Waiting Ha Jin Analysis

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Traditional Values and Revolutionary Principles; China in Waiting
Waiting takes places during a period in China, specifically from the early 1960’s to the 1980’s, where components of Chinese traditionalism and cultural revolution create conflict and struggle for various characters. Although Ha Jin doesn’t heavily portray the conflict of the revolution or the idolization of Mao, he does provide detailed accounts of how characters are effected by political action as well as the individual and the psychosomatic consequences of the cultural revolution. Jin writes in a way that shows a deep understanding of the divergence between the individual self, the collective society, and ever-changing politics. In Waiting, we are introduced to characters
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The rural setting takes place in Goose Village while the city setting takes place at a military compound in Muji City. Jin develops the redundancy in order to enhance the conflict within Lin. The repetition of Lin’s annual military leave paired with the repetition of the two settings with specific characters enhances his feelings of drudgery, but it also highlights the main differences in culture that Lin experiences and fights to get rid of. The two settings are distinctly identified by their names, one being a village and the other being a city, but Jin also portrays greater contrast in his descriptions of the settings. In Goose Village, we find “chicken strutting,” “geese waddling,” and “long cucumbers hung on trellises and eggplants curved like ox horns” (Jin 4). The rural setting serves as a reminder to Lin of his obligations, or Old China. Goose Village is where we meet Shuyu. We learn of her arranged marriage to Lin; a marriage that Lin grudgingly agreed to while his mother was dying but confirms Lin’s commitment to the party. We learn about Shuyu’s bound feet that “were only four inches long,” a nod to provinciality and traditional Chinese values (Jin 8). We also discover that she was a “small, withered woman and looked much older than her age. Her thin arms and legs couldn't fill up her clothes, which were always baggy on her" (Jin
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