Study Guide

The Orphan Master's Son Part 2, Pages 327-347

By Adam Johnson

Part 2, Pages 327-347

  • Kim Jong Il shows Ga the master computer. He explains that they used to have a dummy version (the one that the Interrogator knows about)—but this one, he claims, is the real thing.
  • Kim Jong Il tells Ga that he may look up anyone he wants to have information about. A screen appears that keeps tabs on the population of North Korea. As they watch, it goes up by one.
  • The Dear Leader says that in South Korea, they have an ultrasound machine that can tell when a baby is female. They terminate those pregnancies.
  • Ga doesn't know if this is true, but he thinks about the termination days in the prison camp, when all expectant mothers are injected with saline, and their fetuses are collected in a box.
  • Kim Jong Il tells Ga to type in any name to the computer—perhaps someone from the orphanage?—and the inquiry will be sent to people who will find out.
  • For Ga, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Who will he reach out to? In the end, he decides to type in Commander Ga's name.
  • But the Dear Leader won't allow that. It seems that the teams awaiting the name were probably part of Division 42 or the like.
  • Kim Jong Il takes Ga back to the rower's cell. He confides in Ga, saying that he's kind of fallen for her. He likes talking to her, even though she can't understand him.
  • Kim Jong Il also asks Ga if he's ever heard of a syndrome that makes captives fall in love with their captors. Ga has not.
  • But the Dear Leader fears that he doesn't have time for the syndrome to take effect—it sometimes takes years—and the Americans are coming.
  • The Dear Leader laments the loss of Sun Moon to Ga and tells him how incredibly lucky he is not to have been thrown to the Pubyok before this.
  • The Dear Leader wonders where he will ever find another rower girl and another Sun Moon.
  • Kim Jong Il and Ga enter the rower's cell, where she is still transcribing his works. He's enthralled that she's read all his works, which means she knows his heart.
  • Kim Jong Il rhapsodizes about the possibility of an American girl falling in love with him. Wouldn't that be so cool? That would be triumph over the Americans for sure.
  • Ga asks the rower if she's ready to go home. Of course she is. He tells her to write a note that he will dictate into her notebooks.
  • Ga addresses his American friend Wanda and tells her that she needs to accept the food aid and all the gifts the Dear Leader gives them.
  • Meanwhile, the Dear Leader is talking about taking the rower to a spa to spoil her a bit and maybe convince her to stay.
  • Ga adds something else to the note: there will be "guests" who will bring a laptop to the Americans.
  • Ga tells the rower to destroy the note when they leave.
  • Kim Jong Il asks whether or not it would be advisable to keep the rower and send the Americans back with nothing. His advisors say it's not... advisable.
  • Ga tells the Dear Leader that the rower belongs to him. If he gives her back, it's because that's what he wants. Excellent diplomacy, Ga.
  • In the end, the Dear Leader figures it's a hopeless case.
  • Ga says that he needs to get a "before" picture—before she's cleaned up. In reality, he wants to take a picture of the note with Wanda's camera.
  • As Ga is snapping away, Kim Jong Il poses with the rower himself, and then he tells Ga he wants copies of the photos. Oops.
  • The Interrogator isn't doing so well. He's worn out and also trying to avoid the work details that have been scooping people up off the street.
  • But the Interrogator's luck doesn't hold out, and he gets taken to the countryside to harvest rice. Still, sleeping in the open does him good.
  • The next day, the Interrogator's assigned to empty latrine pots because he stinks at rice harvesting. During his detail, a woman gets bitten by a snake. He tries to help her, but she hits him.
  • The Interrogator watches the offending critter skedaddle into the water, and he can't help but think that its mate is out there waiting for it.
  • The Interrogator gets home late and finds the door to his apartment barricaded. He can't rouse his parents to open the door, so he sleeps in the hallway.
  • The phone goes off and shows a picture of a Korean boy and girl wearing mouse ears. He doesn't know what this means.
  • The Interrogator's parents let him back into the apartment in the morning. His files look as though they've been spread about, and his parents claim not to have heard him calling from the hall. They explain that they blocked the door because of something they'd heard on the loudspeaker that evening.
  • But the Interrogator is suspicious: his blind mother is cooking away. How can she do it? She gives him some probable explanations.
  • The Interrogator's parents also explain that his papers had fallen on the floor, and they tried to pick them up. They now start to ask him questions about the file.
  • The Interrogator is irritated and asks if his parents are still mad about a neighbor he'd denounced. They tell him that they are just feeling compassion for the poor people who come to his place of employment.
  • The Interrogator objects. He also suspects that his parents been fiddling with his can of peaches, but he can't be sure.
  • The Interrogator demands to know if his mother can see him. She answers cryptically, saying that she sees him the way she saw him first on his birthday. He was born in the dark, and they had no candles.
  • Then the Interrogator asks the Big Question: did his parents have any other children?
  • The Interrogator's mother doesn't answer. She says that though she's blind, she can see what her son has become.
  • Ga and Sun Moon take the children to walk by the river. He slips coins to poor children whenever he sees them.
  • Ga tells Sun Moon that he really wants to tell the children what happened to their father. He doesn't want them to leave and never know.
  • But Sun Moon doesn't want to break the kids' illusions—she wants them to go on thinking that their dad was a great hero. Ga disagrees.
  • Sun Moon tells Ga there will be time to discuss this in America. Ga knows he won't be there.
  • Ga thinks about Sun Moon's new life in America without him and is pained to think of her with another husband at her side. He wonders if he can die knowing that she was in love with someone else.
  • Ga asks Sun Moon the Dear Leader's question about Stockholm syndrome: can a captive fall in love with her captor?
  • From his personal kidnapping experience, Ga knows this to be absurd.
  • Then Ga tells Sun Moon a little about the American rower—it's the first time Sun Moon is hearing about this. If the Dear Leader goes back on his word to hand the girl over, their own plan of escape will be ruined.
  • Sun Moon wants to know about the rower's captivity: is she in a cage? Ga describes the rower's situation, then demands to know whether the syndrome is real or not.
  • Sun Moon turns the tables: what about a woman who shares a bed with her captor? What if she depended on him? What if they had children?
  • This confuses Ga. Is Sun Moon talking about him, or is she talking about her previous husband?
  • Either way, Ga knows the rower wants out. Sun Moon understands that he must know her well, and he tells her the story of listening to broadcasts on the water.
  • Ga talks about the bond with the other rower, even though she felt totally alone at night on the water, completely free.
  • Ga wants to discuss the plan with Sun Moon, and she's finally ready. He tells her to remember the bound/alone thing if they somehow get separated.
  • Sun Moon doesn't like that kind of talk. Ga tells her not to worry. If something goes wrong, he'll find her later.
  • Sun Moon puts her foot down: Ga can't abandon her. He has to come with them to America. She's his captive, all right?
  • Ga and Sun Moon kiss their first kiss, right there in the park. Ga recognizes her kissing stance from one of the movies—but he's totally okay with it.
  • The voice on the loudspeaker tells of the American acceptance of an invitation to visit Pyongyang. It speaks of a crow that protectively patrols the land to sniff out capitalist sympathizers.
  • The allegory of the crow continues. In it, Ga undermines the self-sufficiency of orphans by tossing them coins. The crow can also see that Ga and Sun Moon are planning.
  • And that's a bad thing. Citizens must leave all future plans to the leaders of the State. They must only live for the present.
  • Now the crow presents a summons for Sun Moon, and a car appears to take her to Kim Jong Il.
  • As Sun Moon is driven through the city, she sees the places of her youth and feels sad. She wonders what has happened to the people from her past.
  • The voice says that perhaps Sun Moon knew she would never see those places again.
  • When Sun Moon gets to Kim Jong Il, he's wearing his signature gray jumpsuit—but with an apron over it. He's dressed as a waiter, and he wants to bring Sun Moon a drink.
  • Kim Jong Il can tell that Sun Moon's a little sad, and he offers to chat. She tells him she's been practicing her new role. But the Dear Leader tells her it's a happy one. What's the prob?
  • To cheer Sun Moon up, Kim Jong Il gives her an American guitar and tells her it's what they use to sing the blues. She has no idea what the heck he's talking about.
  • Sun Moon tries to play the guitar, but it sounds awful to her. Kim Jong Il tells her that she's to compose a goodbye song for the girl rower. She tries again, but she's playing it flat on its back.
  • Then Kim Jong Il brings up the good old days. Wouldn't it be great if Sun Moon's husband went out on a dangerous mission and never came back?
  • Sun Moon gets it. She wants to know if an accident is about to befall her replacement husband. Kim Jong Il assures her it is not.
  • Sun Moon reminds Kim Jong Il that he, too, has another person to talk to: the girl rower.
  • Kim Jong Il tells Sun Moon that the rower girl is charming, but nothing compared to Sun Moon.
  • Sun Moon knows she has to keep the Dear Leader from detaining the rower girl, so she works on him a bit. She tells him that a spoiled little capitalist could never do it for him. Could she?
  • Kim Jong Il hands Sun Moon a gold dress, soap, and a comb. He will judge after Sun Moon fixes the rower up a bit.