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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Transcript of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Event 8: Henry placing the quarter on Ethel's headstone
This event is significant to the story because it signifies that Henry is moving on; he is finally motivated, by the parasol, to get back out into the world and start living again. This event has a major impact on the narrator because it is the start of his change. After placing the quarter on Ethel's grave, Henry becomes closer to his son, he starts going out, and he is an all around kinder person. This seemly simple and irrelevant parasol gives Henry hope and transforms him back into the younger version of himself: caring, eager, and brave.
This sudden urge to move on and change can be symbolized as turning over a new leaf. By placing the quarter on his beloved wife's grave, he shows to the reader his desire to move on from this tragedy to a happier time. The passing of a loved one is never easy, however, the mourning that follows can be debated as worse. Henry's wife's passing is heartbreaking, and his willingness to move on, six months later, shows how eager he is for his life ahead.
When Henry goes to the park to meet Keiko, he immediately places himself at risk by accepting her offer to hide some of their families belongings. He is risking not only his safety, but the Okabes' and his families safety. This event causes the narrator to become more aware of his surroundings and what's going on in Japantown. The personal affects also allows the narrator to have a tangible connection to Keiko and her family.
Event 2: Henry hiding some of the Okabes' personal belongings in his home.
This event can be symbolized by a caution sign. Caution signs, on the road, normally represent danger. Henry's ignorance in the face of helping a friend causes himself, his family, and his friend's family to be put in danger. If found hiding Japaneses families belongings, Henry risks being mistaken for a Japanese American and exposing the Okabes' connection to Japan, putting them in more danger of being mistaken for having loyalty to the wrong nation.
"'I can hide them in my room. Do you have more?' 'This is the important stuff. My mom's keepsakes family memories. The stuff we have from my bay years is okay for us to keep, I think, and some families in our neighborhood are trying to find someplace else to store things. Bigger things. We'll probably put other stuff there if we have too.' 'I'll keep this safe. I promise'" (Ford 96-97).
"He kissed the quarter and placed it on top of Ethel's headstone. This was our promise of happiness, Henry thought. It's all I have left to give. This is so you can be happy without me" (43).
""What are you two doing next Thursday?' Henry asked. He watched them look at each other and shrug. His son's face still bore a wrinkle of confusion. 'No plans,' Samantha said. 'Meet me at the tearoom of the Panama Hotel'" (85).
Event 7: Henry meeting and inviting Samantha to tea at the Panama
Henry has never been very close to his son. He starts to change once he leaves the quarter on Ethel's headstone. After meeting Samantha, instead of being quiet and not trying to form a relationship, he invites them both to tea at the Panama. This is the beginning of his change. This event impacts the adult Henry because without the help of Sam and Martin, he never would have found the treasures boarded up in the hotel's basement and never would have found his great love again.
A pink ribbon usually symbolizes a new beginning or hope, in this case it represents hope. Henry's sudden changing of ways shows that there is still hope for his relationship with his son and for finding what he lost years ago. In his young life, Henry lost perhaps the greatest love he has ever known due to his fathers stubborn ways. His sudden change of heart proves that there is still hope for Henry to find what he lost years ago.
By: Kimberly Vonada
Event 1: The Button
"Henry's father had become more adamant than ever abut Henry wearing his button. 'On the outside-wear it on the outside, were everyone can see it!' his father demanded in Cantonese as Henry was heading out the door" (120).
The "I am Chinese" button serves as a way for Henry's father to live vicariously through him. Henry's father grew up in a very strict manner: He is raised as the perfect Chinese patriot. His culture of how he was treated when he was younger causes him to want the same for Henry. However, his father is so stuck in traditional ways that he fails to see how times are changing. This causes young Henry to want to not be apart of China or His father: He is so adamant about not becoming his father driving him to rebel and anything and everything that goes against his fathers beliefs.
A puppet is controlled at all times and is never free. Much like strings controlling a puppet, Henry's father uses the "I am Chinese" button to control or live vicariously through him. Instead of giving Henry an "I am American" button, His father gives him a button to show off his Heritage. However, times are always changing and Henry's father fails to see what his son wants. His dad is so stuck in traditional Chinese ways that he is ignorant about anything other than what he wants for Henry.
Event 3: Executive Order 9066
"Henry looked at the papers in Keiko's hand. The bold type screamed: INSTRUCTIONS TO ALL PERSONS OF JAPANESE ANCESTRY. It was all about Japanese families being forced to evacuate, for their own safety. They had only a few days and could bring next to nothing-only what they could carry. At the bottom it was signed by the President of the United States and the secratry of war" (124).
Tornadoes are weapons of mass destruction that even the most intelligent person can't see coming. Executive Order 9066 no one saw coming. Like a tornado, it causes major damage to families, homes, and businesses. This proclamation leads to the separation of families, loss of freedom, and tragic loss of homes. It caused every Japanses American to have to start over with their lives and forget everything they once knew and believed in.
When Henry is out at lunch with Keiko's family, He is awe struck when soldiers come and demand the Japanese to leave. His love for Keiko is so strong it overcomes his Chinese heritage. The order stirs up trouble when Henry tells his parents they must help the Japanese, the enemy. This event cases young Henry to develop into who he really is: a young, caring, and brave man.
Event 4: Camp Harmony
"Even from a distance he could see the soldiers and their machine guns. Their dormant searchlights were aiming at the barren ground below. Henry didn't even need to see the sign above the barbed-wire guard gate. This was Camp Harmony" (153).
Henry's arrival at the camp shows what he will risk, just like in love. When two people fall in love with each other, they will risk anyone or anything to be with them, just like Henry. He is so caught up with Keiko that he disobeys everything hes been taught to do. He single handedly went against his parents wishes to satisfy his own.
When given the chance to go see Keiko, Henry immediately says yes. He takes no regard for his actions and leaves. This causes Henry to become more dependent on seeing Keiko and not able to move on with his life. It causes him to constantly worry about Keiko, distracting him from his school work and family.
Event 6: Henry's father's passing
"'I am going to China next week. And I'm marrying Ethel'...'You used your position with the benevolent associations and fixed it so that my letters never mad it to Keiko. So that hers never got delivered. That was your doing somehow, wasn't it?'" (263).
Event 5: Henry meets Ethel
"He settled into the sidewalk and looked into her eyes, seeing them in a way he'd never seen before, noticing how pained she looked. 'Actually, I came to bring you this.' She handed Henry a bundle of starfire lilies, tied with a piece of blue ribbon. 'I see you buying them in the market once in a while. I guess I figured they were your favorite, and maybe someone should give you some for a change'" (255).
Event 9: Sheldon and the Record
"She kept it all those years, the holy grail you knew existed.'...The lungs that had once powered the sounds of South Jackson, playing to the delight of a generation, breathed one last time and whispered the final notes of his song. Henry watched Sheldon's eyes close and his body lighten, as if his entire frame were waving a slow good-bye" (279-281).
Event 10: NYC, the city that never sleeps.
"They stood there, smiling at each other, like they had done all those years ago, standing on opposite sides of that fence. 'Oai deki te. , ,' She paused. 'Ureshii desu,' Henry said, softly" (285).
After Marty goes through the trouble of finding Keiko, Henry agrees to travel the across the country. This journey takes Henry on the most fulfilling moments of his troubled life. During this trip, Henry reunites with his first true, pure love, Keiko. They smile and hit it off immediately, just like they did when they were young. This event causes Henry;s adult life to become everything hes always wanted it to be. In the Chinese culture, the eldest child is to take care of their parents when they become elder, but as cultures advance the meaning of things change. In the story, this is shown when Marty takes care of his dad by helping him be happy.
The image of two soul mates, even after death, clearly symbolizes Henry's and Keiko's love for each other. There love and passion for the other person never quite goes away. Henry constantly thinks about her while trying to move on. Much like two love birds, Keiko and Henry cannot be permanently separated by anything.
Puzzles are tricky things; they're made of all different pieces, but they still come together to make a beautiful image in the end. Much like a puzzle, Sheldon needs that one thing missing before passing on, the record. The record is perhaps Sheldon's greatest achievement. Without it he just isn't quite ready to let go, however, once the record is played for him he passes. Just like how you need all the pieces together to make a puzzle, Sheldon needed the missing record to allow him to pass on.
Sheldon has not always had the best of luck. When he gets older, his health starts to decline and things aren't looking too good for him. Something keeps him going though, the Oscar Holden record. The finding of this record allows Sheldon to say good-bye and move on. It also affects adult Henry. It causes Henry to want to fix his relationship with Keiko. This allows for Marty to respect the culture of the Chinese, by setting taking care of his father in old age.
Henry is tired of sending letter after letter to Keiko and getting no reply. One day, after sending his last letter, he is awe-struck by a girl who is nothing he has ever seen before. She's beautiful, caring, and most importantly Chinese. Henry immediately falls for Ethel, and his parents approve. His relationship with his father is better than it ever has been. The meeting of Ethel causes Henry to finally move on and allows him to become reconnected with his family, one of the most important things in the Chinese culture. This also makes young Henry realize sometimes things aren't meant to be; sometimes things aren't meant to be, and sometimes they are. But that's the beauty of life, finding out what is to be, and what will be. Through this event, Henry is able to realize this and become happy.
This event signifies a change in Henry's life, a major one. Highway signs show different route to take you in numerous directions, all leading to different places. Henry's moving on represents a changing of direction, much like switching directions on the highway.
Henry starts dating Ethel, and his father instantly approves and reconnects with him. His father is so proud that Henry is with a Chinese girl and not Keiko. However, Henry's father is still ill and not in good health.. After getting engaged, Henry rushes home to see his father, only to find him dying and worse then ever. After announcing their engagement, Henry finds out that his father had been the one disrupting the communication between Keiko and Henry. This causes him to think about what could have been. His father had selfishly destroyed his relationship to satisfy his own traditional ways. This also causes adult Henry to want to find Keiko, knowing that she had not given up on him.
This relief of young Henry for knowing that Keiko never gave up on him is much like a weight being lifted off of his shoulders. For weeks young Henry thought Keiko was happy and had moved on without him, but after finding out it he was mistaken, he is relieved to know Keiko never gave up but is content with his current relationship and does not want to risk Ethel for the unknown.