Music on the Bamboo Radio

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Last Updated: 13 Jan 2021
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How does Nicholas change and grow During the novel? “Music on the Bamboo Radio” is a historical fiction novel written by Martin Booth sets in the time of 1941 when the imperial Japanese Army invades Hong Kong. The main character of this novel, Nicholas Holford, a British boy who disguised as a Chinese and survived through the war, but on the way, he faced a lot of challenges and difficulties to his new life which transform Nicholas into a brave and mature young man.

Nicholas changes and be more matures in many ways, one of Nicholas’s most obvious change that he demonstrated in this novel, is that he turned to be more independent and started to make his own decisions. He was a boy who relies on his parents a lot and rarely needs to make his own decisions. At the start of the novel, Nicholas’ parents were sent away to join and work in the war, which they left Nicholas alone with their servants, Tang, Ah Mee and Ah Kwan.

Tang urged for Nicholas and the other servants to leave and hide from the Japanese Soldiers, but Nicholas refuses to leave and insists on waiting for his parents. “We must wait, when my parents get back. ” (Page 4) He does not realize that refusing to leave will bring them into huge danger, he is also not brave and mature enough to make decisions. However, as the novel progressed, Nicholas became much more independent and starts making his own decisions. In Nicholas’ new life, he has to live with a Chinese family and help them to do housework which chores became his daily routine.

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Unfortunately, Tang was sick from a mosquito bite after selling fish in the market one day, and in order to same Tang’s life, Nicholas and Ah Mee has to risk a trip to Kowloon to take the medicine, Quinine, which is the only way to save Tang’s life. After the tough and difficult journey, they finally took the medicine they need, but on their was back home, Ah Mee becomes too exhausted and tired that she couldn’t walk anymore. The time is ticking away, they must bring the medicine back home as soon as possible to save Tang’s life. “Nicholas knew there was nothing for it.

Tang’s life depend on him now. “ (Page 52) Nicholas ran back home with the Quinine, he decided to leave Ah Mee behind after serious and carful thoughts. “ You’ll be safe here,’ Nicholas declared. ‘ The people will look after you while you sleep. ” (Page 52) These show that Nicholas is now able to make good and thoughtful decisions. Unlike before, Nicholas thought carefully rather should or should not run back home and leave Ah Mee here, he is able to consider both sides and determine the importance on each side before making the decision, so he takes out his bravery and made this decision.

In the middle of the novel, Major Fox, from the British Army Aid Group have been asked for the helps from Nicholas to deliver a package of a bottle of vaccine and a bar of gold. This bottle of vaccine could save hundred of human lives, and this task could only be done by Nicholas. After thinking deeply, “When he had been considering going with Tai Lo Fu to destroy the… his voice quite and resolute. “I’ll deliver it. ’ “ (Page 109/110) Nicholas decided to help deliver the package.

This mission is very risky and dangerous for Nicholas, he might get caught by the Japanese soldiers and possibly get killed by them, but Nicholas know that he could not rely on anyone this time, instead, he has to help others in need and make this decision himself. Making this decision also showed that Nicholas became very independent and he is able to make mature decisions. Another major change that Nicholas demonstrated in this novel, is that he protects and helps other in need and became considerate of others.

Nicholas grown up in a wealthy family, he has a gardener, cook and servants. (Page 3/4) He doesn’t really need to do chores for himself, regardless the fact that he wouldn’t even need to help and protect others. However, as Nicholas begins his new life, living in a Chinese Family. He starts to take his own responsibilities, and even helping his new family do chores and housework. (Page 26) Nicholas also shows his protection of others when he and Ah Mee went on the trip to get Quinine for Tang.

Nicholas and Ah Mee walk past some Japanese soldiers And the prisoners on their way back home, but Ah Mee stumbled and dropped her bundle beside them, this caught the Japanese soldiers attention and they thought Ah Mee was trying to communicate with the prisoners, which caused the soldiers to shout and took out their rifles pointing at them, but Ah Mee was too wear to stand up. Nicholas suddenly thought of an idea, he thought that the Japanese will not understand Cantonese either, so he made up nonsense with Cantonese and imitates the Chinese accent, trying to protect and change the Japanese soldier’s focus. Page 49/50) Although Nicholas did to succeed at the end and was saved by Ah Kwan, he had tried his best to protect Ah Mee in times of danger. Nicholas also became a lot wiser and smarter, and also became much more trustworthy. At the beginning of this novel, Nicholas saw two Japanese soldiers in less than seventy meters from him. “ He wanted to scream, jump up, shout out, it’s alright. It’s only me. Don’t shoot. I’m only eleven. “ (Page 3) Nicholas didn’t realize that doing that will only cause more attention from the Japanese soldiers and caused them to kill him straight away.

The right thing he should so, is quietly leave without causing any attention and hide. However, Nicholas changed as he faces more challenges. When Nicholas went on a trip with Ah Kwan and Tai Lo Fu, he met a few Japanese soldiers walking past him, again, but he reacted wisely. Although he was very afraid and scared, he stayed quiet and still, not causing any attention, (Page 65) This incident showed that Nicholas became much more wise and smart, knowing how to keep himself safe in times of danger and also learning from his mistakes.

Before Nicholas went on this trip with Ah Kwan and Tai Lo Fu, he has to keep a secret first. The purpose of this trip, is for Nicholas to do a huge favor for the East River Column Army, which fight against the Japanese secretly. The army wanted Nicholas to translate a english note from the British for them, but if the Japanese find out about this Army, they will kill all of them immediately. So Nicholas has to keep this great secret and help finish this mission without letting anyone know. “Nicholas nodded. Any sense of flattery evaporated. (Page 61) As the novel progress and Nicholas went on his mission, we can see that Nicholas kept his promise and the secret only to himself. This showed that Nicholas is not a wise and trustworthy young man. Through this war, Nicholas changed dramatically in many ways, both mentally and physically. He faced many difficulties and tough challenges, but it’s only these challenges that can transform Nicholas into a mature young man. Nicholas also surprised and amazes me because of his significant change and transformation and he also sets a great example for us to learn and experience from.

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Music on the Bamboo Radio. (2017, Mar 22). Retrieved from

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