art. This is the first glimpse into Mr. Chui’s character who feels better then he thought he would, but is glad the honeymoon is over. “On the whole he was pleased with his health, which could even endure the strain of a honeymoon” (Jin). When he is arrested he tells his bride not to wait for him and send help if he is not home tomorrow (Jin). During his incarceration, Mr. Chui’s thinks about how he really was not missing his bride and how he liked to sleep alone. When he is not home on Monday, his bride sends the help of is former student Fenji. This it infuriates him, “Stupid women!” (Jin) He wants her to send someone from the university, not a lawyer that holds no official position (Jin). While having lunch with his bride, two railroad officers have thrown a bowl of tea in the direction of Mr. Chui and his bride getting their sandals wet. Mr. Chui, showing his lack of candor, confronts them accusing them of torture calling them, “Comrade Policeman” (Jin). He insists the officers acknowledge their transgression; instead, he is arrested. Resisting, he is struck on the hand with a gun, told he has disrupted the public peace and whisked off to jail. Mr. Chui realizes he is not...

Cited: Ha Jin, (Jin) Antioch Review, Volume: 59. Issue 2, spring 2001
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