Hyeonseo had issues of displacement and belonging contribute to Hyeonseo’s difficulty in establishing a sense of her own identity. Early in her life, she feels she does not belong to her father when she discovers he is not her biological father.
Theme Development #3
Many days go by with no news of Hyeonseo's father. Two weeks after his disappearance, Hyeonseo's father is released to the Hyesan hospital. He spends six weeks in the hospital, suffering from depression, before passing away.
Across the country, people are dying of hunger. Everything from food to fertilizer is in short supply and the factories shut down.
When a gang, hired by the broker, arrives at the door. They take Hyeonseo to an unfurnished apartment and insist she pay them the equivalent of $8,500 for their services.
Her mother misses her siblings and cannot find any meaning or future potential in the South. She says she wants to go home despite the consequences. She is prepared to die and wants to die at home. Hyeonseo begins to plan her mother's return journey. Her mother is confident she can bribe the right people to avoid punishment upon her return. Suddenly, their mother decides not to go back to the North since she will miss her children too much. Hyeonseo feels responsible for condemning her mother to live with the loss of her siblings.