The Concept of Failure Represented by the Nisei Characters in John Okada's 'No-No Boy'

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Januar 2010



Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, University of Augsburg (New English Literatures and Cultural Studies), course: Japanese Canadian and Japanese American Literature, language: English, abstract: A proverb says: "War does not determine who is right, just who is left". Left, that is
naturally the veterans who managed not to get killed in battle and thus survived their
mission. But left, that is also the ones who refused fighting in a war for their country,
for whatever the reason. War and its aftermaths clearly do not take a decision on which
of the two behaviors is right. It just leaves the involved people opposing each other contrarily
- like left and right.
In John Okada's novel No-No Boy, almost all of its characters are immediately
confronted with the previously mentioned discord. Set in the Seattle of 1945, No-No
Boy deals with the outer and inner conflicts of a young Japanese American, named
Ichiro, who refused the draft by a government, which in his eyes deprived him of his
identity as an American. The narration starts with its central character, Ichiro, who had
just arrived at a bus station in Seattle and now sees himself confronted with a drastically
changed and diverse Japanese American community. By telling the story from Ichiro's
perspective, Okada thereby convinces his audience with an authentic depiction of "a
quest for self-identity under extreme circumstances" (Huang, 2006: 152) in this fragmented
and torn segment of society.
Like his protagonist, Okada himself was an American-born son of Japanese immigrants,
a so-called Nisei, and therefore also got evacuated from his hometown Seattle
during the war years. When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Okada was in his
mid-twenties and, unlike Ichiro in the novel, volunteered in the US Air Force, only to
get discharged again directly after the war, in 1946 (see Huang, 2006: 152). Okada
therefore can be rated a prime source for rendering a Japanese-American community in
Seattle which on the one hand "struggles with and seeks to recover from the disruptive
effects of the internment" (Cheung & Peterson 195), and on the other hand has to deal
with the repercussions of a more or less forced recruitment. Moreover, during the progress
of his book, Okada confronts the topic of racism and segregation in the United
States with his "painful, powerful, and nuanced messages" (Huang, 2009: 768) - some
of which the United States of the 1950s were not yet ready for. [...]


Dr. Michael Burger, Arzt für Allgemeinmedizin und Facharzt für Frauenheilkunde und Geburtshilfe (klinisch tätig als Oberarzt); Supervisor, Coach und Organisationsberater (ÖAGG, ÖVS); Lehrsupervisor/Lehrcoach; Lehrtrainer für Gruppendynamik; langjähriger Leiter der Sektion Supervision und Coaching im ÖAGG, Diplom des Universitätslehrganges für Hospitalmanagement (WU Wien); Balintgruppen-Leiter (Österreichische Balintgesellschaft), Lebens- und Sozialberater.
EAN: 9783640512386
ISBN: 3640512383
Untertitel: 'Akademische Schriftenreihe'. 1. Auflage. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: GRIN Publishing
Erscheinungsdatum: Januar 2010
Seitenanzahl: 36 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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