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Love is in the Air

The story is straightforwardly written by the author and it makes the story feel more simplistic, easy to follow, and allows the reader to focus more on the character. Ha Jin intertwines his Chinese culture with the English language. The story should be done like this because the setting is in Mao-era China. However, his story doesn’t require too much context when it comes to understanding the plot because the historical context has nothing to do with it. At the same time, he makes the setting realistic and natural, which makes prevents separation between the characters and their surroundings.

Kang’s obsession in the girl is strange as it could be experienced in real life. What I am interested in is the absence of the girl’s actual person, and how Ha Jin chooses to keep her name a secret until the end of the story. This decision by the author makes Kang’s infatuation with her much more unique, as it heightens his pettiness over his love for a voice. The addition of a love triangle provides another conflict to Kang’s story, as he feels like he is being challenged by Shi’s existence. He knows that the latter is younger, better looking, and comes from a better background than him, and Ha Jin’s inclusion of such information shows us the realization that Kang acknowledges about Shi.

Kang himself is a well-rounded character with a believable personality. He is naive, delusional, and pitiful. His delusion comes from fantasizing about the body to the ‘voice’ of the transmitter; he is naive because he has childish views on love; he is pitiful because of all the other traits. Regardless of what you feel about Kang, the way Ha Jin writes him makes him a sorry character.

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