Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Chapter 24

By Margi Preus

Chapter 24

The May Basket

  • It's May Day and Manjiro's supposed to fill a basket with flowers and a note, then drop the basket off on the front step of a girl's house. If she opens the door, she's supposed to chase him down and kiss him.
  • It's an American custom.
  • So he's trying to write a small poem, with Terry's help.
  • After Terry leaves, Manjiro finally comes up with something: a poem about how she shouldn't pick up the basket but should chase him (in a bit of mangled English).
  • Manjiro leaves the basket on Catherine's step but isn't sure about knocking on the door because what if she opens it and gives chase? What if she doesn't want to kiss him? Wouldn't that be awkward for her (and him)?
  • He does it anyway, but once he hears voices behind the door, he takes off before anyone can see him.
  • Later that day, everyone is in the woods "a-Maying," which is basically all about girls gathering flowers and boys playing at fighting with tree branches.
  • Manjiro overhears Catherine talking about Manjiro's basket.
  • Everything's good—she loves it and is really into him; in fact, she might even consider marrying him one day.
  • But one of her friends gives her a reality check: What would her parents say? After all, Manjiro is Japanese.
  • That's all Manjiro needs to hear to get really upset.
  • He runs off to a rocky cliff and ponders what he heard.
  • Then his thoughts turn negative: America isn't all that it's cracked up to be, and people aren't as welcoming and free as they could be. Some people even have slaves.
  • His romance with the country is definitely over.