Year of Impossible Goodbyes Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the setting of "Year of Impossible Goodbyes."

"Year of Impossible Goodbyes" is set in Korea during World War II in Kirimni, an area of Pyongyang. Korea is being occupied by the Japanese, who have outlawed all Korean customs.

2. Do you think that it was wise of Grandfather to meditate under the tree?

No, it was not wise of Grandfather to meditate under the tree. He knew that it was forbidden to practice Buddhism, and by doing so in plain sight he put not only himself but his family in danger.

3. Why is Mother's hairpin significant?

Mother's hairpin is the last family heirloom that has not been confiscated by the Japanese. This hidden gem is also a symbol of the beauty and value the Korean people have kept hidden from their oppressors.

4. Describe the family business.

Sookan's family is forced to run a sock factory that provides socks for the Japanese army. They work long hours, everyday of the week. Except for a crippled supervisor, all the other employees are teenage girls.

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