Monday, May 29, 2017

Home Is a Strong Word

     Pachinko is a novel about a Korean family's struggle over several generations. I wrote about it in my last blog post. Today, I will be talking about the beginning quote. It says, "Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit answered to, in strongest conjuration."----Charles Dickens.
     Home is indeed a strong word and home is in different places since people come from different backgrounds. Most people are proud of their home to some extent. Some show a strong degree of family pride. Others show strong patriotism while others show pride in their home town or the long lost heritage of their ancestors. When we think of home, we do not merely think of a specific building, but rather the pool of memories and emotions related to it. The mere thought of home could change our mood. For some people, it could change their day.
     Charles Dickens' quote suites Pachinko because home is a concept commonly seen throughout the novel. The first mention that I remember is the time when Sunja marries and thinks about whether she will see her mother again. She must move to her husband's home in Japan and start a new life. Throughout the book, many of the Korean characters long to return to Korea. These characters had loyalty to Korea since it was their home.
      Home is a very strong word. It is where we have spent most of our lives and it's the place where our true personality shows. Have you ever seen somebody who you thought you knew and then saw them at home and realized they weren't who you thought they were? You're not alone. The same thing has happened to millions of other people. And it will continue happening.
     Everybody wants a home. A home may be a physical building, but it could also be wherever our comfort zone is. One of the comfort zones could be when we're among family, the second thing we think about when we think about home. Family is not always our blood relatives. In fact, sometimes people outside our genetic families are better than our real families. Regardless of where home is found, it remains part of our identity. Family is the biggest part of our association and where we live can have a major impact on our lives. For example, many college graduates could not find jobs in their career majors simply because those industries were located away from where they planned to live. Those who couldn't move had to work elsewhere.
     Many people are still looking for homes. Some in a physical sense, and some in an abstract sense. I am looking for a home in an abstract sense. A few weeks ago, I realized I should probably look for another language to learn. For years, I wanted to learn Spanish, but I am not sure if I am passionate enough about Spanish culture to continue. I have to learn more about myself before I know where this figurative home is. I think this home is with Chinese, but I am not sure.
     As for identity, Pachinko touch on this as well. One of the characters committed suicide after seeing his mother. The book does not say why, but it gives enough information to give us a conclusion: he could not face the reality of his identity after finding out who his real father was. He wanted to run from it. Had he grown up with his real father, the suicide would have likely never happened. Yet, only the author could imagine how he would have turned out. He would have been different because his childhood home would have been different.
     Identity is part of home since home defines who we are and how we perceive ourselves. Home is indeed a strong word. And we have a longing for it.

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