Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

What do Ha Jin’s novels and stories reveal about the impact of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party on the common people of China?

In what ways does Ha Jin use irony to enhance readers’ understanding of the major characters in Waiting?

How does Ha Jin’s simple, reportorial style of story telling in War Trash affect readers’ perceptions both of Yu Yuan and of the international conflict in which he is a pawn?

Although Ha Jin’s works are set in Communist China, in what ways are the struggles of characters such as Lin Kong, Manna Wu, Shuyu, or Yu Yuan indicative of those faced by individuals in other countries and cultures?

Ha Jin has said that living in the United States has made him more aware of concepts such as “freedom” and “identity.” In what ways do his works reveal something about the conflicts between these concepts and Chinese culture?