Copper reflects on the meaning of life as he faces challenges at his school. He befriends a poor classmate who is being teased and bullied, but that puts him in crosshairs as well. Somehow he must find the courage to stand with his friends, and find out what kind of person he really wants to be. Copper’s uncle and mother give him good advice, but ultimately it is up to Copper to make his own decisions.
This book is told in two parts; the first is Copper’s experiences at school and the second is his uncle’s notes to him about philosophy and the underlying meaning behind everyday things. These two perspectives overlap in alternate chapters. First we read about something that happened to Copper and then his uncle writes to Copper about it, expounding on different moral and social ideas of why that particular experience was important and how it can help to shape Copper into a good person.
Taro’s family are all killed by invading soldiers, but the captain saves young Taro alive to be a servant. Taro vows to become a samurai, and regain the wealthy position his father once held. He begins as a lowly kitchen boy, but quickly is placed in higher positions of trust. He gains the respect of men in power and slowly rises in the ranks to follow his dream, but the shifting wars in Japan threaten to destroy everything he knows. Continue reading →