"I remember back when I was a little kid- Sound familiar? This phrase is often used to tell a story that has impacted one's life to a certain degree whether at that time or in the present. It is common for people to use knowledge from what was learned when they were a child in their continuing years as a basis for decisions in their life. This concept is demonstrated in the two short stories "Cranes," by Hwang Sunwon, and "Two Kinds," by Amy Tan. The two plots share the theme of characters reflecting on their past and allowing their childhood experiences to shape their lives and create closure in their present. .
"Cranes," revolves around Songsam, a young Korean man, whose activities and lessons of youth guide him to make important, mature decisions in his adult life. Songsam had moves to South Korea to escape dangerous warfare and an oppressive government. This force of movement has given him an early sense of independence and the ability to make his own choices. This judgment is put to the test when he comes across his childhood playmate, Tokchae, in a less than good-natured situation. Tokchae is now the head of an enemy organization of North Korea and is captured in South Korea. When Songsam comes across and recognizes Tokchae, he tells the Public Peace Police officers that he would take him, an implication that Tokchae would be killed. As they begin walking, however, Songsam learns more about Tokchae's life obligations and begins to relive their childhood memories. .
A vivid incident that came upon Songsam's mind was their childhood adventure with chestnuts. The two boys go to steal chestnuts from an old man's tree. On doing so, Songsam falls and chestnut burrs embed into his bottom. It was at this time that Tokchae helps Songsam pick the burrs from his bottom and even gives Songsam some of his own chestnuts. This moment had creates an unforgettable bond between the boys as a silent agreement to always help each other in times of need.