Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet Analysis

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Imagine growing up where all you ever hear about is the war and suddenly befriending what many call “the enemy.” Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is a novel about Henry Lee, a young Chinese-American boy, who befriends and falls in love with a Japanese-American girl, Keiko Okabe. As Henry faces different challenges he begins to grow up and make important decisions that impact him later on. He also realizes that what everyone else saw to be a threat were actually all Americans just like them. Throughout the novel, Henry faces racism, problems with his family, and the horrors of watching his best friend and her family become prisoners of an internment camp. During the book, Henry is constantly dealing with racist nicknames such as, yellow coward, Chink, Jap lover, Tojo, rice nigger, and baak gwai by the Chinese kids, which means…show more content…
Because of the lack of communication between Henry and his parents, they never suspect he is working at a Japanese internment camp and visiting a Japanese girl. One afternoon when Henry gets home from the camp he finds his father with Keiko’s photo albums in his hands. For the first time in eight months, Henry spoke Cantonese to his father. After finding the photos, Henry’s father disowns him and refuses to talk to him or even acknowledge his presence. After Henry’s father has an almost fatal stroke, he says, “Deui mh jyui,” which means “I am unable to face.” His father’s response was “Saang jan.” It means “stranger,” as in “You are a stranger to me.” Henry’s father still refuses to talk to him and continues to be very weak for the next two years. In that time, Henry goes to visit Keiko one last time because she moves to a different camp farther away. When Henry comes home, he finds his father dying and as he takes his last breath he says “Wo wei ni zuo,” I did it for
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