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Symbolism in The Hotel on the Corner of Biter and Sweet
Transcript of Symbolism in The Hotel on the Corner of Biter and Sweet
Purpose and Audience
The purpose is to delve deeper into the meaning behind each symbol and relate it back to its effects on Henry. The audience are the readers of this book.
Keiko's Family Photos
The family photographs represents Henry's love for Keiko and his willingness to do anything for her. It also symbolized all of what Keiko and her family is and how a little part of them will always will be with Henry.
"I was hoping you can hide them for us. Just for a while. This is the important stuff. My mom's keepsakes - family memories."
The Panama Hotel represents the love between Keiko and Henry and how it lasted throughout all the years. That it still stands after Japantown was destroyed, just like their love. "The water-stained ceiling tiles were being replaced. the floor was being sandblasted." (Ford 62)
The Panama Hotel still holds all of its history but is merely being replenished just like their love.
The Ume Tree
The ume tree represents Henry and how he was a part of Japantown just like the ume tree was.
"...a Chinese tree in a Japanese garden.." (Ford 85)
Henry planting the ume tree in his backyard represents how he never forgot about his history with Keiko and how she will always be with him.
Ford, Jamie. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and
Sweet: A Novel. New York: Ballantine, 2009. Print.
I am Chinese Button
Throughout the book Henry struggles to define who he is. The button symbolizes the a part of Henry's identity and raises the question of what it means to be american. The button plays a huge role in how Henry is viewed in society and how he views himself.
"You are Chinese, aren't you, Henry?' He nodded, not knowing how to answer. 'That's fine. Be who you are,' she said, turning away a look of dissapointment in her eyes. 'But I'm an American." (Ford 60)
Oscars Holding's Record
This record symbolizes the relationship between Henry and Keiko. The record was purchased when their relationship first blossomed. Then when Keiko goes to the internment camp it is stored in the Panama Hotel. Henry searches for the record just as he searches for Keiko and never gives up on both of them. Then when they are reunited the records are played.
"In his heart music began to play -- Sheldon's record. His and Keiko's song. Complete with bumps and straches. It was old, and hoolow sounding, imperfect. BUt it was enough" (Ford 285)