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The Life of Ha Jin

            Authors don't come up with unique and elaborate plot lines without any form of inspiration. Often times this inspiration comes from real life experiences and troubles. This couldn't be more true with Ha Jin, author of The Bridegroom and many other novels. The Bridegroom spans three short stories all with commentary by the author on social issues he underwent in China as well as in modern day America. Ha Jin's experiences as a youth in the People's Liberation Army and as well as a foreigner in America inspired his anthology of The Bridegroom. .
             The first story in The Bridegroom is so appropriately called "Saboteur". The story depicts a newlywed couple, Chiu Maguang and his bride are enjoying a nice day at a train station after their honeymoon. A police officer throws tea at the couple, and Chiu is arrested after being verbally and physically assaulted. Chiu and his lawyer Fenjin are tortured while being held in prison for no crime. However, Chiu contracts his recurring acute hepatitis during his prison time, and after his release he makes a harrowing choice. He decides to visit a lot of restaurants and public places. The story ends with an outbreak of acute hepatitis in the city of Muji. When Ha Jin was thirteen, he joined the People's Liberation Army during China's Cultural Revolution. Ha Jin recalls " I had served in the [People's Liberation] Army to protect the people. Suddenly the whole thing was reversed. I just couldn't reconcile it." (Johnson 1). Ha Jin's struggle of being in the army at such a young age during a violent time caused him resentment and a lasting anger of being stuck in that situation.These long lasting feelings can be seen in his fictional character, Chiu. Chiu's rough experience with the law, and his revenge by infecting everyone with acute hepatitis are manifestations of Jin's feelings towards the government, and the Communist regime of China at the time.

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