“Cranes” written by Hwang Sun-Won is a short story that is set during the Korean War in a village that is just north of the 38th parallel. The main character in this story was the vice chairman of the farmers communist league, his name was Tokchae. Tokchae was forcefully taken from his own home and is now a prisoner.
Tokche needs to have an escort that’s somewhere police to take him to another police station. A childhood friend was a man named Songsam who was an officer when Songsam separated this he puts his hand up to be an escort for Tokche. Along the way to the police station, Songsam reminisces all the good times they had when they were childhood friends. “You’re going to be shot anyway”. Songsam says this to persuade Tokche into answering his question about how many men he has killed in the war. Tokeche answered saying that he became part of the league because he is a working farmer; he did not run because his life is wrapped around working the land. The two men finally came to a field where they tied up a crane as children, the boys were scared they would have been caught therefore they untied the crane even though it looked weak and hurt, but the boys watched the crane as it took flight and began to fly away. Songsam takes of the ties that are keeping Tokches hands together and asked him to help flush a crane. Tokche fears that his old friend would shoot him although he understands that his friend is giving him the chance to run for freedom.
this story shows us that friendships are more important than politics and rules within those times. we see this because of Songsam legally has to take Tokche to the Ch’ongdan police station although because Songsam realizes that there two men knew each other when they were younger and were very good childhood friends he untied Tokche and let him free. This scene showed up the idea that friendships can sometimes be more important than ideological differences and what politics are.
this story relates back to the real world today because on the news, internet or TV we see the buffer zones and 38th parallel that was there when the story of cranes was set. The US troops occupying South Korea side of the parallel and the Soviet troops occupying North Korea side of the parallel people were separated from the war and families are still separated to this day although they are allowed to travel to visit their families every so often. “Cranes” supports my beliefs that friends and family come over rules and sometimes you have to risk your life or maybe some punishments for family or friends that you are close to, and this is what the story really made me feel.
I would recommend this text to anyone of any age that may understand it, it really teaches us about the idea that friendship over politics and ideological differences can be more important for some people than others, we do also learn about the separation during the Koren War times and how this affected a lot of families and friendships like Tokche and Songsam for instance in this story.