What does the doctor say about homosexuality in “The Bridegroom”?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the story "The Bridegroom" by Ha Jin we find our main character, Huang Baowen, suffering a terrible conflict: Although he is married, he is obviously homosexual. To make matters worse, his immediate society in China holds homosexuality as a punishable crime.

The doctors make an interesting point of view in the story. They are divided in terms of whether homosexuality is a disease, a condition, an inherited trait, or a psychological disorder. In some instances the story hints at the fact that not everyone in China, in fact maybe in a greater majority, believes that homosexuality is a disease. However, the law in communist and socialist nations is to be followed. This is the message we get from the doctor:

...being gay is not a sickness, it cannot be cured.Electrotherapy is prescribed by the book- A standard treatment required by the Department of Public Health. I have no choice but to follow the regulations.  

In other words, the doctors are Baowen's sexual preferences are not to be switched nor changed simply because: They do not have a clear causative factor. It is not an illness to be a homosexual, hence, no cure can ever take it away. Even as Baowen undergoes some of the harshest treatments, he is still attracted to me. The family of his wife would feel at ease and happy whenever the treatments were given because they truly believed that Baowen could be cured. They were all completely far from the truth. Baowen had to suffer due to the ignorance of an ill-informed society.

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The Bridegroom

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