Japanese-American Family

474 Words2 Pages
Being whisked away to a strange prison for an attack you took no part in doesn’t seem like something the Great United States would do to someone. However, in late 1941 the Japanese-Americans are relocated from their homes to internment camps because of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the book the reader gets an in-depth view of a family being relocated from their home in Barkley, California to the Topaz War Relocation Center in Central Utah. The reader easily sees the injustices the family suffers through the drastic changes in setting. In this piece of literature we see this Japanese-American family suffer many injustices because of their race. Julie Otsuka does a magnificent job showing the family’s reaction to these injustices by switching…show more content…
The family relocates from a nice house to “tar-paper barracks sitting beneath the hot sun”(Otsuka, ch. 2). The new home for the mother and two children contains only one light bulb and they have to sleep on three iron cots. Compared to the soft and cozy beds at their house this was a huge change. The reader sees how this new barrack and missing father deprive the family of all happiness. The mother learns how to crochet because “It’s something to do.”(Otuska, ch. 2) and just has to keep her mind busy so she will not think of how melancholy her life is in the internment camp. The setting shows how these innocent people go from living their happy middle-class life to living like scum because they are part Japanese and are feared of being spies. The best part of the book is the ending where the reader gets to experience the eloquent remarks the father makes about his time being relocated. The reader learns how he feels about this oppression, violation of their civil rights, and all of the disrespectful stereotypes that Americans hold for Japanese American. When the Emperor Was Divine is an engaging novel where Otsuka does a brilliant job at exploring the intricate theme of oppression of minority groups while creating a realistic family point of view; making it seem like the reader is really amongst
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