Sections 12–13 Summary

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John Kwang invites Henry to go to dinner with him after having spent the day at the campaign headquarters. The two of them go to a Korean restaurant. While they eat and drink, both Kwang and Henry flirt with the waitresses. The more the men drink, the more closely Henry feels he is coming to know Kwang. From his training as a spy, he knows that this is the perfect opportunity to delve into Kwang’s private life and personal philosophy. The alcohol has pulled Kwang off guard. However, Henry does not take advantage of the situation. He cannot explain his reluctance, even to himself. Henry merely observes Kwang, and from his observations, he learns some intimate details about the man.

Henry notices, for example, when Kwang’s assistant, Sherrie Chin-Watt, shows up at the restaurant and sits down at the table next to Kwang, that the politician touches Sherrie a little too intimately than he would if they were merely business associates. Henry sees Kwang press his hand against Sherrie’s back when he is talking to her. Kwang’s hand stays there longer than needed, and his fingers play with the waistband of her skirt, suggesting that their relationship may be on a very personal and intimate level.

Before Sherrie’s arrival, Henry and Kwang’s conversation included descriptions of their childhoods. Henry talked to Kwang about his relationship with his father. Kwang understands some of Henry’s father’s personality characteristics, which he claims were molded by the Korean culture. However, he also understands how Henry, having been raised in the States, might not appreciate certain traits his father exhibited. When Henry complains that his father was totally out of tune with the Civil Rights Movement, for example, Kwang explains that back in the sixties Henry’s father probably could see no benefits in his life from the movement. Korean people, though a minority, were not really the focus of the movement. The emphasis was on Black people. Kwang further states that it has only been since then that Asians and Hispanics have become more dominant in the American culture and their presence has become more visible. Only recently have Asian people become more involved or more attuned to civil rights issues, Kwang explains.

After Sherrie arrives, the conversation takes on a different tone. Sherrie is upset about something, the details of which she does not disclose to Henry. She directs her comments to Kwang. She only looks at Henry once, and Henry receives the impression that she wishes he would leave so she could talk more openly with Kwang. Henry wants to hang around. He wants to know what has upset Sherrie. He concludes that he will eventually hear the details at the office, so he excuses himself and goes to the agency’s apartment to write his report for Hoagland.

Henry tries to recover himself, to pull himself out from under Kwang’s control. He wants to be considered competent in his job as a spy. He writes as he has been trained to, but in the end, he tears up half of the pages and sends in only the most innocent information. Henry senses that Kwang knows he is investigating him. Henry thinks that might be the reason Kwang keeps him so close.

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Sections 10–11 Summary


Section 14 Summary