Study Guide

The Orphan Master's Son Part 2, Pages 233-253

By Adam Johnson

Part 2, Pages 233-253

  • The Interrogator suits up and leads his team into the "sump" to look for Comrade Buc. They have some questions for him.
  • The interns are still shaken by Ga's assertion that old interrogators, like Duc Dan, get sent to prison instead of retirement homes.
  • We learn that the sump is the place where the most hardheaded subjects are sent to bend them a little. It's dungeon-like, filthy, and primitive.
  • Most of the subjects in the sump are in a stupor, chained together on a kind of bicycle rack for human beings on a sloping and wet floor. Q-Kee uses a cattle prod on the metal to wake them all up.
  • When they find Comrade Buc, the interrogators ask him about his scar. They want to know how and why Commander Ga did it all to him.
  • Buc negotiates: his story for information. He wants the interrogators to answer a question for him. They agree.
  • Buc tells about a time when Commander Ga, before the disaster at Prison 9 (the fire and loss of 1500 workers), attacked him at the office.
  • It was a feigned "man-attack" (i.e., rape), to show that Ga had power over Buc, and to humiliate him. In the process, Buc was dropped to the floor, and he hit his eye on the desk on the way down.
  • Commander Ga takes pictures of Comrade Buc before and after his beating (which may make you assume that this is the impostor Ga—but wait).
  • Comrade Buc then asks his one question: is his family alive? The interrogators tell him no. To help him feel better about it, they move him "uphill" out of the filthy standing water in the sump.
  • Buc asks to see his family's file, but the interrogators warn him that there are pictures. They tell him that his family probably died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Buc asks if the girls were wearing white dresses. But the interrogators are done answering questions.
  • Comrade Buc says that Commander Ga couldn't have had anything to do with the loss of Sun Moon—he never made it out of Prison 33. And then Buc get's confused, because he doesn't know which Ga the interrogators are talking about.
  • Buc explains that the scar-giving Ga is the dead one. This confuses the interrogators, since the impostor Ga is the one who apologizes for the scar. It's a puzzle.
  • Buc says that impostor Ga is his friend for killing the real Ga, who had assaulted him in such an insulting way. He tells them that impostor Ga never killed Sun Moon and her children—he just turned them into birds, and they flew away.
  • Buc doesn't want to say more, since his family is dead. There's no incentive to speak.
  • To make their point, the interrogators take away Comrade Buc's wedding ring. It upsets Buc, but he tells them that they really have no power over him now.
  • As they leave, Buc screams some grim truths at the interrogators. When he used to procured for the prisons, he would bought children's prison uniforms and work tools. He never bought food or medicine, but always barbed wire and blood transfusion bags for harvesting prisoners' blood.
  • The interns are not moved by Buc's tirade, but the parents among the interrogators are mighty uncomfortable.
  • We're back to Impostor Ga and Sun Moon's timeline. After he visits with the Dear Leader and gets his new mission, Sun Moon allows him to come into the house.
  • Ga still doesn't know the children's names, but they attend to him as they would if he were their real father.
  • Ga is wearing the pistol that Kim Jong Il supposedly had made to mimic the .45 caliber, to impress the Americans on their upcoming visit.
  • But Sun Moon recognizes the gun as a prop from one of her movies. Soon, she and Ga are talking. Sun Moon tries to sort out who he is.
  • Ga tells Sun Moon that he used to live by the sea and that he almost had a wife. (He's speaking here of the Second Mate's wife.) But she had faded from his memory once he'd seen Sun Moon on the screen.
  • Ga tells Sun Moon of going to America, of getting the dog that now lived in Sun Moon's house.
  • Sun Moon doesn't understand how any of this can be happening. It beggars belief that impostor Ga hasn't been executed already.
  • But Ga is having a fine time, hanging out on the balcony of a deluxe house with his beautiful Sun Moon.
  • Sun Moon asks if Ga killed the Second Mate, and Ga tells her of the Second Mate's defection.
  • Sun Moon makes it clear that she doesn't want Ga to touch her.
  • Ga tells Sun Moon that her husband went into the darkness—and she shouldn't worry about him. He's pretty sure he won't be alive for much longer.
  • Ga and Sun Moon hear the sound of a truck climbing the mountain to their house. Comrade Buc, who is their neighbor, steps out and tells them to come on over—and make it snappy.
  • Ga explains to Sun Moon that the "crow" is a truck that comes to take you away to prison camp. He tells her to take the children into the escape tunnel that the other Ga had built.
  • Buc is still insisting that Ga and Sun Moon come over. But down they go into the tunnel—only to find that it is incomplete and goes nowhere. Sun Moon is pretty annoyed. Why hadn't her husband actually finished the darn thing?
  • Buc finds Ga and Sun Moon and tells them to stop being stupid and come over to his house. When they get there, Buc's wife and children are sitting around the kitchen table.
  • The daughters are wearing white dresses. A can of peaches is on the table, along with glass bowls.
  • Buc gives Ga and Sun Moon each a slice of peach. A soldier comes in looking for Ga. But he's not there to transport him. He gives him a key to a classic Mustang, which he's just delivered to Ga's house.
  • No need for the peaches at this time. Ga doesn't seem to understand what just happened at Buc's house.
  • Buc gives Ga his own can of peaches. They are special, scavenged from the stock of a fruit factory that had to be burned to the ground.
  • Buc admires Ga for getting away with "it," but Ga doesn't even know what "it" is. Buc tells him that there's no name for what he's doing.
  • Sun Moon is shaken by the experience at Comrade Buc's house, but she and Ga have to get ready for one of the Dear Leader's get-togethers.
  • Sun Moon carries out a Japanese tea ritual for Ga with the paraphernalia from her latest unreleased movie, Comfort Woman.
  • In it, Sun Moon's at the mercy of Japanese officers who will use her for sexual gratification later.
  • Ga asks Sun Moon if that's how she sees him—as a hostile enemy force. She tells him to chill out.
  • Sun Moon dresses Ga in her husband's uniform, pinning him with various medals. She has to explain what all of them are.
  • Sun Moon makes Ga promise her to protect her children—which he does.
  • Before leaving, Sun Moon stop to look at the Golden Belt, specially displayed in a case. Sun Moon is about to comment on her husband, but she stops herself.