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The book was disturbing—not only because of a story that didnt have many moments of levity but also because it rambled on redundantly about how lchiro was torn between America and Japan right and wrong up and down and whatever else he could conjure up to keep him from working. However the book does have valid points. useful content. and alluring ideas. The book NorNo Boy is the FIRST fiction book EVER written by an AsianrAmerican writer and now it has a followmg of AsianrAmericans referring to it as a vorce that all yellows have been trying to get out.
Avoice that screams of injustice and pain from the belly of America or Japan or some gray area in-between, I will be glad to put this book on my shelf and save it for a time when I feel like my life is meaningless and I have no where to go so it will kick me in my ass and flog me With reassurance.
With that being said we can now discuss the shift in both Americanism and nationalism as it pertains to community and who gets effected/affected. Americanism by definition is a custom or other cultural characteristic typical of the people of the US. also devotion to the customs. etc. of the US. This definition is a difficult one to work with. What is typical of the US when the US is a country consisting of cultures from around the world. a confluence of traditions. ethics. religion. colors. mentalities. and outlooks on life? The only thing all Americans have is a right to life. liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But this story takes place in wartime. and when war is present the rules change. America as an entity has to protect itself against those With whom it is at war. and when Japan bombed Pearl HarborAmenca re-wrote the rulebook. This revrsed edition revoked even the most basic rights the Japanese-Americans once had; they were now looked at With the question in mind are you the enemy? You can read a statistic that said of all the individuals domestically interned during WWII. only four people were ever convicted of betraying the American government, and none were of Japanese decent. America did later apologize however. in the language of cash. The Japanese-Americans were given a generous sum of money for their hardship. although some people think that it is not nearly enough to right the wrong that was done. The book starts outwith lchiro just getting out of prison. He didnt want to go to the internment camp nor did he want to join the army. so with his options exhausted he had no choice but to go to prison. At this time in history for the JapaneserAmericans there were two things you could do.
Deny your heritage and pledge your alliance With the US by agreeing to go to the internment camp or 2. Accept the US as your personal savror and agree to join the army. lchiro fell somewhere in- between. Nationalism is defined as a patriotic feeling. principals. etc. Taro. lchiros younger brother felt a deep sense of nationalism because he had seen first hand the condescending attitude people had against his brother, Taro didnt want to follow in his brothers footsteps, he wanted to be accepted in his country. and the best way to prove his loyalty was to reject his brother for not joining the army. But Taro is young and doesnt realize the complications of war. Taro. my brother who is not my brother. you are no better than I. Vou are only more fortunate that the war years found you too young to carry a gun And you are fortunate because the weakness which was mine made the same weakness in you the strength to turn your back on Ma and Pa and makes it so frighteningly urgent for you to get into uniform to prove you are not a part of me. That is one of Ichiros rare moments of logic. and one of the books rare moments of levrty that I love so much. Community is defined as a body of people living in one locale 2, Body of people having religion. ethnic origin. profession etc. in common. America is a Conglomerate of communities and each individual In these communities has a notion of Americanism and nationalism You are effected due to the Influences in your community and view Americanism and nationalism due to that effect, If you grew up in an Asian-American community such as lchiro did. the cultural background you learned and the stories you hear and the ethical way of life you were taught Will either effect you or you Will chose to affect it to your own liking. There is however a gap in the cultural background in Ichiros case. His parents were born in Japan and lchiro was born in the US. When his mother moved to the US she thought of it as a means to an end. the end being: making enough money in the us to take back to Japan where the family would live a fruitful life. lchiro and Taro being born in America and growmg up With American amenities never knew the life their mother wanted for them. they couldnt help but to love America in their youthit was all they knew. The mother resented the hold America had on her children. but it was too late. The first thing I said to the class was Ichiros a winer and no one agreed with me‘ It was strange and almost gratifying to hear in the followmg days that same statement belng repeated by others. Although the book was redundant. painfully redundant, there were the rare and extremely enjoyable moments, which ViVldIy described lifes realism, lee being driven to drink.
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