What happens when Yoko must cross the iron railroad bridge in So Far from the Bamboo Grove?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yoko learns to appreciate her older sister's wisdom and courage when they cross the iron railroad bridge.

Yoko is terrified about crossing the iron railroad bridge.  The bridge stands high above the water, and there are large spaces between each tie through which she fears she will fall.  Yoko would prefer to swim across the river, but Ko is adamant that they go over the bridge.  Although Yoko and Ko are good swimmers, the current is very strong, and besides that, Mother cannot swim.

Ko puts her ear to the tracks to check for vibrations, and determines that there is no train coming.  She insists that they cross the bridge tonight while the moon is full, because by the next night, there will be less moonlight to see by.  Ko starts across the bridge, walking easily, while Yoko follows slowly, holding Mother's hand, her knees shaking.  Angry and frightened, Yoko complains to Mother that Ko is mean to make them go across the terrifying bridge, but Mother reprimands her for speaking against her "good sister". 

Ko has already reached the other side when Yoko and Mother are only halfway across the bridge.  Yoko becomes very dizzy and freezes, closing her eyes, unable to go any further.  Seeing her little sister's predicament, Ko hops back to the middle of the bridge and carries Yoko the rest of the way across on her back.

Yoko realizes now how much her big sister loves her, and feels terrible for the mean things she said about her earlier.  She rests her head on Ko's shoulder "to let her know that (she) love(s) her very much" (Chapter 3).

Read the study guide:
So Far from the Bamboo Grove

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