Grave of the Fireflies (synopsis - Page 6)

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Synopsis - Chapter Six: White Rice

The aunt has made rice for Seita and Setsuko, but she's still badgering them, though with a little less intensity. "With my daughter and our lodger working overtime so much," she says sweetly, "I've felt bad not having rice to give them." Setsuko asks for seconds. "You're just gobbling it down, aren't you?"

Rice Balls

On another morning, the aunt makes rice balls for her lodger and daughter to take with them to work and school while Setsuko and Seita are eating rice porridge for breakfast. Seita tries to tell her that they'll have rice balls for lunch, but the aunt tells them that they'll have porridge for lunch, too. "You think a lazy slug like you deserves the same as people who work for our nation?" She gives Seita and Setsuko a lecture about cooperation and earning one's own rice, but neither of them listen to her. When the aunt says, "I even give them rice, and still they complain," Setsuko says, "But it's our rice."

The aunt becomes enraged, and tells them to fix their own rice if they think she's cheating them. Then she tells Seita that he should write to his other relatives in Tokyo (ones on his mother's side) since her home could be bombed any day.

Unfortunately, Seita doesn't know any of their addresses.

On a Train

Seita takes a train downtown with Setsuko to check the balance of his mother's bank account. Setsuko is playing with some bugs outside the bank and sees a mother with a girl about her own age, singing about frogs and going home. When Seita returns, she tells him that she's hungry and thirsty, so he pulls out the trusty candy tin and gives her a fruit drop.

On the trolley, Seita tells Setsuko that their mother has 7000 yen in the bank. "Enough to live on," he says. They stop at a post office and write another letter to their father, asking him to write back soon.

Under a Umbrella

They go shopping in the rain. Seita buys a used umbrella, a hair comb, and a portable rice stove with bowls, the latter of which is really hard to come by, according to the shopkeeper. Seita carries a bag of new belongings and the rice stove, while his sister, riding on his back, holds the holey umbrella over their heads. They sing a song about a big brother who comes home with a big umbrella.

At the aunt's house, Seita makes a fire in the stove while the aunt watches them in disgust. When the lodger inquires about them, the aunt says that their doing their own cooking, and even bought a stove just to spite her.

Seita and Setsuko eat in their room, and he sprawls out bad-mannerly after he finishes. Setsuko scolds him, but Seita tells her they can sit any way they want.

Pat on the Head

Seita gets their rice rations, and it hardly fills his bag at all. That's all the rice he and his sister receive to last them through June. On the way home, Setsuko stamps her feet and bawls. Seita gives her the candy tin, but when she shakes it, she can't hear any candy inside. She cries louder, until Seita opens the can, sees some candy stuck inside, and bangs them free. He pours them into Setsuko's hand: three whole fruit drops and a couple of chips. After some deliberation, she licks up the chips, then puts the others back in. She gives the tin back to Seita, who puts the lid back on and gives it back to Setsuko. He pats her head.

By the time dinner is over, Setsuko has finished off all the candy. Seita takes the tin, fills it partially with water, and lets Setsuko shake it. He pours the water into a cup and gives it to his sister. She drinks it, and the water has all kinds of flavors mixed together.

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