HA JIN THE CRAZED PDF

So the non-Chinese reader can be a little lost here without that background. The Cultural Revolution was a world turned upside down. Anyone subject to foreign influencesintellectuals, officials, students, artists and dissidentswas labeled a "rightist" or "counterrevolutionary. Anyone subject to foreign influences—intellectuals, officials, students, artists and dissidents—was labeled a "rightist" or "counterrevolutionary.

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So the non-Chinese reader can be a little lost here without that background. The Cultural Revolution was a world turned upside down. Anyone subject to foreign influencesintellectuals, officials, students, artists and dissidentswas labeled a "rightist" or "counterrevolutionary. Anyone subject to foreign influences—intellectuals, officials, students, artists and dissidents—was labeled a "rightist" or "counterrevolutionary.

They were sent to labor and re-education camps where they were tortured and killed. The impact on the lives of innocent Chinese is almost beyond the grasp of human imagination. In their biography, Mao: The Unknown Story , authors Jung Chang and Jon Halliday claim that 70 million Chinese were killed by Mao in peacetime due to his various wrong-headed policies such as the collectivization of agriculture and the Cultural Revolution, which often turned children against parents.

Sent to a re-education camp during the period--roughly Yang drifted away from his wife who took up with another man to get by in Chinese society. Yang may understand the practicality of that move on some level, but after the stroke, when we come upon him in the hospital, out pours all his humiliation and invective in an almost nonstop torrent of abuse.

He realizes his own life must change after a last minute trip to Tiananmen Square. It is , just before the Red Army cracks down on the student movement. Ha Jin presents the reader with a pattern: Prof. Jian admits: I saw China in the form of an old hag so decrepit and brainsick that she would devour her children to sustain herself.

Insatiable, she had eaten many tender lives before, was gobbling up new flesh and blood now, and would surely swallow more.

With the commotion of two nights ago still in my ears, I feared I was going to lose my mind. Thus Jian under the stress becomes one of the "crazed," too. There are, Jin implies, millions like him. China has learned nothing from its own past since it possesses no genuine tradition of historical inquiry. In the Santayanan sense then it is doomed to repeat its worst mistakes. But Jian sees the pattern, and he is determined not to be devoured.

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The Crazed

US-based Ha Jin did this admirably in the award-winning Waiting, a doleful Chekhovian tale which balanced the horrors of Chinese officialdom against a bitter love story. His follow-up, The Crazed, attempts a similar sleight of hand. At first glance Ha Jin appears to have lost some of his lightness of touch. There is a depressing, communism-by-numbers feel about the way he drops background detail into the plot. Thus in the first 50 pages or so we learn of the confiscation of imported Bibles, the ban on electric stoves in student dormitories and the housing crisis facing young married couples.

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Reading Group Guide

Do you agree with her? Why did Ha Jin choose Jian as the narrator? How does his lack of objectivity affect your reading? Is his version of the events throughout the course of the novel believable? Is this ultimately a coming-of-age novel?

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