English 1121 (Prof. Scanlan)
May 14, 2020
Evolution Over Time
In “A Good Fall,” by Ha Jin, the central characters are Ganchin and Master Zong along with Fanku and Cindy. This story is about Ganchin, a Chinese immigrant that lives in New York who works at a temple. Ganchin decided to be a monk and a kung fu teacher because he had experience in that field and needed to make a living. Master Zong took advantage of Ganchin before and after he fired him. He decides to not give him his passport and salary. The conflict appears when Master Zong wants Ganchin to go back to his country. Fortunately enough there were people in the story that helped Ganchin along the way. Fanku provided him a place to stay, food and a bit of money. Cindy gives him advice and offers help through every single process. This situation escalated when Master Zong immediately took action and kidnapped him to the airport. The story conveys ethics in actions shown are reasons of legality, solidarity and morality.
Ha Jin’s “A Good Fall” is about the challenges that Ganchin took risks to shape his life by making sacrifices. When someone has the intentions of doing something bad, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad person but the ethics they follow. Therefore, while Master Zong wasn’t a great person towards Ganchin, he followed Utilitarianism of what is right and wrong. I believe Ganchin is a great person to anyone and follows virtue ethics more than a utilitarian because he focuses on characteristics rather than consequences. In order to prove this, I will first describe the airport scene in our life using our class handout. Second, I will use Jerry A. Varsava’s article “An Interview with Ha Jin,” and Kera Bolonik’s article “Next Stop, Main Street; Ha Jin’s new stories go where the new immigrants do: Flushing’s Chinatown” to compare the ideas of “evolving perceptions” to give readers a feel of his struggles and immigrant process. These two articles will help me understand virtue and utilitarian ethics on behalf of people’s motives (Master Zong’s bad intention) and (Cindy and Fanku’s good intentions).
The most important thing to notice is that the story starts off with Master Zong and Ganchin, their actions differ from one another. Master Zong is aggressive towards Ganchin because he is an immigrant and doesn’t have citizenship. From the class handouts, each ethic is proven by a certain theory and everyone may follow that due to their living backgrounds of where they came from or grew up in. Ganchin came from China and acts very resservant because he’s unsure who to rely on. Luckily, he saw Cindy who was his fellow martial arts student. She was encouraging and giving him advice. Cindy was born in America and had a stronger mindset of the America’s big dream to never give up. After the talk Ganchin and Cindy had, he realized that Master Zong was preventing him from getting a citizenship. The whole time he kept his documents on his hands. And the moment at the airport, this scene provides a point of Master Zong’s ethics following Utilitarianism. He believed what he was doing was considered right because Ganchin was an illegal immigrant in the United States. However, with Ganchin’s situation of coming to the United States is to have a better life. He is following more of virtue ethics. This creates the balance in the phase of people’s line “there will always be good and bad” or focusing on a symbol of yin and yang. Ganchin thought to himself he must escape when Master Zong isn’t looking. Based on our class notes, the question of “how we should live ”, Ganchin at that moment had thought that to himself and made his own decision, which he did. In “A Good Fall,” Ha Jin describes scenarios of what Ganchi thinks Master Zong may do. For instance, “Master Zong might be able to get him on the plane, claiming he was mentally ill, dangerous like a terrorist, and must be sent home for treatment” (344). Master Zong’s ethic is shown here because it’s believable of something he would say. He was self aware that Master Zong’s utilitarianism can ruin his plan. While he did get away by getting into someone’s passenger cart, he was stopped by a man when helping the couple take their stuff out. Ganchin couldn’t understand the man, instead he said thank you and went off. This reflects virtue ethics because he was more focused on himself than anyone else.
Evolving perceptions is like an immigrant coming to the United States having their reasons based on the things they want in life (tangible or intangible). In the article, “An Interview with Ha Jin,” Varsava is basically interviewing Ha Jin, an immigrant writer and human rights advocate. From Ha Jin, Varsava finds out that he was a Red Guard and his family suffered from having a place to live. The idea of him seeing “evolving perceptions” from then to now. It seems that he carries the traditional hard work. In comparison, Bolonik describes his background and his current life. The social advocate carries with him since a child so his actions have been full with good intentions. What this means is that Ganchi followed virtue knowing what type of people he should be due to the circumstances. The way he wanted to make a change for the people he was surrounded by. Similarly, Fanku and Cindy made the decision to help Ganchi because that was what he felt was right and an act of friendship. Varsava stated “Ha Jin has more recently disavowed this self-assigned role, preferring to accentuate the priority of his own independent “personal voice” and, equally, the limits of literature as “social struggle.” This means that Ganchin is able to differentiate between the questions of what sort of person should I be and how I should live.