Obasan Essay

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White is an American educator and critic. In the following positive review, he praises Kogawa's depictions of suffering, injustice, and survival within the context of specific historical events in Obasan.

"Nisei," we learn from this extraordinary first novel, [Obasan], means "second generation," embracing the children of the Canadian and American first-generation immigrants from Japan. Everyone by now knows that the internment and theft of property suffered by Americans of Japanese descent during World War II represents a national disgrace second only to the massacres of Native Americans. It is a small comfort to realize that Canadian Nisei were treated at least as badly as the Americans, but the distance created by the Canadian setting perhaps will help make the pain this novel evokes more bearable for U.S. readers.

Joy Kogawa, a Canadian teacher and poet, has drawn upon her own experience as a displaced Canadian Nisei to...

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This section contains 880 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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