Literary Analysis: Exploring American Identity Introduction This essay compares “In response to executive order 9066” (poem) by Dwight Okita to “Mericans” (short story) by Sandra Cisneros. Specifically, the essay explores the central theme of American identity in the two literary works. The “Mericans” is about a little girl who has a story about the new world and the old world. In this case, the new world is America. The young girl is prevented from entering the church where her grandmother has prayers. As a person from the old world, the young girl is not allowed to play with boys from the new world. On the other hand, “in response to executive order” by Dwight Okita is about Americans of Japanese origins that were supposed to report to relocation …show more content…
The poem has life experiences of a fourteen-year-old girl who is caught between the Japanese and American culture. The young girl claims that she does not know how to use Japanese chopsticks that are symbolic of the Japanese culture. In fact, the girl claims that she understands more the hot dogs as opposed to using chopsticks (Rhea 7). This means that the girl seems to understand the American culture as opposed to her Japanese culture. The girl identifies more with the American culture and thus the issue of American identity. The young girl claims that her favorite food is hot dogs and she does not know how to use Japanese chopsticks. This demonstrates of a child who disregards her Japanese culture and glorifies an American identity. Both hot dogs and chopsticks are symbols that surround the girl who is torn between two distinct …show more content…
This complicates even further the girl’s way of life as she tries to relate to the American identity. The friendship between the two girls originated in school. The Japanese girl does not seem to stop her ways of relating to Americans. She considers Americans more friends than her Japanese contemporaries. However, Denise who is her American friend accuses her of not being loyal to their friendship (Okita 1). She claims that she is always leaking secret information to her enemies regarding their friendship. Denise, the American girl, seems not to recognize her friend as having an American identity. Denise accuses the Japanese girl of always starting a war that is not deserved. The American girl reprimands her Japanese friend for her actions of having a big mouth. The big mouth of the Japanese girl symbolizes how the Americans take the Japanese. Most Americans believed that the Japanese leaked secrets of America to destroy their country. Conclusion In conclusion, the two literary works have the American identity as a central theme. People from different cultures seem to be split between their culture and America. The Mexican siblings are caught between their culture and that of America. Also, the Japanese girl is split between her culture and that of the US. The people from the two foreign cultures seem to identify with the American
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This book reflects the author’s wish of not only remembering what has happened to the Japanese families living in the United States of America at the time of war but also to show its effects and how families made through that storm of problems and insecurities. The story takes in the first turn when the father of Jeanne gets arrested in the accusation of supplying fuel to Japanese parties and takes it last turn when after the passage of several years, Jeanne (writer) is living a contented life with her family and ponders over her past (Wakatsuki Houston and D. Houston 3-78). As we read along the pages
Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor was Divine is a story about a Japanese-American family and their experience in an internment camp in Utah. In the book, the young girl says to her mother “Is there anything wrong with my face?... People were staring” (15). The reader can see from this quote what it was like for the Japanese-Americans during the war. The quote shows how it was not just a national problem; it was a problem for everyone- including making a ten year old girl feel self-conscious.
Mary Matsuda Gruenewald tells her tale of what life was like for her family when they were sent to internment camps in her memoir “Looking like the Enemy.” The book starts when Gruenewald is sixteen years old and her family just got news that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japan. After the bombing Gruenewald and her family life changed, they were forced to leave their home and go to internment camps meant for Japanese Americans. During the time Gruenewald was in imprisonment she dealt with the struggle for survival both physical and mental. This affected Gruenewald great that she would say to herself “Am I Japanese?
In the texts, "In Response to Executive Order 9066" by Dwight Okita and "Mericans" by Sandra Cisneros, a topic of American identity and perception of identity is shared. Both texts take a brief look at the lives, characteristics, and feelings of young girls living a bicultural life. In Cisnero's story, the girl seems caught between her two different cultures, and she struggles to connect with her Mexican heritage. In Okita's poem, the girl has a clear sense of her identity and place as an American. Culture is experienced and interpreted differently by each individual and each group of people.
She shares the struggles of being a Chinese-American woman by telling the readers her story as well as other girls who went through the same thing. Their inability to speak or at lease to speak properly has a lot to do with the Chinese culture. They are taught from a young age that they live in a patriarchal society and they have to submit to it whether they like it or not. The pressure and expectations that are set upon their shoulders may have caused them to become voiceless, it may have caused them to realized that even if they had a voice, they would never be able to use it. Not only were the readers able to get a look into Chinese society but also into typical Chinese families.
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.
There daughters were always ashamed of and resented their mothers, especially while they were young. The daughters felt this way because of the way their mothers raised them. The mothers were very hard on their daughters, and pushed them towards successful, sometimes causing their daughter to feel overwhelmed. The mothers wanted their daughters to keep their Chinese heritage and culture, but also take advantage of the opportunities they have in America. The daughters were often ashamed of their Chinese heritage, and the way that their mothers acted.
Jeanne believed that she could not write this book solely to retell the tale of Pearl Harbor and its aftermath. Instead, she wrote Farewell to Manzanar to share her personal experience(s) during that particular period of time. Jeanne’s argument throughout the book was that America was destroying the Japanese’s integrity. During Jeanne’s middle school and high school years, she struggles to find acceptance from the parents of her friends and the schools themselves. These individuals are afraid of what they’ll look like being involved
The character of Denise is used to depict the fear of Japanese Americans present amongst the general population. Denise presumably learned about her recently discovered fear from a family member and applied it to her own life. She mistreats the narrator and says “You’re trying to start a war…giving secrets away to the Enemy. Why can’t you keep your big mouth shut?” (18-19).
narrator thinks of herself as American, not so much Japanese was her friend and the United States government does. Her identity is based on what she likes of her experiences, not so much for heritage. Cisneros 's narrator sees herself as very clearly different from her Mexican grandmother. But others charge for others Mexican
This paragraph from Kesaya Noda’s autobiographical essay “Growing Up Asian in America” represents the conflict that the author feels between her Japanese ethnicity, and her American nationality. The tension she describes in the opening pages of her essay is between what she looks like and is judged to be (a Japanese woman who faces racial stereotypes) versus what she feels like and understands (life as a United States citizen). This passage signals her connection to Japan; and highlights her American upbringing. At this point in the essay, Noda is unable to envision her identity as unified and she describes her identity as split by race.
Written works about American Identity are a very common theme amongst writers, including poet Dwight Okita and short-story writer Sandra Cisneros. Dwight Okita is famous for her poem “In Response to Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers,” in which the theme of American identity is portrayed through a 14-year-old girl. In a similar way, Sandra Cisneros’s short story is told by a young girl of Mexican heritage who prefers American culture—in sharp contrast to her deep-rooted Mexican grandmother. Although the overall theme of the two texts is “American Identity,” both Okita's poem and Cisneros's short story delve deeper and portray that cultural heritage and physical appearances do not determine what it
Matsuda’s memoir is based off of her and her family’s experiences in the Japanese-American internment camps. Matsuda reveals what it is like during World War II as a Japanese American, undergoing family life, emotional stress, long term effects of interment, and her patriotism and the sacrifices she had to make being in the internment camps. Everyone living in Western section of the United States; California, Oregon, of Japanese descent were moved to internment camps after the Pearl Harbor bombing including seventeen year old Mary Matsuda Gruenewald and her family. Matsuda and her family had barely any time to pack their bags to stay at the camps. Matsuda and her family faced certain challenges living in the internment camp.
In her autobiography, Neisei Daughter, Monica Sone shares her journey and struggles of growing up, a task made more difficult as she faced racial and gender discrimination. Over the course of the novel she becomes aware of her unique identity and goes from resenting it, to accepting and appreciating her identity. At the age of six, Sone became aware of the fact that she was different, “I made the shocking discovery that I had Japanese blood. I was a Japanese (p. 3).”
A soldier tells them to put the shades down. The girl has a brief conversation with a Japanese man who only knows japanese. “The girl shook her head and said she was sorry she only spoke English” (Otsuka, 28) By saying this the girl emphasises the fact that she is a American girl and she has that identity and not just a japanese spy. The soldiers guarding the Japanese-American families makes guarding absurd.