Grave of the Fireflies (synopsis - Page 11)

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Synopsis - Chapter Eleven: Rice Balls


Setsuko stops Seita by offering him some rice balls, which are actually balls of dirt. He stares at her, scared out of his mind, but she thinks he just doesn't like what she's offering. Crying, he pulls out the watermelon finally and shows it to her. He cuts out a wedge with his pocketknife and puts a piece in her mouth. She's slow to chew and chews slowly. He puts the wedge in her hand, then breaks the watermelon in two on his knee, leaving both halves beside his sister. He carries the food outside to cook. She seems to fall asleep.

The voice of the spirit Seita breaks in. "Setsuko never woke up."

The typhoon arrives, and the food Seita prepared for Setsuko is uneaten. He lies beside her; then, during the worst of the storm, he holds her.

Sometime after the typhoon, Seita goes into town to buy charcoal for the cremation. The man who sells it says the ritual should be done at a temple, since the deceased is a child, and that she should be lightly dressed. He then looks up at the sky, saying, "Beautiful day, in spite of it all."

View of the Lake

Others seem to think so as well. People are finally returning to their homes in the city from the war and from inland homes (apparently much like the children of London, who were evacuated to rural homes during much of the bombings there). A group of girls returns to their home and find their old phonograph. They put on a record, a half-Japanese rendition of "Home Sweet Home." They step out onto their back deck and wonder at their splendid view, one they've missed while they were gone. They have a view of a lake and of Seita and Setsuko's shelter.

While the song plays, we see Setsuko playing around the shelter: sweeping with a tree limb, holding the umbrella like a lady, swinging on the now-broken swing, pricking her finger with a needle, chasing butterflies, picking flowers, playing ghost, dressing like a soldier, playing rock/paper/scissors with her reflection, and finally playing hopscotch all by herself.

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