The Bridegroom Characters in: “The Bad Joke”, “The Saboteur”, and “In the Kindergarten”
Throughout these stories, three characters were faced with a problem, but none of them came up with an appropriate solution to their problem. Chairman Lou handled his problem in “The Bad Joke” in the typical way that a communist would. He did not hear both sides of the argument and then decide what would be the most equitable ruling. He, instead, dealt with the problem in a way which would keep the Chinese people in fear of their communist government. The way that Chairman Lou dealt with the problem was efficient and it accomplished the task, but it was not a fair way to handle the problem. Obviously, the reading informs us that two Chinese peasants made a joke which was told and retold and eventually sounded as if it were anti-communist. They were initially taken in by the local police, but the two men acted as if they were completely ignorant on all things political, and they swore their allegiance to the communist party. The local police did not feel comfortable holding them in prison or punishing them; so, they let the two peasants go.
But, because the joke grew in fame and continued to spread, the two peasants were brought back in to face a very short ruler named Chairman Lou. He decided that the two should be punished, regardless of whether or not the joke, and its anti-communist overtones, was all one big misunderstanding. This decision resulted in both men being sentenced to one month of prison. This was a very cruel ruling, considering that one of the peasants had not even thatched his roof for winter, and he claimed that his wife and children would freeze because of that. But, even worse than that, this was an unbelievably harsh sentence for two people who had only told a joke. Furthermore, it was not as if they had been putting the joke on TV or in the newspapers. They had simply told it in passing. Chairman Lou’s solution may have prevented any jokes like this from being told in the future, but it was a very harsh, cruel, and unjust way to solve a problem.
Mr. Chiu deals with his problem in a very vicious and vindictive way. Though he has been treated very poorly by the Chinese police, he takes out his frustration on those who have not harmed him. This seems unnecessary and very unkind. But, when one is treated like a criminal, and they have committed no crime, it can drive a man to do things which are very unethical. Mr. Chui should have never been arrested when he was with his wife. The police were very unreasonable when he was initially arrested. But, Mr. Chui was wise when he told his bride not to try to follow along and help him. He knew that would only put the both of in danger. Thankfully, she listened, but she was not of much help because she sent along Mr. Chui’s former student. Fenjin, the former student, was a very kind man and also a lawyer. Unfortunately, he did not know how to deal with cruel guards. The guards abused and tortured Fenjin. Eventually though, Fenjin and Mr. Chui were able to leave after Mr. Chui, signed a confession. The confession claimed that Chui had been disruptive and unreasonable at the train station. After he signed the confession, they released them both, but Mr. Chuie was so angered by how poorly he had been treated that he went and spread his hepatitis disease in as many restaurants as possible.
This was an improper way for Mr. Chui to go about solving his problem He had already been released from jail by signing the confession. Hurting innocent people, in no way hurt or harmed the communist officials that had treated him so poorly in the prison. If he really wanted revenge for what they had done to him, he should have confronted each of them personally, rather than create a hepatitis epidemic. Teacher Shen found a solution to her problem by improperly using her kindergarten students. Though Teacher Shen was in a very tough position, she compounded her bad situation by forcing her students to work for her. Surprisingly, very few or maybe only one of her students understood that the teacher was using them to perform gardening labor for her.
The story opened with Teacher Shen begging Dr. Niu to give her more time, apparently for her to pay him. She claimed that she was currently broke. It appeared that he did not give in to her request. Thereafter, she took her kindergarten students over to a man named Uncle Chang’s fields to pick purslanes. She showed them the proper way to pick the vegetables, and the children did it with great excitement and enthusiasm.The children are told that they taste delicious, and they look forward to eating them at dinner that night. But, when dinner comes they eat the same bland, tasteless food that they do every night, and they are very disappointed. It is then that Shaona, a student at the school, realizes what is going on. Shaona had seen the teacher give Uncle Chang a third of the purslanes. Then she knew that they were not eating the purslanes at dinner. So, she knew that their teacher had taken the purslanes home with her. Shaona was surprised that none of the other students realized that they were being used. But, Shaona did not tell any of her classmates what Teacher Shen was doing. By treating her students this way, Teacher Shen showed that her morals were very weak, but it did show that she was utilizing all of her resources to her best advantage. However, she should not have lied to these children. It was not their fault that Teacher Shen was in such bad financial shape. If she truly wanted to enlist the kids help, she should have told them her situation and asked for their help. Lying to them was not the right thing to do. So, all of these characters made bad by choices in how to deal with their problems. The first, Chairman Lou, used cruel and unnecessary force; Mr. Chiu took his revenge against the wrong people and caused a hepatitis outbreak; and Teacher Shen lied to and mistreated her students. Therefore none of these characters properly dealt with their problems.