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Analysis on the novel, Waiting by Ha Jin.

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Today I'm going to give an analysis on the novel, Waiting by Ha Jin. To start with, I'll give you some short background information on the author. Ha Jin was born in 1956 in Liaoning, China where he spent his childhood during the Cultural Revolution. When he was fourteen, he joined and served the People's Liberation Army for six years. This allowed him to experience the suffering lives of the people during that time, and so he learned of their culture and their thoughts and habits. Having experienced this first-hand, Ha Jin had built the background of his future writings. He left China in 1985 for the United States to further study English literature, and earned a PhD. His works include two award-winning collections of stories, some poetry and the novel Waiting, which is the winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction and also is the winner of the 2000 PEN/Faulkner award. Waiting is set in the time of the Cultural Revolution, based on a story that his wife told him the first he went to meet his in-laws (since they served in an army hospital). It tells a story about Lin Kong, a doctor practicing at an Army hospital in Muji City in China. There he has fallen in love with Manna Wu, a modern urban woman who works as a nurse in the same hospital. But Shuyu, his country wife in Goose Village refuses to divorce him, though besides Hua, their daughter, there is no love in their arranged marriage. ...read more.


The order of the world is rooted in every family, as Confucius said." But for Ha Jin, language was not a problem. He, who was once a Red Army soldier, is able to provide vivid imagery of the scenes using very simple language. Here are two examples of simple language used to describe nature scenes: the first one is the scene of the march in the winter of 1966 from Part One, chapter three; it describes the work going on in the pale moonlight, and that "stars glittered like brass nuggets above the pine woods that were swaying wave after wave in the south". The second example is in Part two, chapter 11, after Manna has told Lin that she was raped by Geng Yang, "A swarm of sparrows drifted past like a floating net and then disappeared in the leafless branches of a willow". These beautifully detailed scenes are realistic, told in very direct and stripped down language. A combination of this simple language with the imagery, allows the reader to feel the characters' frustrations. Describing nature is a tool that Ha Jin applied to when Lin runs into a problem and this creates a sense of silence, a time for thinking, allowing the reader to feel that he is watching the scene from Lin's very own eyes. Though the story itself is sometimes irritating slow, it actually builds up a tension as we wait for Shuyu to let Lin go. ...read more.


Since there are so many unknown things, we can only conclude that everyone falls in love. It's a fact. Man and woman fall in love. This is one of the universal appeals that Ha Jin uses in the novel and by applying it as a theme, he has achieved the universal idea that love goes on, leaving time behind. * Secondly, there are the symbols and the structure of the novel, which represent time. The main characters are direct representations of a framing device. In the novel, the characters are given time and opportunity to self-discover, but because they are so wrapped up with waiting for someone or something, they miss the wonderful opportunity to do so. Now, life seems like a one-way road, where in the beginning we are born and in the end, we die. But life is a cycle, while we live we try to share with others, and love gives a meaning and purpose to share until you reach the last stop at the grave. So your time in life is the second universal idea that Ha Jin has fused into the novel, and he has done that through the theme of waiting, the representations of the characters and the structure of the novel itself. To conclude this presentation, that very short summary of life, about how life is a cycle, shows us how well this Chinese author has been able to reach universality through the aspect of where our existence is naturally to be born, to take a journey through time, to love and to die. ...read more.

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