Joy Kogawa's Obasan Analysis

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War has no boundaries. It separates families, tears down homes full of memories, and turns people against each other. A memorable piece of literature that epitomizes the true effects of war is Obasan by Joy Kogawa. Obasan is a valuable piece of literature; it shows another aspect of World War II and its devastating effects. Japanese-Canadians are silenced, brutalized, and punished due to the paranoia of war.
Kogawa’s writing style has such an impact on the individual reading the book. The writing style allows the individual to form a bond with the characters. Kogawa uses seemingly minor details to show the ugly truth of war. Kogawa brings up a detail at the end of a chapter, then she goes into depth on that miniscule detail. “I cradle the rubber …show more content…

The devastating effects of war are being shown through young Naomi’s eyes. The first person point of view is from a child’s eyes. She does not understand much when she is younger. “The orders are to leave everyone in the Sick Bay behind. Is it a death sentence for the old ones’ Grandpa Nakane at Sick Bay? Where I wonder, is that? And why is it a cause of distress? Is Sick Bay near English Bay or Horseshoe Bay? Past English Bay are the other beaches, Second and Third Beach, where I once went to buy potato chips and got lost” (Kogawa, 89). Obasan is a valuable piece of literature because it shows the traumatic effects of war, especially on young children. Naomi’s mother returns to Japan to care for her sick mother. Japanese people are not allowed to come to Canada when the war begins. “What matter to my five-year old mind is not the reason that she is required to leave, but the stillness of waiting for her to return. After a while, the stillness is so much with me that it takes the form of a shadow which grows and surrounds me like air” (Kogawa, 78). War can split families for a lifetime. Naomi hides underneath her depression, which was caused by her mother’s leaving. Sickness is also another effect of war. Many Japanese people are very sick due to the conditions they are forced to live in. The livestock barns caused people to have lice, bacterial infections, and many other deadly diseases. “Aya and Mark were sick when I told them. We all thought they were safe with friends in Saltspring. She has no idea of what’s going on and I think she may not survive. I presumed Grandpa Nakane was in the men’s area, but then I learned he was in the Sick Bay” (Kogawa, 117). There are so many ill people that the hospitals are full and people are being sent to Sick Bay to die. The war is so devastating, not only does it split families apart many of them die a cruel death. “‘Everyone someday dies,’ she says again. By

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