Term Paper: Ha Jin's "In the Pond

Pages: 4 (1415 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Even do with the novel is set in Communist China, which many people may not relate to very well, it is an interesting novel and the character of Shao Bin is someone that everyone feels they can relate to. Bin's plight is the plight of every working person who has ever been wronged by selfish and greedy employers, or wronged by individuals who simply don't stop to think about others than themselves. There are many people like that in the working world today, and it is important that people are reminded that one person can make a difference, if causing change is important enough.

The character of Bin, and the characters of his supervisors, is very believable. It would have been easy for his supervisors to seem very one-dimensional as villains, but they are portrayed as real people through moments of vulnerability. It is easy for someone reading this novel to truly begin to dislike Bin's supervisors, and actually detest them by the time the reading is done. No matter what they do, they are simply not likable people. They are selfish and greedy, and they do not see much value in someone's life, as long as it is not their own. They see themselves as extremely valuable people, but individuals such as Bin are expendable and can be replaced.

Bin, on the other hand, is a kind and compassionate person, and this shows throughout the work. He is a caring person who is upset not at just his lot in life but at the working men in general who must deal with supervisors such as the ones Bin has to tolerate. Even though he is kind and caring, he becomes frustrated at the lack of concern his supervisors show for him and his family. This is a perfectly believable emotion for Bin to have at this point in the novel, and most readers would be terribly surprised if he did not.

Instead of just sitting back and hoping that things would get better, like most people would, Bin decides to change his life. By doing so, he may inadvertently change the lives of other workingmen, both now and in the future. He is indignant about the conditions that he has been forced into, and it is easy to see that his upset and despair at this situation is extremely justified. This makes his actions in drawing the cartoons much more believable than many other actions would have been. In one point in the novel, a supervisor sits upon Bin's face in order to silence him, but Bin bites down on the man's rear end instead. This is not only for amusement value, but it is also symbolic as the fact that Bin is not a butt-kissing type of person, and will strenuously avoid it if possible.

Bin is not perfect, however, and this only works to make him more believable. At times, his self absorption with his cartoons and the frustration that he faces at the hands of his supervisors can become somewhat annoying, and he almost appears to be obsessive in his behavior. This is good, however, because stories where the hero is perfect and the bad guys are stereotypical are usually not very interesting. This story is less predictable than most, and this is largely due to the fact that Ha Jin really makes the characters come to life.

If it were not for the strength of character that Bin possesses, the novel would not be as interesting. The story is a timeless one, and is told, metaphorically, everywhere that there are people who are working for those who are unkind. It is told, metaphorically, everywhere that small people are oppressed by those who are larger in power than themselves. For these reasons, it has been told countless times and will be told well into the future. It is the tale of how someone can make a difference if they want to badly enough, and how sometimes getting something for their effort is enough, even if it was not the original thing that they were trying for in the first place. [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Ha Jin's "In the Pond.  (2003, April 10).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ha-jin-pond/1262925

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"Ha Jin's "In the Pond."  10 April 2003.  Web.  19 June 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/ha-jin-pond/1262925>.

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"Ha Jin's "In the Pond."  Essaytown.com.  April 10, 2003.  Accessed June 19, 2019.