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Where There's A Wall

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Jessica Romero

on 11 April 2016

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Transcript of Where There's A Wall

Analysis by: Denisha Vincent, Jessica Romero, and Maria Michael
Where There's A Wall
-The setting of both poems is during World War II
-Joy was 6 year old when she was first put into an internment camp.
-Internment camps were known to abuse Japanese people when deemed necessary
-Described how her family were respected, but then they were severely disrespected.
-We see that Joy and other Japanese people experienced racism and discrimination from ‘Canadians’.
-“And I prayed to God who loves/All the children in his sight/That I might be white.” --->Indicates serious racial discrimination, forcing a young child to want to change her race.
Historical Context
-First critical lens used is the Reader Response.

-The text was read prior to reading anything about the author or context.

-We each developed our own responses.
First Response
-Born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1935

-Second generation Japanese Canadian

-During WWII she and her family were forced into internment camps

-Her novel Obasan focused on the Japanese Canadian injustices she experienced as a child during WWII
History on Joy Kogawa
Where there’s a wall there’s a way through a gate or door. There’s even a ladder perhaps and a sentinel who sometimes sleeps. There are secret passwords you can overhear. There are methods of torture for extracting clues to maps of underground passages. There are zeppelins, helicopters, rockets, bombs, battering rams, armies with trumpets whose all at once blast shatters the foundations.
Title is repeated again --->Emphasizing the continuous oppression.
“..Words to whisper by loose bricks..”

-To communicate in secret, through any opportunity given.

“Birds to carry messages taped to their feet..”

-Imagery of carrier pigeons used in war.

“There are letters to be written—/ poems even.”

-Those events will influence future pieces of literature. Foreshadowing her own work.
Analysis: Stanza Two
-The quote “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way” comes to mind.
-However, there’s a wall.
First Response
By: Joy Kogawa
Where There’s A Wall
Where there’s a wall there are words to whisper by loose bricks, wailing prayers to utter, birds to carry messages taped to their feet. There are letters to be written--- poems even.
Faint as a dream is the voice that calls from the belly of the wall.
What do I remember of the evacuation?
I remember my father telling Tim and me
About the mountains and the train
And the excitement of going on a trip.
What do I remember of the evacuation?
I remember my mother wrapping
A blanket around me and my
Pretending to fall asleep so she would be happy
Though I was so excited
I couldn’t sleep
(I hear there were people herded
Into the Hastings Park like cattle
Families were made to move in two hours
Abandoning everything, leaving pets

And possessions at gun point.
I hear families were broken up
Men were forced to work.
I heard
It whispered late at night
That there was suffering) and
I missed my dolls.
What do I remember of the evacuation?
I remember Miss Foster and Miss Tucker
Who still live in Vancouver
And who did what they could
And loved children and who gave me
A puzzle to play with on the train.
And I remember the mountains and

Six years old and
I swear I saw a giant
Gulliver of Gulliver’s
Travels scanning the horizon
And when I told my mother she believed it too
And I remember how careful my parents were
Not to bruise us with bitterness
And I remember the puzzle of Lorraine Life
Who said “Don’t insult me,” when I
Proudly wrote my name in Japanese
And Tim flew the Union Jack
When the war was over but Lorraine
And her friends spat on us anyway
And I prayed to God who loves
All the children in his sight, that
I might be white

-“Where there’s a wall”, is repeated twice. Once in the title, second time in the first stanza. Emphasizing a blockade. Oppression.

-Immediately after, mentions a ‘gate or door’.  Was never described as an exit.

-“There are methods of torture for extracting clues..”
-“Faint as in a dream..”

-Having difficulty believing that what is happening is reality.
“The voice that calls from the belly of the wall.”

-Personifying the idea of freedom.
Analysis Stanza Three
Two themes: BetrayalRacial oppression
Theme statements:
 When a society expresses racial oppression it forces the people affected to feel isolated from the rest of society, despite the fact that society is apparently moving on from prior racial oppression and discrimination.
 A person being able to feel comfortable enough to leave behind their home in order to make a new home in another country, however become the target of hate and disrespect in return when they are promised paradise.
Each stanza in the poem had its own mood.The first stanza has a dark tone (war).The third stanza has a light, softer tone (hopefulness).The second stanza has a grey tone (possible ways of communicating).
The poem also seems to take on an echo effect.
The voice is becoming more faint as the poem continues through each stanza.
Communicating soon becomes difficult:
First through a gate or door, next through loose bricks and finally a solid wall.
Beginning: “there’s a way through a gate or door.”
End: “Faint as in a dream is the voice that calls” the voice calls out softly.
Repetition/ Parallel Structure:
The title “Where there is a wall..” is found at the beginning of the first and second stanza.
It is a parallel structure because a new idea is used in the sentences starting with “Where there’s a wall”.
Rhetorical Devices
“There are zeppelins, helicopters, rockets, bombs” A vision of war.
“Birds to carry messages taped to their feet..” Birds represent freedom.
“The voice that calls from the belly of the wall..” You can imagine someone trapped behind something, the voice muffled, very faint. Almost unreal.
Rhetorical Devices
The setting is a region very near a war zone according to the first stanza.
Within containment of a brick building.
Expresses oppression.
-Lacking the ability to find freedom, despite it being behind a wall.
Full transcript