The fictional story "The Internet Baby" by Guo Xiaolu presents interesting facts about the low social, economic status of the people of China. I like the energy of the young couple, Yuli and Weiming, is struggling to better their future, Yuli through education and Weiming through hard work. Their zeal is portrayed in different ways when the young girlfriend discovers her growing belly, she is determined to get rid of the baby as soon as it was born with the collaborative help of her boyfriend, Weiming. This fictional story is interesting on the turn of events and the misfortunate but justified ending. This paper will discuss the emerging concerns that give an opinion about the story in the mindset of Guo that leaves the reader in suspense. Therefore, I will present a personal reaction to the story development exploring the different motifs in the "Internet Baby" fiction.
I am disturbed on the protagonist's determination to get rid of the baby once he is born and their secretiveness to deceive everyone to ensure that nobody knows that Yuli is pregnant to keep her social status as a student was very disturbing. I find the reasoning of the young couple very irrational because as much as they felt like they had reason in their cause of actions their end justifies their means. Their lack of compassion and connection with their newborn baby boy shows their weakness in character and decision-making. The situational and circumstantial dilemma Yuli is faced with mirrors the characteristics of the society they were brought up. Therefore, their decision on selling off the baby immediately it was born is disturbing on the social culture they were taught in childhood.
Guo evokes the reader's mind as he tries to develop the views and values that the characters communicated to the audience. Initially, the most prevalent motif is the social image and social stratification. Yuli is aware that the only road to keep her from poverty is through successful completion of her education. She needs to do her final examinations to get her diploma and secure a brighter future working in the city where the people were more sophisticated and well defined because of their economic status. Weiming argues that China should be given a chance to sell half of its population to the west to increase the money and improve the livelihood of the people. Through this naive argument of the young couple, it is evident that the social, economic status of the people in the suburb provinces in rural China was meager. Yuli was very determined to get rid of the baby as soon as it was born with the help of the boyfriend at a low cost.
Yuli's argument that she did not want anyone from her village to know about the baby because they would force her to keep it no matter the situation shows that despite their low social, economic status the community had respect for human dignity. I find the situation interesting because the young couple does not want anybody to know about their newborn baby yet they place an ad to sell him off on the internet where everybody could access the information making their secret exposed. When Yuli and Weiming agree on the price to sell their baby in reflecting the social, economic status of the majority of the people in their village, Weiming is willing to raise the bid to the interested buyer to increase their earnings, but they can always make more babies for sale in the future. Through this personal reasoning, Guo develops Weiming character as one of greed, self-centeredness, and over-ambitious because they were desperate to get someone to buy the baby and after a few inquiries he realizes the magnitude of their "business" opportunity. His greed gets the better of them because when they get to the park to count the money, they are more concentrated on the money that they do not realize that the baby drowned in the pool. Conclusively, the unhappy ending in the story creates suspense to the audience because of the personality of the characters to want to know their next cause of action. The disturbing ending on the baby's misfortune leaves the reader wondering how the baby ended up in the pool because it was just a few days old. Again, the Wenzhou lady was on watch to ensure the safety of the exchange process; thus it was disturbing why she was not concerned with the welfare of her future son rather than the money.
Guo, Xiaolu. (2009). An Internet Baby In Freedom: A Collection of Short Fiction Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books, p. 349 - 354.
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