Chiko, a fifteen year old, Burmese boy, is sent to fight for the military only as a teenager. His father was arrested four months ago and labeled a traitor for providing medical treatment to an enemy. He is now in the army of the same government who has put his father in prison. There is no escape, just enduring his time and using his intellect to get him out quick. Tu Reh also is a teenage boy (he is a Karenni, an ethnic minority in Burma) the target of the army. He and his family live in a refuge camp because his Karenni village was burnt to the ground. Tu Reh wants to fight for Karenni independence, wants to fight the Burmese, wants to take his anger out in action.
These two opposites collide during the war. Chiko on one side, Tu Reh on the other. Chiko is a smart kid from the city while on the other hand Tu Reh is a refugee. Tu Reh is looking to get revenge on the people that destroyed his village. Tu Reh finds Chiko injured by a mine. Tu Reh thinks he should leave him there to die but decides to help him and bring him back to the refugee camp. Chiko and Tu Reh grow to like each other and figure out what it means to be a person of their people.
There are two parts to this story. The first part is told from Chiko’s point of view. The second told from Tu Reh’s. Since the characters are the narrators, there is explicit dialogue and is told with every little detail. This gave me a very good sense of what was going on around the characters. Mitali Perkins does a great job of relaying the information clearly and getting her point across to the reader clearly.
In this story there are to protagonists. One being Chiko and the other being Tu Reh. These people are important in the story because they are from different sides and become friends. This can teach us that our enemies can sometimes be our best friend. A special quote from Chiko is “If you teach me how to survive this training, I’ll teach you how to read and write (Page 51)”. This shows that Chiko is confident in his ability to teach because he wanted to become a teacher. A special quote from Tu Reh is “Rifles or no rifles, we can take them ( Page 141)”. This quote shows Tu Reh’s strength and how he is ready to fight for what he wants.
The setting of Bamboo People is in Burma during a time of war. The setting plays a key part in the plot of the story. The woods of these pats are thick and filled with bamboo. Burma Flag (Before becoming Map of Myanmar) Burma
This book fits the oppressive government topic because of the war between the country and the minorities within the country. The government in this book is trying to get rid of the minorities inside of its own country. The minorities are fighting back and wanting to be free. The government is just trying t o make the country better for themselves. This connects to Animal Farm because Napoleon is trying to make the farm fit for himself. This is like the government in Bamboo People. The other animals can connect to the minorities in Burma. The government can relate to Joseph Stalin in the Russian Revolution.
The title Bamboo People is appropriate because the woods that Chiko and Tu Reh meet and inhabited was full of bamboo. They became close in the woods and were a key factor in the story. The bamboo could represent all the things that have come upon the teenagers because of how much bamboo is in forest. Chiko’s father was put in prison and Tu Reh’s village was destroyed. Chiko was sent to war unexpectedly and had to take care of his mother. This is a lot to be putting on two teenage kids.
I would recommend this book to someone in a heartbeat. This book can teach you many lessons. One of them being enemies aren’t what they seem to be sometimes. Tu Reh is angry and frustrated with the Burmese army because they destroyed his village. He is able to look through that and help an injured Chiko. This book can teach you all about Burma. Burma is not called Burma by the whole world anymore. Some countries now call it Myanmar. The United States is one of the countries that still calls it Burma. This book taught me to look through the negatives in my enemies and find there true self.