Obasan. Chaps 1-4 —Racial Minorities as Enemy Alien; Memories Chaps 5-14 -- Trauma and Survival in Different Languages. Surviving Trauma. Racial Minorities as Enemies Alien. 1. Japanese Internment 2. Obasan Chaps 1-4 Kate Liu. Outline. Joy Kogawa & Obasan: General Introd.
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Chaps 1-4—Racial Minorities as Enemy Alien; Memories
Chaps 5-14 -- Trauma and Survival in Different Languages
1893 ~ 1945
Ref. Family photo -- Chap 4; pp. 17-19; 20~ Discussed later
U.S.: 1913 -- California Alien Land Law prohibited "aliens ineligible to citizenship" (ie. all Asian immigrants) from owning land or property, but permitted three year leases.
April 1942 -- The assembly centers, relocation centers, and internment camps were set up, and relocation of Japanese-Americans began. Internment camps were scattered all over the interior West, in isolated desert areas of Arizona, California, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming.
1944 -- Executive Order 9066 was rescinded by President Roosevelt,
1946 -- the last of the camps was closed in March.
-- Dispersal of family members--men sent to road camps in the interior of B.C., sugar beet projects on the Prairies, POW camp in Ontario;
-- not allowed to go back to the West after the War;
-- their properties liquidated.
Chap 5: Obasan in the attic, memory as spider
Chap 6: nightmare
Chap 7: Emily’s package—her last visit and the question if Naomi wants to know “everything”
Chap 8: Obasan lady of the leftovers
Chap 9: starts to remember- from the photo to memories of the house p. 50 —
Chap 10: Momotaro
Chap 11: episodes of the white chicken and Old Man Gower
Chap 12: —separation starts—the mother first;
Chap 13: preparation to leave;
Chap 14: bath with Obasan; Emily’s diary (-110)Obasan: Time Line & Plot (2)
-- adaptation to new lives and mixture of two cultures  p. 13 stone bread, margarine as Alberta;
Mexico, France, as “the true and rightful owner of the earth.) ( 15)
(uncle --1, Obasan and Gramdma N – 17
the house is old) ( 15)
-- her thirst for knowledge ( 3)
-- rational control over her emotion: her mind separated from herself ( 9).
Older relatives described with humor –like advance guard
Obasan Chaps 5-14
Enemy Aliens vs. Survivors
Presents her a parcel of letters, documents, her diary
“The past is the future” (42)
-- Why not leave the dead to bury the dead (42)
-- memories are to be forgotten (45)
-- All right, Aunt Emily, all right! The house then…( 50)
One lives in sound, the other in stone.
-- “To attend its voice… is to embrace its absence. But I fail the task. The word is stone.”
-- “My fingers tunnel through a tangle of roots till the grass stands up from my knuckles…I search the earth and the sky with a thin but persistent thirst” (3)
-- Emily crusading still, while the others “seek the safety of invisibility” ( 32)
e.g. Against Jews in Germany and everywhere,
e.g. In-between mainland Chinese and Japanese
“We are the hammers and chisels in the hands of would be sculptors, battering the spirit of the sleeping mountain. We are the chips and sand, the fragments of fragments tha fly like arrows from the heart of the rock. We are the silences that speak from stone. We are the despised. . .
We are those pioneers who cleared the bush and the forest with our hands, the gardeners tending and attending the soil with our tenderness . . .