Kira-Kira Character Analysis

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In the novel, "Kira-Kira” means “glittering” or “shining”. The novel is set in the late 1950s, where Katie Takeshima and her family are the main characters. The Takeshimas own an “oriental market” in Iowa. The family moves to an apartment in Georgia after the failure of their business. Katie's parents work at a hatchery with all of the other Japanese families near them. Katie’s main caretaker is not actually her parents , but her older sister Lynn. Katie coins the Japanese term "Kira-Kira", which Lynn used for all sorts of things that “shine” throughout their daily lives. The kids begin to save up money ($100) for a new house of Lynn’s Throughout Katie’s school career, she experiences struggles due to her heritage. Katie’s grades are straight C’s. Lynn on the other hand, receives straight A’s. When Katie is six…show more content…
The Takeshimas move to “Lynn’s home” in an effort to help her get better with the help of the saved money from the kids. Lynn recovers slightly, but then falls back to sickness after Sammy gets caught in a trap on a picnic. Lynn's condition continues to worsen and Lynn becomes easily angered, (An example being of when Lynn wanted milk, only to throw it on the floor, and when Katie brought water, also threw that.) Later on, Lynn dies alone and it is discovered that 4 days before she died, she wrote a will to her family stating who got what from her because she knew she would die soon.
Katie finally realizes why Lynn had taught her the word “Kira-Kira”. Lynn wanted her to always look at the world as a shining place of wonder and hope and to never lose that hope, though there might be challenges. The family decides to take a vacation as a break from the struggles. Katie recommends California because that was where Lynn's dream house was. The family arrives in California, and while Katie walks on the beach, she can hear Lynn's voice in the waves: "Kira-Kira,
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