Empire of the Sun

by J. G. Ballard

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Student Question

Does the scene of Jim's belongings floating down the river in Empire of the Sun symbolize his death?

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I can add to this with info about the film, a favorite of mine. Jim survives the war in the movie, as well. After the prisoners leave the camp, they have nothing, and many die as they attempt to get somewhere that is safe. Along the way, Jim witnesses, in the distance, one of the atomic bomb blasts. Eventually, he ends up in some sort of orphanage, where his parents come, looking for him. They almost do not recognize him as he has not only grown, but is now no longer really a child in many ways. He, in turn, is so shell-shocked that he does not realize they are there. His mother, finally, realizes that the skinny young man with vacant eyes is her son.

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I am not really sure what you are asking here.  I am assuming that you are asking about the book here and not the film (I haven't seen the film).  In the book, we know that Jim survives the entire war, therefore, he does not die at any point in the book.

We know that Jim returns to England on the ship -- the book ends with him on the ship, knowing that part of him will always be here in China.

The only scene I can think of in the book that resembles what you describe is in Chapter 30 where he pushes his box of possesions out into the river.  But he clearly survives that because he walks away.

Can you clarify your question?

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