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

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In "Cranes," two childhood friends find themselves on opposite sides of the Korean War, with most of the conflict occurring at the 38th parallel, which is referenced in the story. Friendship is certainly a theme and has been referenced here. Also worth noting is another theme: War creates...

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In "Cranes," two childhood friends find themselves on opposite sides of the Korean War, with most of the conflict occurring at the 38th parallel, which is referenced in the story. Friendship is certainly a theme and has been referenced here. Also worth noting is another theme: War creates ideological conflict based on circumstances that may not represent individual beliefs.

After all, these two boys are childhood friends. They intimately know each other's families and the struggles they have overcome. They share memories, like sneaking out to smoke dried gourd leaves, hidden from the adults. They also share a time when younger Tokchae plucked chestnut needles out of Songsam's bottom. Yet here they are under governments that tell them that they have nothing in common and that any person on the opposing side of war deserves death.

One quote that illustrates this:

They made me vice-chairman of the league because I was one of the poorest and I was a hardworking farmer. If that constitutes a crime worthy of death, so be it.

Here it is clear that Tokchae is not selected as a military leader due to his passion for the governmental policies or because he has proven himself a fierce warrior. Instead, he is a victim of the government itself; they know that he is a man of few resources and simply take advantage of his situation.

Another quote that illustrates this theme is as follows:

But his father had said the same thing! Where can a farmer go, leaving all his chores behind? . . . Fortunately, his family was safe then, as now.

The fact that Songsam's family is safe seems to be a matter of luck more than anything. Their stories are so similar, and being on the winning side seems a matter of chance. Songsam's family is "fortunately" safe—but the situation could have easily been flipped as the 38th parallel changed hands so many times.

War creates deep lines of division that do not always reflect the values of individuals. As this short story shows, perspective is important in determining fault and responsibility in areas of conflict.

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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. 

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