What quote should I use to support the theme in the short story "Cranes" by Hwang Sunwon?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Before identifying a quote that supports a theme from the story, we first need to identify a theme.  I think the main theme of "Cranes" is about the power of friendship.

Tokchae and Songsam are on opposite sides of a conflict, and Tokchae is Songsam's prisoner.  As the story progresses, the reader learns that Tokchae and Songsam grew up together and were childhood friends.  Readers learn that the boys shared much of their lives with each other and got into mischief together as well.  One such incident involved them capturing a crane. Fearing that they would get in trouble for capturing the crane, the two boys freed it.  The flashback foreshadows the ending of the story when Songsam unties Tokchae and invites him to go on a crane hunt.  It takes Tokchae a few moments to realize that Songsam is setting him free in the same way that they freed the crane as boys.  Despite being on opposite sides of an ideological conflict, the power of their friendship was able to overcome that divide.  

Because the theme of friendship is so closely tied to the crane and the men's childhood, I think that the quote for the theme should highlight both the crane and their childhood.  I like the following quote. 

But the next moment, as another crane from a nearby bush fluttered its wings, the boys’ crane stretched its long neck with a whoop and disappeared into the sky. For a long time the two boys could not take their eyes away from the blue sky into which their crane had soared.

The quote works well for the theme because it takes place during their childhood.  It shows the two boys together in happier times, and the quote emphasizes the freedom of the crane.  That freedom is then mirrored when Songsam frees Tokchae. 

Read the study guide:
Cranes

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