"Saboteur" by Ha Jin full of ironic events.The story takes place following the cultural revolution. Mr. Chiu is a communist in good standing which becomes ironic since it is the communist police who create the devastating problems for him. He and his wife are returning from their honeymoon. Both are anxious to get to their home. Mr. Chiu has recently recovered from hepatitis and is still weak.
Irony is at the heart of the story:
- Mr. Chiu is arrested for complaining
- The police are the villains
- The innocent man is charged with sabotage
- His wife sends an amateur lawyer rather than the best that she could find to save her husband
- The lawyer is saved by his client
- The revenge is served at the expense of innocent victims
All of these incidences are ironic in the circumstances of the story.
Sitting quietly eating his lunch, Mr. Chiu is upset when a policeman purposefully spills his drink on Mr. Chiu's new leather shoes. When he confronts the policeman, Mr. Chiu is arrested and taken to jail. He is charged with disorderly conduct and sabotage.
Mr. Chiu will have to stay in jail over the weekend to see the magistrate on Monday. He becomes ill and knows that his hepatitis is relapsing. The authorities tell him that they can do nothing for him. He rests and fumes until Monday morning.
He is awakened by the sounds of moaning. Mr. Chiu looks out the window and finds his lawyer tied to a tree after having been tortured. Mr. Chiu has to save his lawyer and himself by signing a false confession.
After his release, Mr. Chiu feels terribly ill.
In his chest he felt as though there were a bomb. If he were able to, he would have razed the entire police station and eliminated all their families. Though he knew he could do nothing like that, he made up his mind to do something.
Unfortunately, Mr. Chiu becomes the wrongful avenger. He visits several cafes and contaminates them with his hepatitis. As a consequence, he exacts revenge but on innocent people: eight hundred people contract the disease with six people dying.
Mr. Chiu essentially lands in the role of the saboteur exacting his vengeance in a public way.