Essay 3 Draft
English 1121 (Prof. Scanlan)
May 17, 2020
A Good Fall
In Ha Jin’s “A Good Fall,” the central characters are Ganchin, Master Zong, Cindy, and Fanku. In this story, a Monk named Ganchin who worked as a kung fu teacher got fired from his job by Master Zong. Master Zong wouldn’t give Ganchin the money that he owed him and he took his passport away so Ganchin had no money and had nowhere to go. Cindy tried to help Ganchin by letting him stay at her house but Ganchin decided to live with Fanku. While living with Fanku, Master Zong Kidnaps Ganchin and takes him to the airport so that he can go back to China but Ganchin escapes. The ethics shown by Master Zong is utilitarian ethics and Cindy and Fanku are virtue ethics.
Holly E. Martin’s article “Falling Into America: The Downside of Transnational Identities in Ha Jin’s A God Fall” explores the lives of immigrants living in flushing Chinatown. In another article “Kant’s Contribution to moral education: the relevance of catechists by Chris W. Surprenant, Surprenant speaks about virtue ethics. While one article speaks about the short story “A Good Fall” and the other article talks about virtue ethics, both articles will be able to help understand the ethics of all four characters. In order to show this, I will first talk about Ganchin getting fired, Second, I will talk about how Cindy and Fanku try to help Ganchin, Lastly, I will talk about how Master Zong kidnapped Ganchin.
In the short story “A Good Fall” by Ha Jin, Ganchin is a kung fu teacher who got fired from his job at the Gaolin Temple. He asked Master Zong for the money that he owed him but Master Zong refused to give him his money. “We don’t owe you any money” (336) Ganchin would continue speaking to Master Zong telling him that he needs his money and that he deserves it “Master Zong, I worked for you for more than two years and never made any trouble. Now that you fire me, you should give me at least my salary so I can go back and clear the debt I owe” (337) but Master Zong still refuses to give him his money. “We’ve provided lodging and board for you. This is New York, where everything’s expensive. As a matter of fact, we paid you a lot more than fifteen hundred a month” (337). After Ganchin tried to get his money, Master Zong took his passport and inserted it into his robe. “I can’t let you have your papers if you stay on illegally. From now on you’re on your own, and you must move out tomorrow. I don’t care where you go. Your visa has expired and you’re an illegal alien, a lawbreaker” (337). From this scene, you can tell how Ganchin felt betrayed by Master Zong after working for him for over 2 years. “Life in Flushing does not bring the material wealth or the freedom from obligations in China some immigrants are expecting” (Martin). Master Zong shows utilitarian ethics. He is very selfish and doesn’t care about Ganchin. He just used Ganchin to get money for himself.
After getting fired from his job, Ganchin went out to meet up with his friend Cindy. They spoke about Ganchin getting fired and his living situation. Cindy told Ganchin that she could stay at her place “You know, you can always use my place. I’m on trips most of the time anyway” (338) but he refused and told her that he would stay at his friend’s house “Thanks. I may be able to stay with my friend for the time being” (338). Ganchin was worrying about his situation and Cindy tried to help him figure out what to do. “You shouldn’t worry so much, sweetie. If worse comes to worst, you should consider marrying a woman, a U.S. citizen” (338). Ganchin responded, “I’m a monk and can’t think of anything like that” (338). He then started speaking about how he wished he was an illegal coolie so that he can restart his life but he’s never worked outside the temple and doesn’t have any skills. Cindy tried to help him by telling him that he can do something with the skill that he does have “Come on – you can teach Martial arts” (339). From this scene, you can tell how much Cindy cares for Ganchin and wants him to be good. She wants to make sure that Ganchin tries to find something so that he doesn’t struggle. “she continues to encourage Ganchin to change”(Martin). When Ganchin moved into Fanku’s house, Fanku was very kind and helped Ganchin out by giving him a place to sleep. “Here, you can sleep on this” (339) He also provided food and money for him. “Fanku let his guest use whatever for he had in the studio for free, while he himself ate at work.” “He lent Ganchin sixty dollars” “Fanku often brought back food for Ganchin, a box of rice mixed with pork roast, or a bag of fish croquettes, or a bunch of egg rolls and spareribs.” (340). Cindy and Fanku both show Virtue. Cindy tries to help Ganchin and stays thinking positively about the situation that he is in. Fanku helps out Ganchin by giving him a place to live, food, and money. “virtue requires an individual to develop ‘a frame of mind that is both valiant and cheerful in fulfilling its duties” (Surprenant).
Fanku told Ganchin to wait in the house for the superintendent but Master Zong showed up instead. Master Zong went to Ganchin so that he can send him back to china “We won’t hurt you. We’re just helping you go home, to keep you from deterioration into a bum” (344). Ganchin asked him where they were taking him and master Zong replied, “To the airport.” Ganchin was too weak to fight so he obeyed them. Zong told Ganchin that he bought a plane ticket for Ganchin to go home “Don’t be upset. I bought the plane ticket for you and will give you some cash for our travel expenses. When you check in at the counter, I’ll let you have your passport.” (344). Ganchin started telling him that he kidnapped him and Zong laughed at him. On the way to the airport, ganchin was thinking of a way to escape. They parked in a garage and took him to the airport. Master Zong continued to tell Ganchin that he’s just doing this for his reputation. “They just didn’t want to sully chinas image by letting an ocher-robed monk roam the streets of New York. That would tarnish the temple’s reputation as well.” (344). Ganchin was trying to think of a way to escape and then a passenger cart with three rows of seats was passing by and he got on it. He finally escaped. Master Zong is again showing utilitarian ethics by being selfish. “The story “A Good Fall” does demonize Master Zong” (Martin). He kidnapped Ganchin and took him to the airport so that Ganchin being homeless doesn’t tarnish his temple.
Both Articles helped better understand the ethics being shown in this short story. Martin’s article spoke about Ganchin, Cindy, and Master Zong. He spoke about the short story and how immigrant’s lives are in flushing Chinatown. Surprenant’s article spoke about virtue ethics. It helped show how Cindy and Fanku use Virtue ethics when helping out Ganchin.