Japanese American Internment Camps Overwhelmingly the response of people in times of desperation is to survive at all costs and make the best of the situation. American history in the mid 20th century provides vivid example of desperate times such as those who were hit hardest by the era of the depression and also those who were displaced from their homes into Internment camps following World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Comparing the fictional account of Julie Otsuka's novel, When the Emperor was Divine and the historical accounts of Japanese American women reveals the many different ways in which women handle themselves, not only through the events mentioned, but also through themes that both accounts share such as
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After a woman whose husband was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy sees notices posted around her neighborhood in Berkeley instructing Japanese residents to evacuate, she moves with her son and daughter to an internment camp, abruptly severing her ties with her community (3-4, 8). The next three years are spent in filthy, cramped and impersonal lodgings as the family is shuttled from one camp to another. They return to Berkeley after the war to a home that has been ravaged by vandals; it takes time for them to adjust to life outside the camps and to come to terms with the hostility they face (108-111).
In her novel Otsuka gave a detailed account of the mother's preparation and what the family was allowed to take with them. They were allowed to "take with them: bedding and linen, forks, spoons, plates, clothes
" (9).They had to leave their house and all the possession behind and go off to these evacuation camps. Otsuka showed how the women gave away their cat, killed the dog and had the chicken for dinner (9-12). The article "Japanese Women during World War II" by Matsumoto states "Families received a scant week's notice in which to "wind up affairs
close up their homes
Each person was allowed to bring only as many clothes and personal items as he or she could carry to the temporary assembly centers
" (7).The hasty evacuation and