He-y, Come On Ou-t!

by Shinichi Hoshi

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Citing any three incidents from the story “He-y, Come On Ou-t,” explain how the hole becomes a source of humor.

The hole in “He-y, Come On Ou-t” becomes a source of humor when the scientist tells people to fill it in because it is “Safer to get rid of something one didn’t understand,” when people fail to consider why their ancestors built a shrine over the hole, and, finally, when people agree to let companies dump pollution in the hole because the contamination will not affect them personally.

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Many people attempt to figure out the hole’s origin or depth, but none are successful. When they lower a rope with a weight attached, the weight never actually reaches the bottom of the hole, and the rope eventually simply snaps right at the hole’s mouth.

A scientist attempts to use sound, but the hole appears to simply “swallow” the sound rather than produce an echo. Rather than appear unknowledgeable, the scientist tries to act as though this was what he expected:

In his own mind, the scientist was at a loss, but with a look of apparent composure he cut off the sound and, in a manner suggesting that the whole thing had a perfectly plausible explanation, said simply, “Fill it in.” Safer to get rid of something one didn’t understand.

This is an humorous comment on what humans so often do: try to eliminate or destroy things we don’t understand. We don’t leave things alone, even when they are well enough, and we often create problems for ourselves in this way.

The shrine that had existed over the hole collapsed, and at first, the people of the town are insistent that a new shrine be built in the same location. However, when a concessionaire promises to build them a new shrine, closer to the town and with an attached meeting hall, the people readily agree. They fail to consider why their forebears might have built the shrine in that spot, perhaps hiding the hole so that it could be protected and to protect others from it. Instead, the people choose convenience and profit over common sense: another humorous comment on human priorities and values in the modern era.

Finally, when the concessionaire offers to allow companies to dump their pollution into the hole, the people get a little worried. However,

they consented when it was explained that there would be absolutely no above-ground contamination for several thousand years and that they would share in the profits.

Again, selfishness and personal gain prompt them to take actions, the consequences of which they cannot possibly understand. Their forebears seemed to try to protect the generations to come from the hole by making a shrine on top of it and then leaving the hole alone, while these people don’t care at all about the contamination because it won’t affect them and they can enjoy the money now. This is yet another humorous, certainly satirical, comment on humanity and how it has gotten worse.

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