So Far from the Bamboo Grove

by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
Start Free Trial

What are some major events from Chapters 1-3 in So Far From the Bamboo Grove?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The events in these chapters mostly concern the kind of life that Yoko and her mother, sister and brother enjoy in North Korea under Japanese occupation. However, tragedy strikes when they are forced to evacuate and to try and leave as quickly as possible due to war. Hideyo, Yoko's brother, has deliberately failed a test in order to avoid being conscripted into the Japanese military, and has been sent to work in a munitions factory instead, so he is not with his mother and sisters when they are forced to evacuate. Yoko and her mother and sister manage to board a hospital train to take them away, but when the train is inspected, they are under threat of discovery, until they are disguised as being ill and sick:

The nurse and medic were doing crazy things. They took off my bloodstained blouse and rubbed it against Mother's and Ko's faces. The nurse undid Mother's hair and spread it against the mat. She told me to put my stained blouse back on and lie down.

Of course, these "crazy things," as Yoko quickly realises, are actually meant to protect them, as the Communist soldiers have been given specific instructions to find Yoko and her family. By disguising them as sick, wounded patients, they are able to escape detection. Finally, in Chapter 3, Ko and Yoko disguise themselves, cutting their hair. In particular, Ko, Yoko's older sister, gets hold of a communist soldier's uniform and wears it so that she can protect her mother and younger sister.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team