No Only Boy By John Okada Essay

800 Words Sep 15th, 2015 4 Pages
No-No Boy by John Okada is a story about a twenty-five-year-old, second generation Japanese-American named Ichiro Yamada. The year is 1946 and Ichiro, a former undergraduate student at the University of Washington, returns home to Seattle after spending two years at an internment camp and federal prison. He was punished for refusing to serve in the Armed Forces and to swear allegiance to the United States. At that time, he became a “no-no boy.” The reason behind his resentment was because was mad over the fact that the United States’ government placed innocent Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans in concentration camps. Throughout the novel, Ichiro struggles with the guilt that he carries about not fighting in the war and he struggles with the sense of conflict about his ethnic identity. At the end of the novel, he dubs himself as an American and he realizes that both he and his country had made mistakes. Ichiro moves forward feeling optimistic about the future. One major theme from No-No Boy that stood out to me was identity. Despite his Japanese heritage, Ichiro identifies as an American. He also knew he was not being true when he answered “no” to the two questions in the internment camp. He makes his feelings plain early in the novel, when he first returns home on page 16, “...one is not born in America and raised in America and taught in America and one does not speak and swear and drink and smoke and play and fight and see and hear in America among Americans in…

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