First Entry December 15, 2011
To Swim Across the World
by Frances Park and Ginger Park
The two main characters, Sei- Young and Heisook were both introduced with different circumstances but with a single purpose of their interaction to each other. Heisook was an innocent and feeble girl but as the events took effect in her life, my perception of her changed. Her escape from North to South Korea brought her to the realization that life is not just a bed of roses; life is also a field full of confusion, fear and danger. That truth transformed her into a brave woman fit to be the wife of an equally brave man, Sei-Young.
As to Sei- Young, the impoverished and diligent boy from the South proved to me that the best things come for those who persevere. His struggles and family inspired him to really work and study at his best for him to do what he is meant to do-- to swim across the world. From being a poor boy from a poor family into being a diplomat of The Republic of Korea until he, with Heisook, migrated to America-- Sei- Young means "to swim across the world" and he really did it.
The characters lives were at the opposite sides of the line but as the story draws to its end, they met halfway through. I guess with some experiences they had, they were able to relate to each other and made the relationship worked for the best.
This story is like the Korean counterpart of my parents' real- life story, two Filipinos living their lives at the opposite side of a foreign country. They met through a letter that my mother sent to his brother- in- law who happens to be my father's friend. My father was the one to receive and reply to the letter until one day, they came home in the Philippines, met each other personally and got married. Just like in the story, my parents are from different places, backgrounds and beliefs but because of common and unusual circumstances, their destinies interlocked and I became their first born child. I am proud to be the result of such kind of story.
3. QuestionIn the novel, there are things I wonder about like, if Sei- Young’s grandfather never told him about the meaning of his name (Sei- Young—to swim across the world), would he still be able to do what he did in the novel? I also don’t know the very reason why Heisook’s mother never told them about their dead brother and Heisook has to find it out through a diary but still, the secret was never revealed out in the open. Also, I know Mr. Suka was forced to return to Japan but if he married Aunt Sunja,that will never be the case. Now, why did Mr. Suka did not ask Aunt Sunja to marry him? Did Kwan- Young’s death brought difference to Sei- Young or it was just to add drama to the latter’s life?
4. PredictI’m thinking that Sei- Young would not be an immediate diplomat- to- be in college if he never met Eun Ju. He would always set the fire in Sei- Young before his speeches. I guess he will not be a diplomat without Eun Ju’s influence. Another prediction, if Mr. Suka married Aunt Sunja, they will have a bigger family. Then Aunt Sunja’s loneliness and perception of the Japanese would be totally gone. Lastly, Heisook’s mother will be in safer hands if she went to the South with her daughter. I think she will be a good friend to Sei- Young’s mother and aunt.
Option #18: Poem about an idea or a character in the novel. Three to four stanzas.
The Freedom Trip
In the crowd of screaming pain,
Being alive is living in vain.
Our lips closed but the eyes could see,
What must be done to make the devil flee.
As lives of my people go to waste,
The fear in me starts to evaporate,
Leaving only my calm courage,
I want to see the fall of them, savage.
I was once a talker in silence,
A mindless thinker, prisoner of the darkness,
Now I must stand and take the steps,
Say the words and lead the nation to success.
I’ve done my part, the speeches were said.
I see my efforts and this where it led.
A road to blissful days with the motherland,
Oppression is over, freedom is at hand.