Loss of Identity in When the Emperor was Divine Essay

2721 Words Oct 27th, 2014 8 Pages
Loss of Identity in When the Emperor was Divine
“As we got off the bus, we found ourselves in a large area amidst a sea of friendly Japanese faces, “, stated by a once twelve-year old Nisei Florence Miho Nakamura in her account of her internment camp experience (Tong, 3). This initial experience was common among many Japanese, as they were uprooted from their homes and relocated to government land. Although, they had been asked to leave their homes and American way of life, many had no idea of what was to greet them on the other side. As a result of the unknown, many Japanese had no time to prepare themselves for the harshness and scrutiny they faced in the internment camps. Interment camps not only took a toll on the Japanese
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Like most individuals with animals, pets are considered part of the family. It is clear that White Dog is a part of the family, and has been for quite a while now. The boys concern when he cannot find White Dog works to show the connection they have, for it is apparent it is routine that he checks on the dog each day after school. Likewise the characters, like many of those who endured internment camps, continue to lose the very things they once cherished.
In Justin Ewer’s “Journey Into a Dark Past” 15 year old Betty Abe says, “Some whites swooped down on Japanese communities looking for bargains. Cars, silverware, furniture-all were gobbled up for a fraction of their value (Ewers, 3).” Likewise another reading that explored children of the internment camp speaks of how many of the children were initially excited to take a trip but, “Such feelings, however, were tempered by the impending losses of friends, pets, and toys (Tong, 13).” We see the same type of instances in the novel. As the novel unfolds we witness the boy’s loss of his favorite umbrella and turtle, both significant in meaning to him. Overall the family loses dad, their home (although temporarily), their pets, rosebush, respect of others, etc. More importantly, it is through the characters being stripped of their possessions that we begin to see a shift in their identity. We own things because they represent us, make us feel good about ourselves, make us happy, etc. Through

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