Obasan

Kogawa's Depiction of Interment Camps in Obasan 12th Grade

In the novel Obasan, by Joy Kogawa, the narrator recounts her experience of being relocated to the internment camps during the Second World War. During this time period the Japanese Canadians were considered enemies to all. Consequently, they were treated unfairly, and at times, even brutally. Kogawa sets her excerpt during the 1940s in British Columbia to emphasize the relations between the Japanese Canadians and society. Society, in Kogawa’s excerpt, represents a place where Japanese Canadians are hated due to the actions of their country. Specifically, this action refers to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, which takes place right before the excerpt is set. This setting establishes conflict because society does not allow the Japanese Canadians to express themselves as individuals: human beings that are not associated with a collective group. Instead, the Japanese Canadians are oppressed, or treated unfairly because they are seen as an enemy by society.

Kogawa employs a first-person plural narration in order to give the reader a direct insight to the thoughts and feelings of a Japanese Canadian living in this time period. Thus, the reader is able to see and feel everything as if it were happening this very moment. This...

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