Study Guide

The Orphan Master's Son Part 1, Pages 20-34

By Adam Johnson

Part 1, Pages 20-34

  • The three men make their next trip to the resort island of Dogo, hoping to catch a lone tourist. They come upon an "empty" boat and decide to take it—until the diver it belongs to surfaces. Jun Do has to take care of him.
  • So tells the guys that they need more practice.
  • Officer So sends both Gil and Jun Do onshore to take the next guy. When they reach land, they see a totally different world: individual houses, plum trees with fruit, a person sleeping on a bench.
  • Gil is entranced by all of it and wants to experience life in this new place. Jun Do has a bad reaction to it: he doesn't want to see that other people live well when he's starved and had to do immoral things to survive.
  • When they get close to their intended victim, the men realize that it's a woman—not a man. Gil wavers.
  • Jun Do and Gil pick her up and put her on the rail of the pier, intending to throw her into the sea so that Officer So can retrieve her. She speaks to them in Japanese—and then over she goes.
  • The cell phone the woman had been using is left behind on the pier. Jun Do can hear a woman's voice on the other end calling for "Mayumi."
  • It becomes clear that Officer So isn't in the right place to pick the Japanese woman up. Gil reveals that the woman had said that she couldn't swim. Jun Do can't believe Gil didn't stop him from chucking her over.
  • They men have taken the Japanese woman's cell phone with them, and now it is vibrating. Gil answers it and can hear a mother's voice on the other end. When Jun Do touches the screen to hang up, a picture of a baby pops up as the wallpaper.
  • When the men return from their botched kidnapping attempt, Officer So makes plans for the Real Thing. Jun Do and Gil will take a ferry to Japan and meet up with So after they've got Rumina.
  • The men arrive in Chongjin (the port), and Gil makes them go into the ruins of Long Tomorrows. Jun Do isn't pleased.
  • Gil sees the chart of the Martyr's names on the wall and asks Jun Do the story of his name. Pak Jun Do was a soldier who had to prove his loyalty as a soldier by killing himself.
  • Gil wonders why Jun Do would ever have chosen that name for himself. Jun Do explains that the "martyr" passed the "ultimate loyalty test."
  • Jun Do tells Gil that his father allowed him to have an orphan's name because he was ashamed of how he was forced to raise his son. He refuses to tell Gil his mother's name.
  • As they get closer to Rumina, Jun Do wonders how she would spend this day if she knew it was her last.
  • Jun Do and Gil go to the opera in Niigata to hear Rumina sing. Jun Do has no idea what he's hearing—all of this is new to him. Gil is into it.
  • Both Jun Do and Gil pretend that they're not really in town to kidnap anyone—they have to tell themselves another story to get through it.
  • Out on the town, the men see and try out things that don't exist in North Korea, like advertisements and vending machines.
  • Gil and Jun Do make some essential purchases for their evening escapade. Then they decide to go into a bar and drink—always a good plan when you've got to go kidnapping, we guess.
  • Gil flirts with the female bartender and begins to show signs of liking Japanese life. Jun Do is more resistant.
  • Gil encourages Jun Do to think about getting away to Japan—to reinvent himself. This would be especially easy for him, since he is an orphan. Jun Do tells Gil again that he isn't an orphan.
  • Jun Do decides he'd really like kick Gil's butt, but then Gil realizes it, too. Gil backs off and apologizes.
  • Gil and Jun Do arrive at the artists' village, where Rumina is staying. Gil attacks her in bed and manages to duct tape her up and stuff her in a duffle bag.
  • Then Gil and Jun Do ransack Rumina's place for anything useful. But Jun Do doesn't know what that might be. He grabs the dress Rumina wore in that evening's performance. Gil has no idea what he could be thinking.
  • Gil and Jun Do dump the duffel bag into a "borrowed" cart and push their victim down to the beach, where Officer So is meant to be waiting for them in a boat.
  • But things quickly get out of control. Gil disappears behind Jun Do, who is struggling to keep the cart from breaking away from his grip.
  • And then the cart flies out of control, dumping Rumina into the sand. When Jun Do opens the bag, Rumina thinks he is her savior. At least for a minute.
  • Rumina tries to talk Jun Do out of kidnapping her. Jun Do demands to know how one of her songs (about two lovers) ends. He puts a distinctly North Korean spin on his interpretation of it. Rumina tries to leverage his curiosity to get out of the situation, but no dice.
  • Jun Do meets up with Officer So and has to tell him that Gil has gone missing.
  • Officer So makes Jun Do understand that if they return to North Korea without Gil, they'll be sent to the prison mines.