Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Chapter 40

By Margi Preus

Chapter 40

The Road Home

  • Setting: June 1852 (5th Year of Kaei, Year of the Rat)
  • Finally, Manjiro and his friends are free.
  • They're given most of their belongings, some money, and told to walk home; they're also told not to talk about their experiences in the West.
  • Manjiro has already walked with the other two to their hometowns, so now he's on his own.
  • The road he's on is busy. Manjiro notices all sorts of folks riding or walking along and how people bow to the samurai and daimyos who go by.
  • Manjiro's tempted not to do anything, but he doesn't want to go back to jail either.
  • This guy he talks to thinks he's crazy because he says that whole worlds are sailing in the direction of Japan.
  • When he gets to his village, he wonders whether anyone will even recognize him; he's totally different now, a man…
  • The village looks exactly the same, but it still feels a little unfamiliar, too.
  • He's greeted by village children, who want to know if he's famous and who he is.
  • When he gets to his house, he just says in Japanese that he's home.
  • Instead of the faces of his siblings, he sees adults, but he recognizes his mother.
  • They have a touching reunion.
  • He gives everyone some small souvenirs; his mother gets a small box of shells.
  • She's touched and says that they're beautiful.
  • Manjiro tells her that the shells represent all the people of the world: diverse and beautiful.