By Hwang Sunwon
The story “Cranes is about two boyhood friends that have been placed on opposite sides of a violent conflict in Korea. Tokchae has been captured and Songsam a police officer in a small village along the 38th parallel, is escorting him to a new location. As the men walk, Songsam cant help but ask Tokchae why he chose the side that he did. Tokchae gives a simple explanation, and the conversation begins to turn more personal. As memories start to arise Songsam decides to let tockchae go by chasing cranes like they used to do as children. He undoes the rope around touches wrists and says “Hey! Why don’t you go and chase a crane over here”.
This is an excellent short story that presents readers with a shocking wartime situation and opened my eyes to how destructive war is and how strong the mens friendship was compared to politics. “Cranes” suggest that friendship may overcome ideological differences, as the two men make their way up to the field they played on as children Tokchae decides that his friend should not have to suffer and lets him go.
I really enjoyed reading this because its a nice boyhood story and was whitty at times. I loved the metaphor “Short stuff, kind of fat, and too short to know the skies were high, just how wide the earth is” because Songsam is now married to “Short Stuff” and it foreshadows what they called her as children. This part of the story the men start to warm up to each other and memories of their friendship changes the way they feel about each other.
I would recommend “Cranes” for year 12 students because it is relevant to them. Many childhood friends may have been split up as they got older, however this story opened my eyes and I realised that childhood memories never go away and no matter what the situation always try to give them the second chance, like songsam deserved to go back to his farm for his father.