Gary Ichiro Character Analysis

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This is evidenced in Ichiro’s constantly wavering feelings towards his response to the loyalty oath. Ichiro goes back and forth between self-pity and self-loathing, but is not able to see his “no-no” in a positive light, as an act of protest. He does not even consider his actions as a call for social justice, having stood up to demand racial equality. Instead, he takes little credit and provides no justification for his actions. He presents his situation in isolation: his decision to resist the draft was his alone, without consultation or influence. Okada recreates Ichiro’s memories/imaginings in a courtroom scene. One after the next, nisei prisoners are called upon to plead their case in front of the judge. As Okada recounts each…show more content…
He illustrates the role played by choice in responding to the American binary system of assimilation. Gary appears only briefly, but is important in that he, like Ichiro, is a no-no boy. Gary explains: “It was good, the years I rotted in prison. I got the lead out of my ass and the talk out of my system. I died in prison. And when I came back to life, all that really mattered for me was to make a painting. I came home and said hello to the family and tried to talk to them, but there was nothing to talk about. I didn’t stay” (198). By telling Ichiro that he decided to leave home after his release, Gary grants Ichiro permission to remove himself from his own difficult situation at home. The idea that one could leave prison and proceed in life is an idea Ichiro seems never to have considered. Gary used his time in prison to make positive changes in his life, and has come out with a sense of purpose that he did not have before. “During the day, I paint for my keep. At night, I paint for myself. The picture I want is inside of me. I’m groping for it and it gives me peace and satisfaction. For me, the cup is overflowing” (198). In contrast, Ichiro feels unchanged from when he was a prisoner. Waking up after his first night back home Ichiro thinks: “…for the first time in two years, there were no bars, but the fact left him equally unimpressed. The prison which he had carved out of his own stupidity granted no paroles or pardons. It was a prison forever”
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