49 pages 1 hour read

Ha Jin

The Bridegroom

Fiction | Short Story Collection | Adult | Published in 2000

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Stories 1-3

Story 1 Summary: “Saboteur”

Mr. Chiu has lunch with his bride near Muji Train Station. A railroad policeman sitting at a table nearby throws a bowl of tea at the couple. Mr. Chiu confronts the policeman, but the policeman denies throwing the tea. When Mr. Chiu continues to argue, the policeman arrests Mr. Chiu. During his apprehension, Mr. Chiu shouts to his wife to send someone to help him at the police station.

The policeman takes Mr. Chiu to a cell at the Railroad Police Station. In the afternoon, the police interview him an office. The police chief tells Mr. Chiu that his crime is sabotage. Mr. Chiu defends himself, arguing that the police owe him an apology for treating him unfairly. The police chief responds, “We can easily prove you are guilty” (8). He demands that Mr. Chiu write out a note of self-criticism that says that he won’t “disrupt the public order again” (8). Mr. Chiu refuses to write such a note and returns to his cell.

Mr. Chiu begins to get sick in his cell. He asks for help but receives none. He spends Sunday resting. On Monday morning he looks out the window and sees a former student of his, a man named Fenjin, fastened to a tree, moaning and struggling.