A critical analysis on Ha Jin's Under the Red Flag.

Essay by polstallion September 2004

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Reading the stories in Ha Jins' Under The Red Flag, the reader will go through many troubled thoughts. Ha Jin uses a lot of satire in his stories to pint out human nature. The satire I will try to bring out is the greed in humans. There are many different types of greed from power, money, or even love.

In Ha Jins' story "The Richest Man," Li is accused of mutiny. Through out the story Li is introduced as being a wealthy man but very cheap with it never giving any of it away to charity and always haggling with sales folk. Because of this all the townspeople hate him, since he also never lets anyone borrow his things. Later on in the story Li is accused of mutiny for dropping their leader's button. Never giving Li a chance to explain himself the community yells at him and taunts him.

"Li quivered, because he remembered that this .......... You meant to say to him, 'Look, we are all starving because of you leadership (pg 74)." In that quote, Ha Jin sets up of how hatred for one person can lead in to such greed to see him fail in life. Since the townspeople were unable to try out Li's things they rather see him rot. In the end Li was found guilty and the townspeople were able to use his things but ended up breaking everything he owned.

In another twist, Ha Jin writes about the greed for power in the story "Fortune." In this story a father is doped into believing a fortune teller that his son is the reason for all his misfortunes in life. Throughout the story the reader is shown how unlucky the father was, while his son only 14 already lived a...