Study Guide

The Orphan Master's Son Part 2, Pages 348-366

By Adam Johnson

Part 2, Pages 348-366

  • The voice of the loudspeaker narrator interrupts to show us the grooming scene between Sun Moon and the rower.
  • Sun Moon bathes the rower and chatters away in Korean, regardless of whether the woman can understand her or not.
  • In order to convince the strong American that she has also overcome adversity, Sun Moon tells the story of her grandmother—the story Kim Jong Il told in the Comfort Woman script.
  • Sun Moon's grandmother had been taken to be a concubine for the Japanese Emperor Taisho. She had to act as though she was pleased when really she wanted to kill herself all the time.
  • Sun Moon talks about her mother, who also had to make tough choices. She says that although she hasn't suffered much yet herself, she feels that it is coming.
  • As Sun Moon continues to clean and brush the girl, she talks about feeling sorry for her, since the American government does nothing for its citizens.
  • Sun Moon's kind of panicking about heading over to America herself, and she begins to question the uncomprehending rower. Sun Moon gets frantic.
  • The girl makes some gesture that makes Sun Moon think she wants to hear the end of her grandmother's story.
  • After she makes it back to her village and raises her children, Sun Moon's grandmother kills herself out of honor.
  • The rower catches Sun Moon's emotion and begins trying to tell her something.
  • The voice tells us that the rower takes up Kim Jong Il's books and motions that they are the wisdom that will pull them through. It says that the rower's clearly sad to be leaving North Korea.
  • But, the voice says, the rower will be sustained by her memories of her stay in North Korea.
  • The Interrogator is breaking down further. Now he's sleepless because he's dreaming of snakes. He dreams that the cell phone delivers him a picture of his own wife and kids.
  • The Interrogator thinks about the subjects hooked up to the autopilot, about how they live in a dream-like state and have intense experiences, even if they can't remember them.
  • The Interrogator thinks it would all be worth it, to get a new life.
  • The Propaganda guys are in the library when the Interrogator gets to Division 42. They need a workable story, but the Interrogator is feeling hostile to them. They always change too much. He sends them packing after a tense and grouchy exchange. They promise to return.
  • The Interrogator enters the Pubyok lounge and sees that Q-Kee's cut hair is on the floor. Then he sees that the old men have "taken care" of his backlogged cases. He's lost the stories.
  • When Q-Kee appears, it's clear that she's gone over to the Pubyok. And she's wearing Commander Ga's cowboy boots.
  • Q-Kee found a sketch of the Texas ranch in Ga's boot, which leads her to think that the ranch may be the place where he's hidden Sun Moon's body.
  • Q-Kee really wants to find Sun Moon and give her a proper burial. She thinks the Interrogator can figure it out.
  • When Sarge returns to Division 42, the Interrogator asks what has happened to his colleague, Leonardo. Sarge says he has no clue. They study the map together.
  • Sarge recognizes the place on the map as an old military base. He tells the Interrogator that he doesn't have to write a book on everyone. The Interrogator, however, says that he does—or just what would his job description be?
  • Sarge invites the Interrogator over to the dark side. Why doesn't he just want to be one of the boys?
  • But the Interrogator persists: Commander Ga's biography is too important.
  • Sarge points out that the "guys at the top" already know what happened.
  • The Interrogator is thrown. What is all this about, then?
  • Sarge is belligerent. He tells the Interrogator that he's not even allowed to tell stories. That's Propaganda's job.
  • Propaganda, the Interrogator says, is filled with liars.
  • Sarge is pretty shocked by this. He leaves the convo by saying that the military base is hell during the rains—which is now.
  • But the Interrogator won't be stopped. He takes what's left of his crew—Jujack and Q-Kee—and heads out. They get into a "crow" to drive to the military base—much to Jujack's dismay. His father told him never to get into one of those.
  • While they ride, Q-Kee finds the name of someone she knows carved into the seat. She doesn't seem to care. She says that she really wants to find Sun Moon, even though this would be confirmation that Sun Moon is dead, and there would be no more illusions.
  • The three start to talk of one of Sun Moon's gorier movies, one in which she's been beheaded. Jujack really liked it, and Q-Kee was inspired by Sun Moon in that one.
  • When the three get to the site, it's already mud and flood. Jujack doesn't want to get out—he says they're just wasting time. Q-Kee gets suspicious; Jujack seems to know something.
  • Still, the all get out and slog through the muck. There are snakes in the trees, much to the Interrogator's horror, and eels in the water.
  • But the three find nothing. Not even a body floating by in the rising water.
  • The Interrogator is not deterred. He feels that this might be the defining moment of his career—maybe even his life.
  • Then night falls, and still there's nothing. The three decide to give in. Q-Kee continues to accuse Jujack of knowing something that he won't share.
  • As soon as the crew gets back to Division 42, Q-Kee denounces Jujack to Sarge. He asks for proof, and Q-Kee says that she feels it in her heart.
  • Apparently, that's enough proof to get Jujack hauled off by the Pubyok. The Interrogator can't stop them.
  • Sarge has already decided that Jujack is disloyal; he praises Q-Kee.
  • The Interrogator runs to Commander Ga to try to save Jujack. If Ga knows what the boy is concealing, there won't be any reason to torture him.
  • Ga is looking at his tattoo, wishing it had been inked in reverse so that he could see Sun Moon properly in reflection.
  • The Interrogator pleads for the necessary information. He explains their adventure at the site where the Texas ranch should have been. Ga tells him they won't find anything.
  • Everything was moved, but Ga won't tell him where. It's the thing that pushed the Dear Leader over the edge.
  • The Interrogator tells Ga that he isn't going to live. Why not save Jujack's life? Ga says simply that no one will survive, and then he asks about the Interrogator's plan.
  • The Interrogator dangles the cell phone before Ga. He will exchange the pictures on it for information.
  • Ga tells the Interrogators that the Americans wouldn't leave the plane. The ranch had to be moved to the airport.
  • But it's too late. Q-Kee enters with blood on her smock. She has the same information.
  • The Interrogator is frantically asking about Jujack. No one answers.
  • Q-Kee takes a signal from Sarge and breaks her hand, for the first time, on the doorjamb. She's now one of them.
  • Sarge confirms this and tells Q-Kee that she no longer needs a name. He's also finally glad that they let a woman join the Division.
  • Back at Sun Moon's house, things are getting tense. She realizes what it will mean to leave: it means leaving behind everything that has meaning to her.
  • Sun Moon even has to choose just one dress from her dazzling collections. That means picking one identity and sticking to it.
  • Ga picks for her: it's a shimmering dress worn by Sun Moon when she played an opera singer who simply disappears.

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