Mori-Okada in the Novel No-No Boy by John Okada
Different people view concepts in life in various ways. Creative authors, for instance, have their unique methods of addressing such issues in their works. This differs from one author to another. Imagination would drive a person to contemplate about how they would like to express these ideas. Questions such as: How do I express my ideas? How do I convey ideas about the real world? How do I know what the story is about? In this light. Toshio Moris short stories and John Okadas novel, No-No Boy, works would have required cogitation of such issues. Current paper looks at the way these authors have addressed the above mentioned matters in their works.
Lacking vision even when you have a good sight is worse than being blind. Yamada is ensnared by ignorance of choosing to be blind on reality both before her and Japans fate. Her denial is frustrating to others even though that is the only thing she can do to feel loyal to her country. Her naivety and unrealistic stand eventually leads to her demise by the fact that she chose to remain Japanese while staying in America (Latifa par. 3). However, Ichiros (Yamadas son) choice to counter the blocks of despair and embrace the blocks of hope finally liberates him as he begins to accept himself while respecting his heritage and ultimately discovering his identity.
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Within the same context, Toshio Mori, raising different topics in his short stories takes us through the feelings of sadness, restlessness, loneliness and the quest for identity along with sense of belonging stemming from the immigration process. Issues of racism, deplorable living conditions and financial difficulties amongst others are daily occurrences that Japanese-Americans had to live with. However, with all the difficulties, the characters seem to acclimatize within the American system fulfilling their own goals while living the American dream (Latifa par. 8).
The novel No-No Boy by John Okada depicts a grim reality of what Japanese-Americans had to undergo in their quest for identity. John Okadas work is based on real situations that befell Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan, America became suspicious of Japanese citizens born in America accusing them of being sympathetic to Japan. For that reason, they were interned and imprisoned in concentration camps by answering no to two loyalty questions asked to them of whether they would choose to fight against and disown or repudiate Japan during the World War II. It is for this reason that the author- John Okada- nentitled his novel No-No boy. Plot of the novel is based on real events but has fictional characters (Densho Encyclopedia).
Okada uses fictional characters such as Yamada and Ichiro to highlight emotional struggles that young Japanese-Americans face in their struggle for identity upon returning home from prison or internment camps. Toshio Mori also echoes the same sentiments in his short stories. He weaves through different topics ranging from sadness, loneliness, racism and identity search among Japanese-Americans. In his writings, as well as Okada, he depicts real world, but fictional characters are used to depict real situations. The author uses creative non-fiction in his works. For instance, his piece on Say it with Flowers is a business story involving a fictitious character by the name Teruo who is not interested in profits like his counterpart, John. Teruo is concerned with the benefit for people rather than the business benefit. In addition, his short story The Eggs of the World has a fictional character by the name Sessue Matoi, an unemployed alcoholic, living with the belief that he has broken the shell of social conformity and is no longer trapped as a stagnating egg (Gayle 134).
In writing about the real world, we can employ a number of modes such as creative non-fiction, documentary and reporting among others. Evidence of creative nonfiction in John Okadas writing is evident as he employs a rich mix of flavor, techniques and ideas in a compelling, vivid and dramatic manner. For instance, in his piece of work, he uses such techniques as topographical imagery, movement paths or routes and directional schemes among others. In his entire novel, he uses direction in his meditative process. In the first chapter , Ichiro gets off the bus and walks down the street with the thoughts of the dilemma he now faces. Directional action is evident in the novel throughout the chapters as Okada frames Ichiros encounter as he walks home. He walked past the pool parlor and his pace quickened automatically, however, he is teased by Negroes Jap-boy, To-ki-yo; Jap-boy (Okada 5). Directional motifs are also evident in the works of Toshio Muri
In his novel No-No Boy, Okada shows the readers Ichiros struggles and tribulations while searching for his identity. Okadas novel leads the reader into the ways of life of Asian Americans during the World War II. The author demonstrates hatred, discrimination and prejudice that Japanese Americans had to undergo exhibiting a disgusting era of American history. No-No Boy is an amazing story that allows the reader to sympathize with the main character or protagonist while despising those who think that they are superior. The author has shown us how certain relationships are formed, and more importantly, how it feels to have internal conflicts between what one is raised to be and who he or she is growing to be. For instance, upon returning home, Ichiro has to struggle with his mothers influence (Earhart 72).
As an American, Ichiro is confused which is shown in the words: stumbled in blind fury after the woman who was only a rock of hate and fanatic stubbornness and was, therefore, neither woman nor mother (Okada 21). The same context also applies in the works of Toshio Mori in view of the problems and tight emotional strain that Japanese-Americans had to undergo before and after the war while trying to find equilibrium between Japanese and American culture. Moris prewar short stories serve as a reminder of the forgotten era of Japanese Americans history, forced evacuation and internment in camps (Densho Encyclopedia).
The art of telling a story is a necessity that every storyteller or author has to master. John Okada wrote a novel that is detailed and well written. In the beginning, the author takes the reader through the journey of a young man named Ichiro who has just been released from prison. The story is set in the times of the end of the Second World War when everybody is returning home while Japanese Americans who refused to fight for America are coming out of prison.
The author takes the reader through Ichiros darkest moments in trying to lead a normal life as it was before the war. The author shows the struggle between Ichiro and his mother who demands loyalty from him towards the Emperor of Japan. The leading character,has faces a number of difficulties along with his old friends who fought in the war. The story ends with the death of Ichiros mother and the great strides Ichiro has made with the hope of finding his identity, If he was to find his way back to that point of wholeness and belonging, he must do so in the place where he had begun to lose it (Okada 155).
An important factor that authors need to consider is the way of conveying authors message. Authors have a variety of different reasons for their choice of the narrative for a particular book or writing (Hunt par.14). Some stories may appear best in the third person while others may be better if narrated or told in first person narration. When using the third person narration, the author remains passive in the main issues of the story since he/she is the one telling the story, while the story told in the first person will be much more appealing in conveying the authors message. Most of the authors narrations that use the third person perspective have fictional characters. The possibility is that they may be main characters in the real world or just fictional characters used by the author to deliver a message or information.
First person narration involves the character in the story telling his/her own story either in the past or present tense. In first person narration, the author is considered as a participant or the protagonist if he or she is involved in the story. In the novel No-No Boy, the author has chosen to write as an omniscient narrator while frequently blending into the voice of the protagonist. Even though the narrator himself was once imprisoned in an internment camp and underwent all the difficulties and tribulations, he chooses to use a fictional character, Ichiro, to tell his story. John Okadas narration is told in the third person, as he is not the protagonist or the main character in his novel. His characters consisting of Yamada, Ichiro, Eto, Taro and Emi are fictional in nature even though they represent real events.
Therefore, the style of narration is an important tool of conveying the authors message. In his books, Toshio Muri, uses narration in the third person. The narrator is not within the story but uses characters to highlight the problems faced by Japanese-American after the war had ended. The use of words such as I or we signifies the first person narration. John Okada and majority of Toshio Muris narrative styles are from the third-person perspective as they relate the thoughts and feelings of a number of characters in his writings.
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Suspence of the story is achieved through the narrative conflict. The conflict can be between the characters themselves, characters internal conflict and/or between the characters and some neutral force. John Okada portrays a conflict between the characters in his novel by highlighting the differences or conflicts between Ichiro and his mother. Ichiro lives with high inner disturbance He daily faces the hatred directed towards him by majority of the society. By choosing not to fight for America, he is ridiculed by his old friends who chose to fight in the war while he was in prison.
The plot of the novel has a flow as the reader gets to know the characters and understands the conflict. Secondly, the author brings the conflict to a critical point where a decision has to be made, as things cannot continue being the way they are. .John Okada has a flow of events portraying Ichiros moves from the time he is released from prison, encountering all forms of discrimination, conflicts with his mother and, finally, his discovery of the identity he had been wishing for a long time.
The novel No-No Boy, by John Okada and Toshio Moris short stories are well written pieces of literature. The authors of both works have used fictional characters to highlight the darkest era of American history. Both authors enable the readers to understand tribulations and struggles that befell Japanese-Americans who refused to renounce their home country. It is a sad story well-crafted by the use of fictional characters but concerned with the real situations that took place in America just before the Second World War. Both authors have shown excellent plots and themes throughout their works.