Interactive Writing Makeup session 1: Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

This class was to make up for session #7, Nov. 6th, which I had to cancel because I was busy with entrance exams at my home university.

We talked about the book “Little Plum”, for example:

  • What is this story called?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • When does it take place?
  • Where does it take place?
  • What are the dolls called?
  • Whose dolls are they?
  • Who knows much about Japan and why?
  • Does Gem have a pony?

Then we watched the beginning of a 1987 movie called Empire of the Sun, 太陽の帝国 , directed by Steven Spielberg and starring a very young Christian Bale. We watched the beginning up to where Jamie (Christian Bale) goes back to his empty home and finds his “ama” stealing furniture.  His parents are not there.

Empire of the Sun is based on a novel by a British writer, J.G. Ballard. The story is fiction, but is based on the author’s personal childhood experiences.

After watching the beginning of the movie, we discussed similarities and differences between Empire of the Sun and Little Plum.


  1. Gem is rich, and so is Jamie.
  2. Gem has no brothers or sisters; nor does Jamie.
  3. Gem has a chauffeur and a governess to take care of her; so does Jamie.
  4. Both stories have some connection between Britain and Japan.


  1. Jamie is a British boy living in a foreign country (Shanghai in China)
  2. Empire of the Sun takes place before the Second World War (1939-1945). Little Plum takes place after the War, in 1960’s Britain.
  3. Empire of the Sun is based on the author’s own personal experiences. Little Plum is not based so much on personal experiences.