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The Theme of Corruption in Ha Jin’s Saboteur

“Whoever fights monsters need to see to it that in the process, he does not turn out to be a monster, and if you gaze long adequate into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” These immortal words spoken by Nineteenth-Century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche sum up the plight of the protagonist of Ha Jin’s Saboteur. Mr. Chiu starts as an sincere citizen standing up for his rights. He is tortured physically, and psychologically by a corrupt justice method till he is transformed into a psychopath driven by the need to kill innocent folks as a demented kind of retaliation against those who tortured him. Ha utilizes Mr. Chiu to show the reader how corruption can spread like a illness and each are indiscriminate killers.

Saboteur, is set shortly soon after the Cultural Revolution in China, which took location in 1966, and continued until 1976 following the death of the Communist Party leader Mao Zedong. At the start off of the Cultural Revolution, Mao asked for youngsters to rise up and support purge the state by joining the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) subsequently, he eradicated every opposing political figure in power. The Communist Party president Liu Shaoqi was imprisoned amongst many of his supporters. Soon after Mao eliminated all the divergent political representatives, China plunged into chaos. Mao employed the PLA to restore order afore weeding out any individual brave sufficient to be outspoken against the communist party, or the direction it had taken. Throughout the Cultural Revolution millions of people suffered incarceration, torture, or home appropriation. More than 1.five million Folks are reported to have been exterminated during this reign of terror (Cultural Revolution). Ha was a teenager as the terror of the “revolution” subjugated Chinese citizens from the age of fourteen to nineteen he voluntarily served in the People’s Liberation Army (Jin Ha). Saboteur’s protagonist Chiu Maguang functions as the voice of the writer’s inner struggle, which was instigated by the corruption of the political party he when believed in. As the story commences the protagonist has just been married.

Mr. Chiu and his new bride are sitting enjoying a lunch while waiting to catch a train as the story commences. As Ha fills out the scene providing the reader an virtually panoramic view about the couple, he foreshadows the horrors to come for the reader with imagery of rotten melon stinking up the air. An obnoxious policeman throws tea across the dining region soaking Mr. Chiu and his wife’s footwear, which angers the aforementioned husband. The policeman feels that he is above the law of widespread decency and not only does he fail to apologize for his actions he calls Mr. Chiu a liar. This is exactly where the principal conflict of the story and the overall theme of corruption and how it can spread like a virus begins. The policeman and an additional man seize the protagonist for disturbing the peace, beat him, and take him to the Railroad Police Station.

When he arrives at the police station, Chiu is still positive that issues will be ok for him when he speaks to somebody in charge. The reader is swiftly enlightened to the reality that this is not the case. Although in interrogation Chiu is told the only way he is getting out is by signing an official statement admitting his guilt. Which being a proud scholar was not an option of Chiu. When the protagonist starts to feel discomfort in his stomach he informs a guard that he has a heart illness, as nicely as hepatitis and he needs his medicine. The guard tells him he will have to wait until Monday and “Take it effortless, you will not die” (Ha 352). Even after all the hardship Chiu tries to uncover a silver lining in the situation by telling himself “he didn’t miss his bride a lot. He even enjoyed sleeping alone, maybe due to the fact the honeymoon had tired him out and he required a lot more rest” (Ha 352). Nonetheless unbeknownst to Chui, or the reader, this oversight by the guard would have dire consequences.

The day that follows totally alters who Chui is on the inside and ultimately turns him into a monster. When Chui awakes, he is shocked by the sight one particular of his students, Fenjin, handcuffed to a tree. The corrupt policemen disavowed all civil liberties and humiliated the man who came to Chui’s help. Ha as soon as again foreshadows that one thing wicked this way comes with imagery like “Mr. Chiu was overcome with a wave of nausea” (Ha 353). The corruption of all the injustice instilled inside Chui is festering and manifesting physically as the worsening of his hepatitis. Chui is taken to interrogation again and told that he can save himself and his colleague if he will sign a confession that corroborates the testimonies of the policemen who arrested him. When again the author illustrates the festering corruption internally spoiling the protagonist. “A numb discomfort stung him in the upper stomach and nauseated him, and his head was throbbing. He was sure that the hepatitis was ultimately attacking him. Anger was flaming up in his chest” (Ha 354). When Chui ultimately agrees to sign the confession to totally free himself and his buddy from the clutches of the corrupt law enforcement, the corruption explodes inside of him. “In his chest he felt as though there have been a bomb. If he were in a position to, he would have razed the complete police station and eliminated all their families. Even though he knew he could do absolutely nothing like that, he made up his thoughts to do something” (Ha 354). The protagonist like Jekyll to Hyde is shares no common connection with his former self.

Chui’s hatred of the Muji policemen has changed who he is and leads him down a dark path. He devises a strategy to spread the disease that has festered inside him during his incarceration with the population of Muji. By consuming meals at each of the restaurants about the prison, he spreads his germs to over eight hundred people. The hepatitis he distributes causes the death of six individuals, including two children. Although Chui consumes food at every of the eateries his colleague Fenjin notices the physical manifestation of his inner corruption.

“Fenjin was baffled by his teacher, who looked ferocious and muttered to himself mysteriously, and whose jaundiced face was covered with dark puckers. For the 1st time, Fenjin believed of Mr. Chiu as an ugly man” (Ha 355). Fenjin’s observation of his teacher’s inner darkness symbolizes how much the corruption brought on by the injustice has impacted even the protagonist’s physical look. The muttering illustrates to the reader how the scenario thrust upon Chui has driven him to the brink of madness.

As this dark tale comes to a close, the reader is issued a sense of dread as they are left with the thought that this seemingly minor incident price six innocent individuals their lives. In just under four thousand words Ha gives the western planet a taste of what it would be like to be unjustly persecuted by the a corrupt government during an immoral time in China and how this corruption can spread just like a disease to any person it infects. Chui, like a modern day Pied Piper, wronged by these in power he led the citizens of Muji down a path of misery and death out of want for vengeance. An ordinary citizen turned into a biological weapon by corruption. “Nobody knew how the epidemic had started” (Ha 355).

Works Cited

“Cultural Revolution.” A&E Tv Networks, n.d. Internet. 24 Sept. 2013.

“Ha Jin.” Carol Fitzgerald, n.d. Net. 24 Sept. 2013.

Ha, Jin. “Saboteur.” Approaching Literature: Writing Reading Considering. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 347-55. Print.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Net. 24 Sept. 2013.

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