This is going to sound really broad, but I want to know what you guys think about the ways that love appears in the different short stories in “Once the Shore.” I find that love is written into these stories in such a real, raw, natural way, rather than the intense love stories that often appear in literature. There’s love between near strangers, with Jim setting up the breakfast for the widow by the sea and showing her to the cave. There’s love that has progressed and changed over time, with the older couple, Bey and Soni, in the second story. I really appreciated the way that love in “faces to fire” was only addressed towards the end and rarely ever physical, because so often love is repressed and unannounced, in the same way that it appears in this story. I just think that Yoon does such a good job of writing the love of his stories in a way that shows that love to be very realistic and very human. I want to know what you guys think and if there were instances of love in these stories that especially touched you.

the themes of love in “once the shore”

3 thoughts on “the themes of love in “once the shore”

  • October 21, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Great insight! I see how love shows itself in a subtle realistic nature in the book. Some instances that addressed love in the book to me were when Kori sets his mother’s home on fire, when the interpreter on the boat does not give the parent’s disguise away to the American forces, and Ahrim’s and Sinaru’s relationship. Some are larger than others. For example, I see Kori’s act as love, a personal sacrifice to free his mother, the “escaped angel” (78); it is analogous to sacrificing a queen in the game of chess (an almost sure way of losing the game and in Kori’s case, forfeiting any chance for a normal life). Also, the interpreter in the wreckage story may have had a small part and yet his act of love to not give the parents away shows his commitment to the respect of lost family and community members. Yoon’s depictions of his characters are very real to me and somehow relatable in feeling.

  • October 21, 2019 at 10:10 am

    I really adore the themes of sacrificial/graceful love in this book. Like how Sojin has this almost unexplainable treatment of Kori, in which she loves him so much that she forgives the things that she doesn’t even know about. I think it shows up in the other stories, too.

    Different kinds of love (not just romantic or familial) are represented in these stories, and I really appreciate that.

  • October 21, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Especially with getting to “Faces to the Fire”, I kept thinking about how far we’ve come in terms of representation of love in this class. Watana really had us grappling with identifying love in nuanced (and frankly, abusive) circumstances, and while Yoon gives, as you’ve said, a much more real and raw expression of love, he certainly hasn’t made identifying love any less complex. If anything, Kori and Sojin complicate our ability to identify love even further given the indeterminate nature of events as well as the brevity of the story itself. (I can’t be the only one that was simultaneously left in awe by the personal, divulging text and in agony over the inability to get answers to the questions almost spelled out in the text.) Every story we read seems to invite us in and sit us right back outside whenever it so chooses and I’m fascinated.

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