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Henry - Essay Example

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‘The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet’ is a historical novel that takes place on the West Coast during the First World War, when the air is filled with acute fear and spies are imagined everywhere. Roosevelt, the president, has signed executive order 9102, passed by…
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Download file to see previous pages... On approaching, he sees that the new owner of the hotel, which has been occupied up since World War II, is carrying boxes from the basement that contain personal items-clothing, photos, diaries and wedding memorabilia that belonged to Japanese families who had earlier been evacuated to internment camps during the war. Henry is taken back to his childhood by these small items, with a strong pull of memories though he tries as much as he can to resist it (Ford 308).
This opening scene shows us to Henry present life, which gives the framework for the story in this Jamie Ford’s debut novel. This frame story suddenly leads the reader to the story line in 1942at Rainier Elementary school. Henry was just twelve years old and is under a scholarship. In this school, he is the only Chinese the rest are all whites. Henry’s father who is a Chinese and immensely proud of sending his son to a white school, do not at any time expect or allow anybody to be mistaken on Henry’s nationality. In the national consciousness, the events of Pearl Harbor are still fresh and Henry’s father is passionately against the Japanese and so he always sends Henry to school with a shirt with a button declaring ‘I am a Chinese’. This is the first moment of many depicts Henry’s already difficult relationship with his father (Ford 112). The tension between Henry’s American perspective and his father’s traditionalism Chinese values is one of the major themes in the novel. He is struggling to live with his father.
His life as a Chinese in an all-white school seems to be smooth, but the button provokes teasing by several of his class bullies, and his work-study job serving lunch becomes part of the day he dreaded the most. He arrives in the kitchen one day and finds a young Japanese lady, Keiko Okabe, also assigned for same shift. Being the only Japanese student in the school also, Keiko ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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