The Dreadful Attraction
1. How has working on this project helped you learn about your family’s history and given you a better sense of your identity? This project encouraged me to learn new things about our family members and what has happened to them when they were our age. This project also helped me understand my family culture, and more about the family member I interviewed (paternal grandfather) 2. Why do you think doing a project like this is important? A project like this is special because we do not know everything about what happened to them, but for first person (personal) narratives, it’s about us so we know every single detail. Also, interviewing is a big skill to learn. This helped us study about general and specific questions, and to learn about the background history. 3. What part of this project did you enjoy the most? Why? The part I enjoyed the most was being able to contact my family member and interviewing them, because when I was calling my grandfather, I could also talk to him and my grandmother about family things after we were done. 4. What specific challenges did you face during this project and how did you over come them? My challenge during this project was trying to create a “whoa!” climax, since my topic and small moment were both about the Korean War. I overcame the challenge by stretching the climax as much as possible by including LOTS and LOTS of details and how the character felt. 5. Compared to the first narrative you wrote in September, do you think you’ve grown as a writer? In what ways? I made a huge improvement on grabbing the reader’s attention on my first paragraph. (Leads) I am so proud of myself for creating a strong lead (which I was struggling on a little bit)! 6. What advice would you give future students as they begin this project? The future students should be able to maintain the powerfulness of the narrative from beginning to end. I had the most troubles with that, and I think my ending has lack of intensity than the beginning paragraphs.
"Korean War." World Book. Ed. Charles K. Armstrong. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article? id=ar304360>. "The Origins Of A War." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http:// school.ebonline.com/comptons/article-203517?query=The%20Korean %20War>.
Interview Q & A
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How did this event affect your family? Yes, his father was the "captain" of the people of Inchon. So they had to escape a few times since they were one of the communist's big targets. Did you have any injuries during the event? If so, what kind? No, everyone was safe. What emotions were you feeling during the event? Going through a war at a young age: middle school was definitely tough and very very scary. What was your reaction to the event? I never knew that it would get so big, the war. I just thought that they were fighting in the 3.8 Line area, but no. The war got very dangerous and big. How old were you when you experienced this? I was in middle school, 8th grade. Where did it happen? At the moment when the war started, I was at Inchon, a city next to Seoul. What were you doing before the event happened? I was at baseball practice, with my friends and coach. Why did this event happen? This happened when the communists and democracies started fighting. Who else was involved? The UN took a huge part of this, and same with Russia. Were any of your friends/ family members affected? No, we escaped all together, my sister, and parents as one family. How did this affect your country/ city/ community? Everything in the city was destroyed, and there were only very little places in the houses that weren't destroyed. Did you move because of this? Yes, we moved back and forth, from Inchon to the countryside. Are there times when you don’t remember certain moments of that event? I don't remember anything that happened in the countryside, since I was young and was busy playing around with kids. How did you find out the event was happening? On the 25th at dawn, the communists attacked the South. I found out when school was cancelled. How can you connect that event to your life now? If that didn't happen, I would most likely be in Inchon right now with my family. What was the most important part of this event? It was trying to survive the second time I came back to Inchon, because that was when we were out of food, so we only had sips of water and bits of flour each day. How long did the event last? It lasted 3 years and a month-ish. Who escaped with you? Just my family escaped with me. What time of day was it? It was at daytime, after school. How did this war start? It started because the communists in the north came before morning and bombed a few areas. (On planes).
More Interview Information:
1950 June 25th, he was 15 years old, 8th grade. He was practicing baseball at school. He was the school baseball player. This started at dawn. In the afternoon, we could hear the bombs and guns shooting louder and louder. So with the teacher's permission, we headed back home. 3-8 line (after the WWII ended) North was taken over by Russia, and South taken over by the UN. In the 3.8 area, there were often mini-wars going on between the 2 sides. At first he didn't realize that it was a big deal, but as time passed, the war was growing bigger, and there were North enemies air force attacked the South. After that, I realized that the war had became serious and dangerous. 1950 June 26th, he was living in Incheon, and as the war got even more serious, the army that was protecting Incheon decided to retreat. So the North communists invaded Incheon. The communists started to kill the democracies. A lot of people died during this. 1950 June 28th, the army that used to defend Incheon came back, and they killed and arrested the communists that took over for 2 days. Just in a few days, the communists took over and killed the innocent democracies. The next day, the democracies took back and killed the communists. Since he were fairly young, he felt scared and miserable during these few days. At that time, his father was captain of the people on Incheon, so their house was also one of the communist's biggest targets. 1950 June 29th, the family decided to abandon their house and leave Incheon, to the countryside. On the 27th, the communists took over Seoul, so on the 29th, the communists arrived to Incheon with tanks and guns. He remembers how scary it was escaping Incheon. (Big sister, mom, dad, him) During the escape, every public services and banks were all closed. They had no choice but to earn food themselves. They traded furnitures for food. 1950 August 15th, (Japanese were defeated). He went to the school at the countryside, and they were choosing students to bring to the army. Every student from 9th grade and up were taken to fight for the democracies. Even tall 8th graders had to leave with them. There was no way the parents could refuse to send the kid away, since the order was from the government. That day, I had to say goodbye to many of my friends, and they never came back. Everyday we all had to hide in the forests, and during the night, we spent the nights in the temporary house.
1950 September 20th, we were noted that there will be the "Battle of Inchon". From the 24th, there were guns shooting for 3 whole days. Later on, there was nothing left on Incheon. 1950 September 27th, the UN succeeded on taking back Incheon. A lot of communists escaped back to North Korea. 1950 September 30th, he came back to Incheon, to his house. Most of it were all destroyed, but there was room for shelter and sleep. There was no food, or water so they took the burned rice from the communist's ruined food storage, and had one scoop of water from the damaged well. The UN's took back Seoul and Incheon. They continued on going up to North Korea. They defeated all communists in the 3/4th area of North Korea. Everyone thought that Korea would come back to one. But, the Chinese Army decided to join and support for the communists. 1951 January, the situation got worse as before, so they were on their second escape out of Incheon. My grandfather was as scared as before, so they went off to find his grandfather's best friend in Choong Chung Province. (My grandfather's grandfather's best friend)On his way, he went on a boat, and arrived safely without damage. Mr.Choi was being very generous of lending us a room for our family, but at that age I didn't know it was a generous thing: I was busy playing with kids at town. 1951 March, the UN army took back Seoul. He went back to Incheon to his old house, knowing that it would be safe now. There was nothing left, no furnitures since they traded everything for food. There was nothing to do and all his father's machines were broken. So his mother took some machines and made a miller and that was the only way they survived through the war. At that time, the UN donated some food and clothes to the people. They ate flour most of the time. The war stopped until now. The whole country was damaged and destroyed. No side won, and the country cut into half. Now everyone was able to work, and earn money.
Author’s Note/ Epilogue:
This was a story about my grandfather when he was 14. He experienced he Korean War in 1950 and was forced to leave his house so that their family could survive. After the Korean War, he moved to Seoul, the capitol of Korea and met my grandmother. He worked as a national baseball player, and then became the CFO of Korean Airlines. Currently, he still lives in Seoul with my grandmother. The Korean War took place on June 25th and my grandfather was in Inchon at the time. This war started because the communists invading the North area of Korea and the democracies in the South. Still, the war has not ended, it has been stopped.
Notes: - The Korean War started on June 25th, 1950. - It ended at 1953. - This is when the 3.8 line was made, separating South and North or Korea. - Japan took over Korea at the time. - Many countries were involved, including Russia, Japan and USA. - The Korean War was the first war the UN was involved in. - This war was one of the bloodiest wars in history. - The war was caused by the fight of communists invading the north and democracies in the south.
The Dreadful Attraction I opened my eyes, staring up at the dull and blank ceiling above me. I wrapped myself cozily in my blanket, all warmed up inside. It was just a little before dawn of a hot summer day of June 28th. Usually at this time, the house is as silent as a rock. But today, I heard footsteps: heavy footsteps. Tap. Tap. Tap. Of course, I thought to myself. Today is the day of the escape. I slid out of my blanket, and carefully balanced myself to stand up. My whole body was numb, just like every morning. I just haven’t come to my senses yet. I trudged out of the room, and the morning light pierced through our curtains. I squinted my eyes, trying to get a better glimpse with the blinding sunlight shining on my face. “Come on YoungHan,” my mother said from behind. The calmness in her voice was deep and heavy, nearly serious. Living in the house of the communist’s biggest target was certainly painful. Especially when I was only 14. I yawned, and rapidly grabbed my packed backpack from the \loor and swung it over my shoulder. All of a sudden, the weight of the bottles of water, pieces of bread and some thick clothes unexpectedly shoved my back. I tumbled, losing control of myself, but gaining balance before I fell right on the \loor. Phew! With my bag tightly clutched with one \ist, I gulped, and stepped out of the house. Outside the house was chaos. Guns were \iring, people were darting for life and houses were half-‐destroyed. There was last thing I spotted before I even turned around. My lips widened. “Whoa…” What were just a few meters away from me was what looked like a massive green machine, with stains of black. It slowly started towards us. Still shocked, I stared at the tank, full of amazement. “Come on!” my parents yelled, pinching and pulling me to grab my attention. “It’s a-‐a-‐a…” I mumbled, barely moving my mouth. I couldn’t believe this. Was this a dream? Or was I really gazing at that gorgeous piece of machinery? I yearned to go and touch it, to slide my \ingers on its smooth glazy surface. I moved forward, my eyes locked to the tank. Slowly, I walked towards the tank in interest. “What are you DOING?” my sister screeched. But her warning slipped out of my ears like a snake slithering by. I continued on. So did the tank. It made a grumbling noise, and turned. Now the front side was facing me. “YOUNGHAN!” I heard all family members roar. I looked back. Their faces were full of horror and as pale as snow, especially my sister’s. Why am I standing here? I instantly lost my train of thought. “Run!” someone cried out. I immediately started to sprint, darting in the direction of my family. I tried to concentrate on surviving. I ran, and ran, as fast as my legs could carry me. Suddenly a big rush of fear gushed into my head. I gulped, again and again. I hope the soldiers didn’t see me. What did I do?!
With my trembling hands, I grasped my sister’s arm. I glanced up at her. “Hurry… Let’s go,” I tugged on my sister’s sleeves. “Hurry.” I didn’t dare to look back. Nor did my family. We hurried through the big road, out of the border of Incheon, hoping and praying that we would be able to come back someday and meet our friends. But none of us knew that June 28th would be the last day I would ever meet them again.
Published on Nov 18, 2012