“Saboteur” and “Everyday Use” Literary Comparison Essay
The stories we are going to talk about are Saboteur by Ha Jin and Everyday Use by Alice Walker. The first one centers around some unfair punishment, which the main character Mr. Chiu is suffering and his strange way to take revenge on people.
The second story describes the life of a common family in which even tenor is interrupted by the visit of one of the daughters of Mama and their different understanding of identity. These two stories are absolutely different, and the main characters are different too. They possess qualities that distinguish them from each other, making Mr. Chiu and Mama absolutely dissimilar.
The main character of the story, Saboteur, is Mr. Chiu. He is a very well educated person working as a lecturer at Harbin University (Jin para. 34). He has just returned from his honeymoon and wants to enjoy a day to day routine. However, there is one thing that darkens his life. It is the fact that “he had suffered from acute hepatitis” (Jin para. 4) This knowledge becomes very important for the development of the story.
Being imprisoned, he shows qualities which are peculiar for a noble, high educated though a bit naive person. He believes in justice and the ideal of tolerance as it was proclaimed that “all citizens were equal before the law” (Jin para. 27). However, another part of his nature is shown at the end of the story. Being irritated, he just wants to take revenge, infecting people with hepatitis. He serves as a typical image of a despaired intellectual who is totally exhausted.
The main character of another story is Mama. She is totally different. She serves as an embodiment of the image of the working woman “I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man working hands. In the winter, I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls dur.ing the day. I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man” (Walker, para. 5).
Of course, she is not educated. She finished only one class, and she cannot even read. Her character corresponds to her look. The story is presented from her point of view, and her thoughts sound very steadily without any complicated constructions. However, she is a good woman who is satisfied with her life, and she loves her children and cares about them. Her daughter Dee comes to her after a long pause, totally different; however, she does not deprive her of mothers love.
From the first point of view, these two main characters seem to be very different. It is possible to oppose well educated and intelligent Mr. Chiu to uneducated mother of two daughters. He believes in some high ideas of tolerance and human rights, while she seems to be totally indifferent to these words. Life is her best teacher, and she shows the existence of some kind of worldly wisdom. While Mr. Chiu does not have any sign of it. His attempt to go against the system perfectly demonstrates it.
It can be taken as the great desire to attain justice; however, form another point of view, he just behaves himself silly admonishing the policeman. The great difference can also be seen in the endings of the stories. An uneducated woman shows more compassion, love, and understanding of her identity than intelligent Mr. Chiu, who infects a great number of innocent people in his blind desire to take revenge.
Jin, Ha. Saboteur. 2000. Web.
Walker, Alice. Everyday Use. 1973. Web.
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