Title : Empire of the sun
Author : J.G. Ballard
Date of 1st publication : 1984
Total number of pages : 278 pages
Date started : 13 January
Date finished : 20 January
Enjoyment Rate (simply rate your enjoyment on a scale of 1-10): 8
Imagine that you are the writer of the book.
1. How would you talk the public into reading it?
It gives you a very realistic image what has happened in the second world war in Shanghai and as reader of the book you mait be involved in the story of Jim.
2. What would you have done differently?
I wouldn’t chance anything.
Where does the story take place?
In Shanghai and in prisoners camps around Shanghai.
When does the story take place?
It begins in 1941 and it ends in 1945.
Title (Explenation of the title)
Japan is often called the Land of the Rising Sun. The author extends the comparison. At the outbreak of the war Japan is at the height of its power, the sun in its highest position. But soon the decline of Japanese power begins and finally disappears completely. So Japan has also become the land of the setting sun.
Who are the main characters? Please describe them.
There is only one maincharacter, Jim, he is eleven years old at the outbreak of the war. He doesn’t understand much of what is going on. But he has a very strong character. Optimism and a very strong will to survive.
Do any of the main characters change or develop in the course of the story? Illustrate your answer.
Jim doesn’t change very much, but slowly he understands what the war is about.
Plot (Brief outline)
Jim lives in Shanghai with his parents when the Japanese army attacks Shanghai. After the attack, due to an explosion, he awakes in a hospital. He hears, that his father is a prisoner of war. Jim flees out of the hospital to his parents house on the Amherst Avenue. The house is empty and deserted . There he waits for three days. His parents do not return. Jim visits the house of some friends. They are also gone. The people in Shanghai are very hostile towards strangers so life becomes hard for Jim. For some weeks he lives in several houses trying to find food and water. He becomes weaker and weaker. Then he meets two Americans, Frank and Basie, who are trading cigarettes for food. He lives with these Americans for a week. Then he and Basie are arrested by Japanese soldiers. In prison he safes the life of Basie. One day Jim has to show the way to a Japanese army truckdriver to a prisoncamp outside Shanghai. They arrive in the prisonercamp Lunghua Camp. Here Jim meets Dr Ransome. Jim stays in this camp as a prisoner for three years. After the war Dr Ransome helps him to find his parents. He tells Jim, that his parents are waiting for him in Amherst Avenue. The meeting with his parents goes very difficult, because it seems that his parents are changed. After two months Jim and his mother return to England.
What is, according to you, the most important event in the story? Explain why.
The beginning of the story, when the Japanese attack Shanghai, because that is the reason that everybody has to flee.
Thema (Why has the book been written?):
The author is mainly concerned with the experiences of an English boy, who is eleven years old at the outbreak of the war.
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