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Waiting Essay

2228 words - 9 pages

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, at the conclusion of the 1940s, Mao Zedong became the chairman of Communist China. Being that it was, and still is, the most inhabited country in the world, China becoming a communist country affected millions of people almost instantly. Many of the traditional traditions and practices of the Chinese people were left behind as Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” was instituted across the country in 1966. During the Cultural Revolution of China, the country and its citizens experienced strict authority control with the military and the state functioning together to govern the people. The switch from traditional China to this Cultural Revolution was swift ...view middle of the document...

Differing, Manna Wu is the nurse Lin meets in the city in the hospital where they both work; she represents the educated, modern woman influenced by the Cultural Revolution. Being that Shuyu dwells in the countryside and Manna in the city, these locations also become symbols used by Ha Jin to express his views of the times changing. “The novel reveals how the collision between the old world of rural China, where divorce is rare, and the new world of the Cultural Revolution thwarts Lin Kong's best efforts and creates the life we experience…”(Moore, 124). In using the countryside town of Goose Village, Ha Jin is able to show his inexperienced American readers how different life was before Mao. “Throughout the novel Ha Jin gives readers many opportunities to see the rural world and its cultural value systems untouched as yet by the Cultural Revolution” (Moore, 125). He shows how distinct different life was in Old China when Lin Kong is visiting his wife and daughter, Hua, in Goose Village; life in this village is always depicted as being calm and simple. In one scene, Shuyu prepares Lin’s parents’ favorite meals for him to deliver to their grave sights (Jin, 92-93). Such customs were long forgotten and never again practiced once Mao took control of the country. Also, in various parts of the book it is mentioned how divorces were hard to come across in the country. Ha Jin writes, “Divorces were rare in the country. The court could handle about a dozen cases a year, and only two or three would end in a divorce” (Jin, 10). Later on, the character Geng Yang is quoted as saying, “Divorces are rare in the countryside. I heard of only one divorce in my hometown…”(Jin, 166). These passages from the novel deliver how the mindsets and lives of the people in rustic China differed from those of the people in the city. Unlike Goose Village, life in the Muji city was changed drastically for women and men living under the watchful eyes of the Chinese military and government. “That change is set in the context of the Cultural Revolution, where the relationship between married military men and unmarried women is strictly controlled” (Moore, 124). Because superiors and those who worked for Chairman Mao, were extremely afraid to break the rules set in place, even if those rules upset their happiness. At the beginning of the novel, Jin explains the circumstances under which Lin and Manna were allowed to meet: “…they couldn’t live together and could only eat at the same table in the mess hall and take walks on the hospital grounds. The hospital’s regulations prohibited a man and a woman on the staff from walking together outside the compound, unless they were married or engaged” (Jin, 16). Even though Lin and Manna had projection to be married one day, they were not allowed to meet outside the hospital because Lin was a married guy. The heads of the hospital synchronized everything their employees did, making it unattainable for Lin and Manna to have a real...

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