Study Guide

The Orphan Master's Son Part 1, Pages 144-155

By Adam Johnson

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Part 1, Pages 144-155

  • The Senator's wife shows Jun Do to a room in the house where he can rest. There's a quilt on the bed that was made by her grandmother; each square tells a story from her life.
  • The Senator's wife tells Jun Do that she wishes she could speak to Sun Moon about Christ—that would certainly make her feel better. She tries to give him a Bible to take home, but he declines. Bibles are not allowed in North Korea.
  • The Senator's wife finds this hard to take, but she gracefully retreats.
  • A dog stays behind and jumps on Jun Do's bed. Jun Do discovers a White Pages sitting on the bedside table and is amazed that you could just look someone up and know that they exist.
  • Jun Do is overwhelmed by hatred for North Korea, a place that dooms him to guessing about the fate of his friends and his family.
  • Jun Do rips a page from the phone book and writes down the names of all those he's kidnapped. He puts a star next to Mayumi, who died.
  • Suddenly, the pile of BBQ ribs Jun Do ate doesn't agree with him. He loses his lunch in the shiny American bathroom.
  • While Jun Do rests, the Minister and Dr. Song are engaged in talks with the Senator and his crew. Jun Do joins them again in the evening, when more festivities are planned.
  • As Jun Do walks through the house, he notes the family pictures hanging on the walls. It makes him wonder what it is to be a family.
  • Outside, Jun Do is amazed by the bonfire, which seems to be just for fun and to enhance the atmosphere.
  • Wanda is there, making mixed drinks. She starts talking about what was found in Saddam Hussein's bunkers—but Jun Do has absolutely no idea what she's on about.
  • Then Wanda tells Jun Do about the Second Mate: no information is available on him.
  • Jun Do hands Wanda the torn phone book page with the names of the kidnap victims. He tells her that they are all alive and well in North Korea, except Mayumi. He tells her that their families deserve to know what happened to them.
  • The company enjoys the "tiger tacos" created by Pilar, while Dr. Song praises the qualities of North Korean tiger.
  • Tommy tells everyone that the best meat he ever ate was on leave—and that it was probably dog. Wanda says that her favorite was fetal pig boiled in goat's milk. Yum.
  • Jun Do changes the topic to ask about the rowers he'd been following on the radio. The mood changes. Tommy tells him that the boat was found, but not the girls. They assumed that it might have been a murder-suicide, since they found the blood of one rower but not the other.
  • Jun Do tells everyone his theory: the night-rower got off course because she rowed with her eyes closed.
  • The Senator's wife asks Jun Do about his own wound and how he got it. Dr. Song pretends that the trauma was too recent to be discussed. But Jun Do, of course, is ready.
  • So Jun Do tells the concocted story—and nobody buys it.
  • The Senator gets a little hot about the story, especially since he knows the commander of Jervis, the officer who had given Jun Do his card. He knows that shenanigans like Jun Do described are not tolerated.
  • The Senator's wife also denies the truth of Jun Do's story. She knows about atrocities in wartime, but she can't believe an American sailor would randomly feed a Korean sailor to sharks.
  • Jun Do pours all of his powers of convincing out. He tells everyone about the sharks, about his dying friend, and about holding his friend's widow in his arms.
  • When Jun Do is in his room again, Wanda comes to visit him. She's found some info out on Jun Do and wants to question him.
  • Wanda had made a mistake at the beginning of her research: she had started with his wife, Sun Moon. Now Wanda thinks that Jun Do is Commander Ga.
  • Wanda even uploaded Jun Do's picture to update Commander Ga's file, since the U.S. government didn't have a picture of him.
  • Jun Do tries to correct her, but Wanda is having none of that. Still, she is friendly and tells him that they can catch a glimpse of the International Space Station if they go outside. As they talk, Wanda tries to work out why the North Koreans are there. More specifically, why is Commander Ga, Minister of Prison Mines, in Texas?
  • Jun Do tries to make Wanda understand—he's there to tell a story—but she clearly doesn't understand his cryptic speech.
  • Wanda wants to know if Jun Do intends to defect. Jun Do explains that he couldn't do that to Dr. Song and the Minister. They would be destroyed back in North Korea if he did such a thing.
  • Wanda asks Jun Do if he feels free—or if he even understands what that means.
  • Jun Do contemplates how to explain his concept of freedom. For him, freedom can only be felt when you experience true confinement.
  • Jun Do asks if the U.S. has labor camps or mandatory marriages—anything that forces something on the citizens.
  • Wanda says no, and Jun Do says he probably couldn't feel free in the U.S. Wanda is at a loss.
  • Jun Do tries again, using Wanda's uncle as an example. When her uncle was in the tunnels expecting to be killed at any moment, he really valued being alive. It probably made him feel invincible.
  • But Wanda is not convinced. She explains that this tunnel warfare wakes her uncle up in the middle of the night and makes him suffer.
  • Jun Do explains that Wanda's uncle is probably dreaming of being crushed in a tunnel collapse, choking on dirt.
  • Wanda gives Jun Do a present: a little digital camera. But it's a special one: he can take pictures of anything, and they will get right to Wanda through a satellite connection. No images stay on the camera itself, so he won't get caught taking pictures.
  • Wanda tells Jun Do to take pictures of anything he wants, to help her understand his country.
  • Wanda encourages Jun Do to take a selfie of the two of them together. She jokes that he needs to loosen up and smile—let people in. He has no clue what she means.

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