Pearl S. Buck


Summary book THE BIG WAVE - Pearl S. Buck

The main characters of this story are two Japanese boys, Kino and Jiya, who live by the ocean, in an area where nature is beautiful and stunning, but also very harsh towards people because there was constantly a deadly danger of volcanoes, earthquakes, and the impact of large sea waves.
Their childhood, as well as the lives of the adults, were filled with constant fears of unpredictable forces of nature that brought misfortune and death.
One day, it happened, a wave destroyed the entire village and killed many people, including Jiya's family and home. In the moment when Jiya is left with nothing he had and loved, he is adopted by Kino's father, and everyone in Kino's poor family strives to compensate him with the warmth and love he once had when his parents and brother were alive.
Jiya feels that clearly and then, when after some time, a wealthy old man offers him to live with him in great wealth, Jiya, to the joy of Kino's family, refuses because he chose to enjoy the love they provide instead of wealth.
However, Jiya, after the accident, was always a lonely and sad boy who was most afraid of the ocean. After a long time, when good people appear who want to rebuild his house, he overcomes his fear and says the sentence: "Life is stronger than death". He then decides to continue where life stopped after the arrival of the big wave and becomes a fisherman who lives by the ocean, just like his father was.
When he grew up, he acquired his fishing boat, a new house, and married Kino's sister, so he also became a family member by blood. Soon, the whole former village is rebuilt, and life continues as before.
The wise words of Kino's good father tell us how he deals with dangers: "We must be capable. Fear makes a person weak. If you are afraid, your hands tremble, your legs falter, and your brain is unable to command your hands and feet what they should do".
"This is our home. No matter how dangerous and threatened by volcanoes and seas, this is the place where we were born."
"To live in danger means to be aware of how beautiful life is."


  • Two boys, Kino and Jiya, spend their time together playing and swimming on the shores of the ocean.

  • Like all the residents of the village by the ocean, they are constantly afraid of volcanoes, earthquakes, and the impact of large sea waves, which were common in that area.

  • Kino lived on a hill above the village, his father was a farmer, while Jiya lived in the village by the ocean and his father was a fisherman.

  • One day, the volcano started shaking again and emitting smoke, so the whole village was trembling from the earthquake and the approaching of a big wave.

  • Sensing the danger, Jiya's father sends him to the farm at Kino's place, which was elevated on the hill and safe from the impact of the big wave.

  • After that, a big wave appeared and destroyed the whole village where Jiya's father, mother, and older brother were.

  • Watching from the hill, Jiya fainted from sadness. Kino's parents immediately try to do everything they can to help him.

  • Although he was a poor farmer, Kino's father decides to adopt Jiya, so they could become the family he lost.

  • Kino and his family try their best to comfort Jiya, who cries and mourns frequently in the first few days.

  • After some time, thanks to them, Jiya starts feeling better, but then a wealthy old man comes to adopt him and take him to his castle.

  • Jiya has to decide on his own whether he wants to stay with Kino's family or go with the old man.

  • He decides to stay in Kino's house, where he felt good because of the family love they provided him.

  • However, Jiya is still a boy who is afraid of the ocean and the big wave within himself, until one day, people appear who want to build him a new house.

  • The wealthy old man opposes it, saying that the big wave will come again, but Jiya interrupts him and says that no one is completely safe anywhere in this world and that life is stronger than death.

  • Jiya decides that when he grows up, he will become a fisherman who lives by the ocean, just like his father, because he no longer wants to live in constant fear of the big wave.

  • When Jiya grew up, that's exactly what happened. He built a house by the ocean, got a fishing boat, and married Kino's sister, thus becoming a part of their family.

  • Soon, the whole former village was rebuilt, and life continued where it left off after the big wave.

Briefly Summarized Books