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Saboteur, Dead Men’s Path Comparison

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Ashley Boucher

Mrs. Sakwe

English 1020

12-3-16

Saboteur,  Dead Men’s Path Comparison

The stories “Saboteur” by Ha Jin, and “Dead Men’s Path” by Chinua Achebe, are very similar in some ways, but also very different. However, in order to compare the two stories, first let’s get some background information on the two stories. “Saboteur” by Ha Jin takes place immediately following the end of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.  The setting of the story is the city of Muji City. The main character is Mr. Chiu, who is a teacher at a college. He has just recovered from hepatitis and still feels some of the effects from having hepatitis. Mr. Chiu and his new bride are returning from their honeymoon.  They are sitting outside eating their lunch, minding their own business, while waiting on the train to take them back to their home. Then an unfortunate event with a corrupt police officer, in a corrupt nation, put a turn on events. The officer’s sitting next to them threw a bowl of tea on Mr. Chiu and his bride. Mr. Chiu tries to speak up, however the police officers called him a saboteur and he was arrested for disturbing the peace. Mr. Chiu was furious.

The fact he had not done anything wrong, but was put in a situation shows the corruptness of the police force. As Mr. Chiu is being carried by away reluctantly by the police force, he instructs his bride to send someone for him in a couple of days if he has not called or returned. At the police station, Mr. Chiu is given the opportunity to be released by confessing to his crime, that he spilled the tea on himself and falsely accused the officers. Mr. Chiu knows that he is innocent and refuses to do so. Mr. Chiu tells the men that they owe him an apology and that he should receive a proper one. He also requests his medication to help control his liver condition. He obtains neither his apology, nor his medication from the men, and Mr. Chiu is put back into his cell. As Mr. Chiu awakens one morning, he notices someone chained up outside in the hot sun. He then recognizes the person and realizes that it is one of his students who have been sent by his wife. In order to get out of jail and save his students life, Mr. Chiu agrees to sign the document stating he was at fault. Mr. Chui and the student are then both released. After they are released, Mr. Chiu is of course outraged. He begins to dine at several restaurants before he decides to head home. The reasoning is not bluntly stated, however later some time later over eight hundred people are infected with hepatitis. This was Mr. Chiu’s way of getting revenge.

In the beginning of the story, Mr. Chiu stands by ethics and what he believes is right, but after he witnesses what the police are doing and how they are unlawfully treating him he conforms. The actions of the police lead him to infecting over eight hundred people with hepatitis, thus conforming him into a saboteur. Chiu being called a saboteur is an example of symbolism. During the beginning of the story the police called him a saboteur, even though he was not one. As the story went on Mr. Chit conformed and then tried to get even or get revenge with the police, and by purposely infecting others with hepatitis. Ironically, he eventually became a saboteur, which he was falsely accused of to begin with.

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