The Big Wave Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Big Wave.
This section contains 476 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Big Wave Summary & Study Guide Description

The Big Wave Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck.

The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck is a short novel for children about two young boys who live in Japan. When the big wave comes and takes Jiya's family, Jiya is raised by Kino's parents, but he must make a life decision when people begin rebuilding the fishing village on the deserted beach. The Big Wave is a heartwarming story that exemplifies the theme that life is stronger than death.

Kino, the son of a farmer, and Jiya, the son of a fisherman, often play together in the ocean. Kino does not understand Jiya's fear of the sea, but his father explains that people fear the sea because it is large and they do not understand it. When a storm hits their island, a big wave obliterates the fishing village on the beach. Though Jiya's father had sent him up the hill to Kino's farm, Jiya's family is washed out to sea. Jiya faints when the wave recedes to reveal the empty beach.

When Jiya awakens, he is stricken with grief at the loss of his family, but Kino's family offers him a home with them. The Old Gentleman offers Jiya a home also, wanting the best boy in the village to become his son; however, Jiya refuses the offer because he already has a home on the farm. Kino and his family are happy that Jiya decides to stay with them, and Jiya begins to feel happy again as he is accepted and loved by this family of four who welcome him into their home as part of their family.

Time passes, though the big wave is never forgotten, and Jiya grows into a gentle, strong man. He works on the farm and learns to live with the death of his family, but he never forgets them and often looks out at the sea. When people begin rebuilding the village on the beach, the Old Gentleman insists they are stupid, but Jiya tells him that this is their home, despite the dangers. He also decides to return to the sea.

Learning Jiya's decision, Kino's father begins paying Jiya wages for his work on the farm, and Jiya saves his money to buy a boat. Kino is shocked when he learns that Jiya wants to marry his sister, Setsu, but when they marry and move into a new home on the beach, Kino misses them and visits frequently. He worries about what they will do if the big wave returns, but Jiya shows him that he has cut a panel into the back room of his house which looks out onto the ocean. In doing this, Jiya will be prepared if the big wave returns, and he is not afraid. Kino and his parents return to their farm, leaving Jiya and Setsu at their new home to start their new life.

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This section contains 476 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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