How is the main conflict of "Cranes" solved?

The main conflict is solved when Songsam lets Tokchae escape.

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Despite being a fairly short story, Hwang Sun-won's "Cranes " is full of conflicts. One of those conflicts is the background conflict that exists between northern Korea and southern Korea at the 38th parallel. On the large scale, this conflict exists between those people that want a republic and...

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Despite being a fairly short story, Hwang Sun-won's "Cranes" is full of conflicts. One of those conflicts is the background conflict that exists between northern Korea and southern Korea at the 38th parallel. On the large scale, this conflict exists between those people that want a republic and those people that are in favor of communism. On a smaller scale, this conflict forced friends, families, and neighbors to choose a side and be in conflict with each other when no such previous conflict ever existed.

This is the case with Songsam and Tokchae. The two men were strong childhood friends, and the conflict forced each of them to make a decision. Songsam escaped and went into hiding while Tokchae stayed behind to protect his family and consequently became a representative for the "enemy."

When the story begins, Tokchae is now Songsam's prisoner, and Songsam has a lot of anger against his friend. He's mad that they are enemies. He's mad that Tokchae didn't run. He's mad at himself for running. While there is conflict between the two men, I would say that the biggest conflict of the story is an internal conflict. Songsam struggles between doing what his orders say he should do and what he knows is the right thing to do for a lifelong friend. In the end, Songsam chooses friendship and his friend's life over following a political agenda and lets Tokchae escape. There is hope that the friendship will continue because Tokchae has a chance to survive once again.

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