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Japanese Canadian Analysis

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But Miki also employs an example from Kogawa 's Obasan. He acknowledges that in the novel, Aunt Emily is able to see through the discourse of war and national security and detect the ambiguity of the term ' 'evacuation ' ' (52): ' ' ' 'It was an evacuation all right, ' ' Aunt Emily said. ' ' Just plopped here in the wilderness. Flushed out of Vancouver. Like dung drops. Maggot bait ' ' (Kogawa 139). Here, Emily not only picks up upon the euphemism of the term (Miki 50) but also expresses the implications that the relocation of Japanese Canadian presents, namely that Japanese Canadians are seen as a lower kind of people, which is also reflected in Emily 's description of the internment centre at Hastings Park that she relates to her sister…show more content…
She also knows who is responsible for this, Canadian politicians, and she wants them to be punished. Her repeated mentioning of the RCMP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in relation to the internment and the implementation of restrictions (Kogawa 97- 130) reiterates the notion of the awareness that the government does not thunk of Japanese Canadians as equals.

Another aspect the novel emphasises is the separation of families. The reader follows Naomi, Stephen, Uncle Sam and Obasan to the ghost town of Slocan City. They are now separated from Aunt Emily, Naomi 's father and their grandparents. The latter do arrive in Slocan City and want to live there, too, yet they are not allowed to:

I [Naomi] know they wanted to stay with us. But an ambulance took them away. Stephen says it takes a whole hour to drive the twisting twenty miles from Slocan to New Denver, where they are. Obasan held Grandma Nakane 's hand tightly until the driver came to close the ambulance door. Grandpa Nakane strained to sit up and tried to smile as he waved goodbye to Stephen and me […]. None of us spoke. (Kogawa
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The reader gets a glimpse of the emotions involved in this parting: Obasan who will not let go of Grandma Nakane 's hand or the forced attempt of happiness on Grandpa Nakane 's side. It might strike the reader as strange that there is not an open exchange of emotions but Naomi explains this attitude just a few lines later: ' ' We must always honor the wishes of others before our own. We will make the way smooth by restraining emotion. Though we might wish Grandma and Grandpa to stay, we must watch them go ' ' (Kogawa 151). The characters in Obasan seem to employ the restraint of emotions as a coping mechanism for the injustices they have to endure.

Another striking fact is Naomi 's description of life in Slocan. Although she is sad at first that she had to leave her home behind (Kogwa 151), her account of life in a ghost town is not purely negative. She remembers enjoying Stephen 's music, the arrival of her Uncle, the changing of winter to spring, playing in the forest (Kogawa 140- 204). This presents one striking difference between the description of ghost towns in reported history and in
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