Symbolism In When The Emperor Was Divine By Julie Otsuka

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Shelby Davis Mrs.Vermillion When the Emperor was Divine: Symbolism of Animals There are eight billion people in this world and each person has a different story. Everyone goes through something different. When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka is about a family who had to be put into an internment camp because of their race. The father was sent away and got arrested because he was suspected to be a spy. The family struggles for the next 3 years. Julie Otsuka wrote this story because she wanted to show real people and how everyone has been mistreated throughout history. This story has many symbols including the animals. The animals in this story represent the different outcomes of life we can possibly have. You aren’t allowed to have …show more content…

There are 2 animals that represent freedom. Freedom is important because the family and all Japanese Americans lost their freedom due to the war. The family also had a bird. The bird stayed in a cage that stayed in the kitchen. In the story, when the woman found out she couldn’t have any pets, she let the bird out the window which gave the bird freedom, though he didn’t seem to want to leave. “She opened the window and set the bird out the ledge. ‘You're alright,’ the bird said. She stroked the underside of his chin and he closed his eyes. ‘Silly bird,’ she whispered. She closed the window and locked it. Now the bird was outside on the other side of the glass. He tapped the pane three times with his claw and said something but she did not know what it was. She could not hear him anymore”(Otsuka 19-20). The bird eventually flew to a tree, although the woman wanted him to fly away so she forced him out the tree. “‘Go,’ she said. The bird flapped his wings and flew up into the maple tree. She grabbed the broom from behind the stove and went outside and shook the tree leaves. ‘Go’, she shouted. ‘Get on out of here.’ The bird spread its wings and flew into the night(Otsuka 20). The bird lived an imprisoned life, but he was still happy and safe until the women let him be free. The other animals in this story that represent freedom are the horses. As the family is on the train to the internment camps, the girl wakes up from a dream about her father. She looks out the window and spots something. “She pulled back the shade and looked out into the black Nevada night and saw a herd of wild mustangs galloping across the desert”(Otsuka 45). The mustangs started and ended their lives with privilege. They represent the total freedom that the family is hoping for. At the end of the book, the family finally went home. “When we came back after the war it was fall and the house was still ours… We carried our dusty suitcases up the

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