How old is Sae Young in Seedfolks?

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Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman is written as a series of vignettes; each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character. In the eighth chapter, we meet Sae Young, a Korean immigrant who came to America with her husband for work. She does not tell her age, but we can assume she is likely in her late 30s because a little more than two years have passed since her husband died at age 37 of a heart attack. In her broken English, Sae Young describes first the trauma of her husband’s death, followed by being the victim of a robbery and assault that causes her to “no more like to be with people, like before. Afraid of everyone, all the time.”

The community garden has a transformative effect on Sae Young, influencing her to “want to be with people again.” She helps solve the problem of carrying water to the garden by providing funnels for the other neighborhood gardeners to use, which makes her “feel part of garden. Almost like family.” 

Sae Young’s brief story reveals a recurring theme of Seedfolks—the healing power of a community. 

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