“Music on the Bamboo Radio” is a historical novel, a fictional story full of adventure set during WWII. It begins on the day that Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese. Nicholas Holford, the protagonist, arrives home and finds his parents missing. Throughout the novel, Nicholas changes and grows; he becomes more mature, develops a new identity and as his life changes completely and he is forced to become brave. Nicholas becomes more mature throughout the novel. He helps a group of soldiers called the East River Column when the English army sends them a box, “but inside everything is in English writing” and the soldiers “cannot read it” and they want Nicholas “to come and help” them. Later in the novel, Nicholas joins the East River Column and helps them blow up a train and save hundreds of people’s lives.
He grows by joining a group of soldiers and helping them. As Nicholas lost both of his parents during the war he runs away with his servants to another hamlet which is a small village there he meets a new family,Tang’s family. Over there he gets more mature and also he has developed respect for other people’s beliefs as he also does things he dislikes P.34, “The task that Nicholas hated was carrying of pig manure up to the fields to spread around the plants.In the hot sun, the dung smelt sickly sweet and revolting.”He found that really disgusting because no one really likes to carry buckets of pigs dung. Also on P.55,However he also goes with Tang’s Family to visit the Golden Pagodas. he also respects in other people’s belief and he does everything very maturely and is also very keen to gain more knowledge about the Chinese culture. In the novel,Nicolas’ life changes completely and it all begins with the Japanese Invading (on P.4)
Hong Kong and him running away with his servants. As he is been forced to adapt to his new life and he is given a new name. “I give you Chinese name. You no more Nicholas. You Wing-ming.” He lives the life of a Chinese boy, because he needs to hide from the Japanese so he can stay alive, “Must do. You have Chinese boy haircut now. If Japanese soldier think you English, he kill you.” As time passes, Nicholas forgets his past life and his real parents. “I don’t really remember what it was like…before…What it was like to live with my parents.” Losing his parents has changed Nicholas because he realizes how important parents are. he needs to understands his new family and culture. Nicholas becomes more brave as he has to adapt to his dangerous situation.His environment is also is a very dangerous because the Japanese are every where in HK. He risks a situation knowing that it is dangerous he still does it because the Japanese have scattered everywhere.The situation is going and getting the quinine for Tang because he is very sick of working.So Nichloas and Ah Mee set off to get the quinine.
While they go to purchase the quinine the situation gets more dangerous as they come to face to face with the Japanese. When Ah Mee wanted to rest for a few moments and went towards a tea-shop where there were several chairs and tables and were arrayed under a spreading tree. As they just sat down the owner appeared and told them to “Place your order”. And the owner’s ear hair which was curled fowards, looking as if a bizzare fungus had taken on had taken root on the other side of his head. Nicholas kept on looking at the owner’s ear and Ah Mee said “You no look his ear. We no want him angry.”P.39. Ah Mee said that “I no want tea, I just want to sit.”. The owner said, “This no free seat, must buy tea.” because Nicholas was looking at the owner’s ear for a long time. So they bought tea and left.Nicholas also thinks that two bowls of tea cost might be the difference life and death of Tang on P.40. While going to purchase the quinine on the way they see a man and two japanese soldiers.
The Japanese soldiers were looking for the man’s identity papers which Ah Mee and Nicholas did not have with them. The soldiers were having cruel fun with the man by pointing a rifle buts around his throat and shoot him.While Nicholas lost his balance the Japanese saw him and if they shoot Ah Mee like the man was shot then he would have taken out.But instead one of the soldiers kissed Ah Mee on the lips on P.43. Ah Mee was in crying but silently and tears also came out silently. To get the quinine they had to meet Dr.Wu to get the quinine P.45. Dr.Wu could read Ah Mee’s and Nicholas’ eyes.Dr.Wu could tell what they wanted and on P.45 he tells that he will be getting the quinine from his office. This is how he risks this situation and in the end they were safe. What Nicholas did was very dangerous. This also shows how he cares for people who is in a very critical situation.
Overall, Nicholas changes and grows throughout the novel and lives a completely new life filled with danger, while becoming more mature and brave. While he gets mature he understands how dangerous the situation has become.The invasion of the Japanese changes him because he learns how valuable and good his life is. Nicholas losing his parents makes him realize that he is very lucky to even have parents because unlike other children who may have lost their parents during the Japanese Invasion. Knowing that Nicholas losing his parents he does not think of them since he has a new family but he does miss them. He also is trying to follow his father’s footsteps because his father is in the army.
Courtney from Study Moose
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