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Reading a story is often like following a character on a journey. During the journey, characters may
make heart-rending decisions
learn something about themselves, others, or life in general
Cranes Literary Focus: Theme and Character
Theme: central idea of the story; a truth or insight about life or human behavior What obstacles does the main character face? What does the main character learn? What decisions must the main character make? What characters experience during their journey often reveals the theme of a work. Cranes Literary Focus: Theme and Character
Sŏngsam, the main character in “Cranes,” travels only a short distance on foot, but the journey he takes in his heart and mind is much greater. Cranes Literary Focus: Theme and Character
What does Sŏngsam remember and learn during his walk?
Ask yourself the following questions as you read the story:
What theme does the writer convey?
How has the writer used the character’s experiences to communicate the theme?
[End of Section] Cranes Literary Focus: Theme and Character
To understand characters fully, you need to determine their motivation, or the reasons for their behavior.
Writers don’t usually make direct statements about motivation, so you will need to make inferences, or educated guesses.
Cranes Reading Skills: Making Inferences about Motivation
You can base your inferences on your own prior knowledge and on clues from the story. Prior Knowledge Based on personal experience and other stories you’ve read, what do you know about people and their motivation? Clues from the Story What do the characters do and say that might give insight into their motivations? Inferences About Motivation Cranes Reading Skills: Making Inferences about Motivation
As you read “Cranes,” think about why the main character
takes the actions he does
makes the decisions he makes
[End of Section] Cranes Reading Skills: Making Inferences about Motivation
The conflict in this story is shaped by the civil war that took place in the early 1950s in Korea, a nation west of Japan and bordering on China and Russia. At the end of World War II, the country was divided in half, at the thirty-eighth parallel of latitude, with Soviet troops occupying the north and U.S. troops occupying the south. Cranes Background
There had been plans to reunite the country eventually, but instead, in 1948, a Communist government was established in the north and a pro-Western government was established in the south. In 1950, Communist troops from North Korea invaded the South. They were opposed by soldiers from South Korea, supported by United Nations (mostly U.S.) forces. South Korean flag North Korean flag Cranes Background
Ultimately the conflict centered around the thirty-eighth parallel. During the war many villages along the thirty-eighth parallel changed hands several times between North and South Korea. “Cranes” is set in one such village. A large number of Korean civilians and military personnel died during the war, and both North and South Korea suffered great devastation. Cranes Background
A truce agreement was signed in 1953, the year “Cranes” was published, and the final military front line of battle became the boundary between North and South Korea. The two countries have still not achieved reunification. [End of Section] Cranes Background
Make the Connection Which is worse: betraying one’s duty or betraying one’s friend? Imagine a situation in which you were forced to make such a choice. What issues would you weigh as you tried to make a decision? Freewrite for a few minutes about this dilemma. [End of Section] Cranes Quickwrite
Previewing the Vocabulary averted v . used as adj.: turned away. obstruction n.: obstacle; barrier. constitutes v.: makes up; forms. mainstay n.: principal support. refuge n.: shelter; protection from danger or difficulty. Cranes Vocabulary
Vocabulary Activity: Analogies Analogy questions ask you to analyze the relationship between one pair of words and then complete a second pair of words. The same relationship must be expressed in the two pairs. Follow the steps on the next slide to complete this word analogy. MOUTH : FACE :: ______ : television a. entertainment b. living room c. telephone d. screen Cranes Vocabulary
Vocabulary Activity: Analogies MOUTH : FACE :: ______ : television a. entertainment b. living room c. telephone d. screen screen
Identify the relationship between the first two words: The relationship is that of a part (mouth ) to a whole ( face ) .
Use a sentence to see the relationship in the analogy more clearly: A mouth is a part of a face, just as a __________ is a part of a television.
Select the word that makes the second pair express the same relationship as the first pair. Choice d, screen , is correct because it refers to a part of a television.
Vocabulary Activity: Analogies Relationship Example Synonyms TIRED : SLEEPY :: happy : joyous Antonyms RIGHT : WRONG :: few : many Part to whole LEAF : TREE :: kitchen : house Member to category EARTH : PLANET :: truck : vehicle Object (or thing) to a characteristic of it SUN : HOT :: desert : dry Cranes Vocabulary
Vocabulary Activity: Analogies Use a Word Bank word to complete each analogy. averted obstruction constitutes mainstay refuge refuge obstruction constitutes averted mainstay [End of Section] Cranes Vocabulary
Hwang Sunwŏn (1915–2000) was born in what is now North Korea. Throughout his lifetime, Korea was torn by political turmoil, and Hwang’s deep responses to that turmoil are reflected in his works. Educated at Waseda University in Tokyo, Hwang has published poetry, seven novels, and some of the best-known short stories of modern Korea. More About the Writer [End of Section] Cranes Meet the Writer