Grave of the Fireflies (synopsis - Page 7)

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Synopsis - Chapter Seven: So Selfish


The aunt goes into the kitchen and notices that Seita and Setsuko have left all their dirty dishes in the sink. She complains to herself about their selfishness. As she starts to wash the dishes, she hears Setsuko crying for her mother. The aunt hurries to their room and throws open the door. She tells Seita to quiet his sister's crying, which is keeping her daughter and their lodger awake. Seita carries Setsuko outside on his back. A few fireflies are about. He hums to her, but then an air-raid siren sounds.

Suddenly, it's not Seita and Setsuko but their spirits. He carries his sister up a hill, where they can see their living selves standing just inside the entrance to a hillside shelter by a lake. In his mind, he hears his aunt's reprimand about not helping to fight fires.

They stand in the entrance, waiting for the rain to stop. Setsuko says she wants to go home, to her real home, because she hates living with their aunt. Seita reminds her that they have no home to go back to, then tosses a rock into the lake. He remembers a short time earlier, when he and his sister were singing and playing the organ in their room. The aunt came up to the window, holding a mop, and told them to sop it. She lectured them again about the war and how the two of them were nothing but trouble for her. As she walked off, she told them that they could just live in the shelter for all she cared.

Seita comes out of his memory. He tells Setsuko that they'll live in the shelter from now on, because that way, they could live how they want.

Seita borrows a hand cart and runs down a road past a rice field, with Setsuko standing in the cart. They dig through the ruins of a house, and Setsuko finds a pink purse. They take what they find back to the shelter.


They go back to the aunt's house and pack up their belongings. He tells his aunt that they've bothered her for long enough. The aunt asks them where they are going, but Seita tells her they haven't decided yet. She seems worried about that, but tells them to take care of themselves. As they leave, she tells Setsuko goodbye and starts to go inside, but when she hears Setsuko giggling down the road, she aunt looks after them and sighs.

The shelter has two entrances, and the tunnel between them forms a U. Setsuko calls the right one the kitchen and the left one the front door. She asks Seita where the bathroom was supposed to be; as he hides the box of ashes under a bench in the back of the shelter, he tells her that can be anywhere. He then takes her with him to return the cart and to buy food and straw from the farmer.


They go to a well and carry back fresh water. With their stove, they cook the last of their rice with the vegetables they bought and some sort of mollusks or mussels they found in the lake. They eat, and they smile at each other.

That evening, they look out on the lake, discussing plans on how to get by eating frogs, since they finished off all the food they made. Mosquitoes are biting at them, so Seita tells his sister to get under the mosquito net.

Later, while Seita is doing the dishes in the lake, Setsuko comes out and tells him that she forgot her toothbrush. He tells her she can do without for one night, then tells her to get back under the net because the mosquitoes were getting worse. She says that she's afraid of the dark, so he takes her along to go take a leak in the woods. A plane flies over them, with its lights blinking like a firefly.

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