A Single Shard SummaryThis print version free essay A Single Shard Summary.
Autor: reviewessays 30 April 2011
Words: 2108 | Pages: 9
The setting of the book I read was Korea around the twelve century. The impact it has on the story is the detail in the work that the potters did during their time period. The detail work is what counted, no two things were the same because everything was hand-made. They didnâ€™t have technology to make stuff or mass produce something. Everything was made by hand and it showed their skill.
The main character of this book is Tree-ear. When he was younger, his parents didnâ€™t have the ability to take care of him. He was brought to a temple of monks and they took him in until they could find someone that could take care of him. They brought him to a small town called Ch'ulp'o. He was taken in by a kind person named Crane-man. Crane-man had a disability. One of his legs were weaker and he had to use a cane to get around. They both lived homeless under a bridge. Tree-ear has a dream, to become a potter making celadon clay. Another of the characters is Min. He is a famous potter and known of. He is one of the few potters in Ch'ulp'o that doesnâ€™t have an apprentice. He isn't the nicest guy to be around but still does the best work.
Now the book started out in Ch'ulp'o. Tree-ear was young. They were always looking for a meal and Tree-ear would go to Min's house once in awhile to watch him work. One day he broke something of Min's. He was too poor to pay him back with money so he offered his services to pay off the debt. Min accepts his offer and Tree-ear goes home for the night and has to come to work the next morning. Tree-ear expects that he will be helping Min make pottery but when he gets there, he is told to get wood for the kiln. Its his turn to put wood in the kiln and Tree-ear is surprised. Well, he gets there and fills up the cart like he is told. He has a hard time pushing the cart back because it is heavy to him. It takes the whole day to chop the wood and bring it to the kiln. He finishes his services and when it is all done, he asks Min if he can work for him for free since he's interested in pottery. At first Min says no to his kind offer and then he gets talked into letting him work for him. Well, for his kind services, Min's wife pays him off with food knowing that he wasnâ€™t too fortunate. Tree-ear hasnâ€™t forgotten about Crane-man though. Out of the food Min's wife gives him to eat, he brings a bowl from home and saves the rest for Crane-man. He hides the bowl at first so Min's wife doesnâ€™t expect that he is disrespecting her by not finishing it. But she finds it at a point and knows about Crane-man. She fills it up for him all the way so he has a meal to eat. This goes on for a bit and then news comes round that a royal commission is going to happen soon. A commission means that he going to go to work for the emperor and will pretty much live the perfect life. The emperor appreciates the work of his royal potter because the details like said before. After the news is heard and Min Starts to work on something new for the judge from the emperor. He makes around 7-8 replicas of one pot just to make it right and symmetrical, and picks only the best to show. Tree-ear goes one day to drop off the pots from Min to the kiln. He notices another potter in town and sees something that hasnâ€™t been done in pottery before. He sees inscribed work on the pots. He goes back and thinks about what to do, either tell Min about the work or donâ€™t tell him. He goes home after the day and talks to Crane-man about what to do. He asks him for help to ask him if its stealing if no one else no's about it and wasnâ€™t suppose to know about it or was it ok for him to tell Min about what he saw. He is convinced that he should just act like he didnâ€™t notice anything. The commission came to the town and all the stalls were setup. Tree-ear was done helping Min with setting up his stall, so he went off exploring the other stalls. All the others had the same kind of design except for one other. He created inscribed work and everyone is interested in his work because of this. The royal judge was interested in this potter's work. He liked Min's work also so he gave him more time to make more things. The royal judge gave this amateur potter a temporary commission. When they came back from seeing the royal judge, Min asked him what the big deal was? Tree-ear said that the potter made a new kind of design of inscribed work. Time went by and Min made 8 copies of one pot with inscribed work. He didnâ€™t like 6 of them because they were the "wrong" color of celadon clay. The last two had flawless detail and were perfect. He had to think of a way to get them to the emperor in Songdo. Min was incapable of traveling their nor was his wife. Tree-ear thought of something. He could take the trip and bring the pottery there. Min said he could take the trip if it was ok with Crane-man. Tree-ear went home to discuss this with Crane-man. Crane-man said to do what Tree-ear thought was right, so he decided to take the trip. Tree-ear asked his master of a favor though. He wanted to see if Crane-man would take over his duties while he was gone. Crane-man questioned him because he said Min was doing ok before he was there so why wouldnâ€™t he be able to take care of himself? He said its not Min that I want u to do this for, Its Min's wife. She could use his help and he is taking the journey mainly because of her. The next day, they're in a dilemma. They need something strong to carry the two precious pots to Songdo. Crane-man says he can build something durable and delicate enough not to scratch the pottery. He uses straw to weave a case. He double lines it so it is strong enough so it won't tear apart. He places silk inside where the two pots are going to be so they donâ€™t receive any damage. Crane-man brings it to Min and Min wants to make sure it will keep his precious work safe. He puts in two test pots. Once in they ask Tree-ear to throw it and practically try to destroy them. He does his worst and then they open the container. Nothing is damaged so Crane-man made it well. Tree-ear is given money and rice-cakes for his journey. They send him off on his way to Songdo. One thing before he leaves was that Crane-man said to think of the journey like city to city because it'll make it seem faster. Well he goes on his journey and comes to a town that Crane-man told him a story about. He said that he was the ruler of a city and one day his enemy came to attack him. He had no choice but to run up to a cliff and was then surrounded. He was going to die but he had many women surround him because they were loyal to him. They were pushed off the cliff with the king. The sight of them falling in their colorful dresses was like petals falling off a tree. Crane-man told him to visit this cliff so the day he got there, he went up. He was looking at the sight and then experienced what happened. A stranger walked up behind him and said, "so you know the story?" The stranger offered his help and Tree-ear respectfully declined it but the stranger wouldnâ€™t leave. The stranger grabbed the bag and try to take it from him. Tree-ear held on for as long as he could but not long, another guy came up and grabbed his arms. Tree-ear was defenseless and watched helplessly as the other stranger opened up the container. He said only two worthless pots. They asked Tree-ear why the struggle for these two pots? He said because they were a gift to the emperor. They stopped and started to walk away. One of them said wait, lets have some fun while we're up here. He grabs one of the two pots and throws it off the cliff. Tree-ear hears the crash from the pot and doesnâ€™t know what to do. They pick up the second pot and throw it off the edge. Tree-ear covers his ears and doesnâ€™t hear the crash. They walk down the cliff and leave him there. Tree-ear doesnâ€™t know what to do now. He walks down the cliff back to the town.
The climax of the story was when he was getting back to the town. Tree-ear thought, maybe the second pot was ok because he didnâ€™t hear the crash. He went down to the bottom of the cliff to see if it was ok. He found one pile of cracked clay. Then he found a second pile and he fell to his knees. He was thinking of all of Min's hard work that he put into the pots. He picked up one piece of the pot though. It had the inscribed work on it and it was ok. The detail of the work wasnâ€™t changed. In hope he brought it to Songdo hoping that the emperor would accept this as an example of his work. He comes to the emperor's palace and is invited in. He talks to the royal judge about the mishap and shows him the single shard. The judge looks at it as it is the most amazing thing he saw. He tells him that Min got the commission. He is sent back to his town by sea and tells Min the great news. Min isn't excited because he has bad news for Tree-ear. Crane-man died because of an accident. Tree-ear starts to cry and lets out all his emotions. Min and his wife take him in as a son of their own son. He finally told him that he was going to learn how to make pottery.
The moral of the story is that you should never give up on whatever your doing. He never gave up on his trip and was rewarded for his good choices. Crane-man never gave up on him and Tree-ear turned out to be good. The bravery it took to do what he did. He had compassion and it paid off.
I thought that the book was pretty good. He had someone that loved him like no one else has. The journey was courageous and it paid off for Min, his wife, and Tree-ear. He was taken in as their son and I didnâ€™t expect that coming from Min. He was mean most of the time and to do this means that he cared about Tree-ear. Another thing was that the stories and things that were taught to Tree-ear also taught me some things that relate to me.
I recommend this book to anyone really who likes a good book with good moral values. It teaches everyone who reads it good things to do. It has twists and turns in it that has a good impact on the story. This book deserved the Newberry Award. It has everything a good book should.