A Single Shard

by Linda Sue Park

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Compare and contrast the villages of Ch'ulp'o and Puyo.

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The village of Ch'ulp'o is quite different from the city of Puyo, especially from the point of view of the well-meaning but naive Tree-ear. Tree-ear, an orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch'ulp'o. The village is small but is well known for its celadon ware. This small seaside village is home to Min, the potter who takes Tree-ear under his wing. While the labor is intense, life in Ch'ulp'o is relatively peaceful compared to big cities.

One of these big cities in Puyo, a place that Tree-ear must pass through on his way to Songdo. Puyo is sprawling and bustling with traffic, which quickly overwhelms Tree-ear. While Ch'ulp'o is the starting point for Tree-ear's quest, Puyo is the turning point. Here, he is confronted by robbers who smash all of Min's exquisite vases, leaving Tree-ear with only a single shard to present in Songdo.

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