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Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

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Pamela Mason

on 20 December 2012

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Transcript of Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of
Bitter and Sweet novel by Jamie Ford Conflict Characterization Claim Interpretation Evidence Executive Order Evidence Interpretation Claim Claim Interpretation Setting Ford's description of Japanese internment camps was
true to historic facts.
Our research proves that internment camps were indeed
composed of many barracks and filled with thousands of
This makes the readability easier as the scene is
depicted as cruel and unforgiving.

The difficult conflict of the Japanese being banished to
internment camps was represented precisely by the
author of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”. When the Japanese are being sent away, Henry’s friend Keiko informs him that “‘the police and FBI came and took our radios [and] cameras’” (Ford 94). The Japanese living in America during World War II were blamed
for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Because of this fact, they were sent
to internment camps.
President Roosevelt signed an Executive Order, which placed
restrictions on possessions of Japanese Americans.
This forbid Japanese from owning radios. Ford obviously did research
as he included this fact into the story. Henry’s father is characterized appropriately as a Chinese American man during World War II. Many Chinese men had very nationalistic attitudes for their homeland
of China.
However, they also had pride in being Americans.
Henry's father forced him to learn only English because it was in his
best interest. “[Henry’s parents] asked-no, told-him to stop speaking their native Chinese. It was 1942, and they were desperate for him to learn English…My father’s pride has finally got the better of him [Henry thought]” (Ford 12). Presentation by
Kaylynn Enright
& Pamela Mason Plot Summary Henry Lee is a Chinese-American boy living in
Seattle, Washington during World War II. At
the all-white school he attends, he befriends a
Japanese-American girl named Keiko Okabe. He
is heartbroken when she and her family are
imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp.
This is the story of how Henry copes with the
loss of his only friend and the effects of
World War II on American life. Sources Thesis Statement Jamie Ford accurately conveys the time
period of World War II and its effects
on Asian Americans in the novel
"Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet".
His overall accuracy allows for a
pleasurable, entertaining,and informative
reading experience for the audience. The "Asian-American Families" entry of the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships by Ishii-Kuntz Masako proved to be very useful in our research. It provided extensive knowledge of the relationships between Asian-American parents and their children.
"Japanese Internment Camps", by Sonia Benson, Daniel E. Brannen Jr., and Rebecca Valentine was also helpful, as it included important aspects of when the Japanese were sent to internment camps. Sources Continued The Gale U.S. History in Context database was essential in finding helpful sources to extend our research. The historical accuracy of Jamie
Ford's novel made the reading experience
more enjoyable and, in some cases, more relatable. The story provides an extensive amount of new knowledge as well as a captivating plot. Ford conveys the setting of a Japanese internment camp during World War II accurately compared to occurrences in history. Evidence Conflict -Claim: treatment of Japanese-Americans was described accurately
--Keiko tells Henry that "the police and FBI came...and arrested scores of people back in December, right after Pearl Harbor" (Ford 93)
--she is describing what is happening to the Japanese-Americans in the Nihonmachi district of Seattle
--Yoshiko Uchida remembers when her father was arrested: "my parents' loyalty to the United States was strong...He was arrested because he looked like the enemy" (Ingram 59)
--After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Americans were paranoid that there would be another attack on the home front; it was thought that Japanese people living in America would try destroying the U.S. from the inside.
---Keiko also says that "No Japanese are allowed outside of our neighborhoods from eight o-clock at night to six in the morning" (Ford 94)
---an attempt to keep Japanese locked up, intimidating them into not sabotaging American infrastructure and security
---Scott Ingram writes that the same curfew was placed on all Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast of the U.S. (Ingram 58) Characterization -the relationship between Henry and his parents accurately conveys the relationship between Asian-American parents and children
--"Young Henry Lee stopped talking to his parents when he was twelve years old...because they asked him to...That was how it felt anyway. They asked...him to stop speaking their native Chinese" (Ford 12)
--very little communication, since Henry was not to speak Chinese to his parents, and his parents did not speak English very well, if at all
--he just nods and uses gestures to communicate comprehension to his parents
---"Asian-American parenting is unique in terms of communication styles by using indirect and nonverbal methods of communication...in the families" (Masako 117) Setting -accurate description of the internment camps in which the Japanese were placed in
--in Camp Harmony, when Henry visits Keiko, the compound is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, and he helps serve the internees from four mess halls (Ford 152-156)
--when Henry visits Keiko in the next camp, Camp Minidoka, he sleeps in her family quarters overnight and wakes up "on a...straw-filled mattress on the floor" (Ford 226)
--the Japanese were interned in camps such as these two because other Americans thought of them as threats to the United States
---Scott Ingram's research: barbed-wire fences with guard towers surrounded the complex; Japanese-Americans' barracks were divided into blocks; depending on family size, families eaither had their own small area or a shared one; eating, bathing, latrine, laundry-washing areas were available, although without privacy; political assiciations, religious services, dances, athletic contests, schools (61-63) Setting -Seattle's jazz scene in the novel contained some aspects of the real 1940s jazz life of Seattle, WA
--Oscar Holden: Henry had "never heard the man play, but he'd seen his posters all over town, and Sheldon always talked about him in tones normally reserved for heroes and legends" (Ford 28)
--Oscar Holden was a well respected jazz musician on the West Coast
--"Oscar Holden, often called the patriarch of Seattle jazz, was one of the earliest of Seattle's influential jazz... Holden...did form his own band which toured cities in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia" (Christensen)
---jazz clubs in Seattle: Henry was able to walk down Jackson Street, where "most of the music he heard vicariously spilling out of the clubs up and down South Jackson was...even here at the Black Elks Club" (Ford 54-55)
---parts of Seattle were apparently devoted to certain kinds of music such as jazz, with clubs and street performers like Sheldon
---jazz music critic de Barros writes in his book that "Seattle has had a remarkable jazz history... The scene peaked between 1937 and 1951...In 1948, there were over two dozen nightclubs along Jackson Street...where jazz...flowed...freely." Setting -The Panama Hotel's historical significance is correctly displayed in Ford's novel
--"You hear about the Panama Hotel? ...I mean, they board up that whole building, what, around 1950? And then that new owner...goes inspecting, and finds all that stuff sealed up all those years" (Ford 34-35).
--Japanese-Americans stored belongings in secret locations because they were not able to bring everything with them to the internment camps
---objects were stored, such as "trunks and suitcases...waiting for owners that never came back" (Mariona) and were found in places such as the basement of the Panama Hotel Sources Continued (cont) A very useful source was Scott Ingram's book "Japanese Immigrants". It provided many confirmations on what was already read in Ford's novel while also providing numerous new facts on Japanese internment and related topics. Young Henry depicts the dejected scenery of Camp Minidoka: “a living, breathing landscape of tar-paper barracks spotting the dry desert terrain. And people. Thousands of people” (Ford 218).
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