Literary Analysis: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as a Historical Fiction In Jamie Ford’s historical fiction Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, this split narrative focuses on two eras: 1942 and 1986. Within these era’s, Ford’s novel focuses on a Chinese boy, Henry Lee, and what it was like to grow up in the international district with prejudice everywhere, especially in his own family being a first generation American. His novel tells the story of Henry, as well as a Japanese girl by the name of Keiko. The novel tells the story of these two young friends and the hardships faced when the government sends Keiko and her family away to the Japanese internment camps in the Northwest in the 1940’s. His novel displays the effects of the prejudice held against the Japanese during the 1940’s wartime, and the effects it had on the lives of not only those Japanese, but also all Americans, Chinese and other nationalities.
We use Anne Scott MacLeod’s essay “Rewriting History” as a framework while reading Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. “Rewriting History” is a persuasive essay giving criteria of a “good” Historical Fiction vs. a “bad” Historical Fiction. This essay focuses on three of MacLeod’s criteria for a “good” Historical Fiction: not rewarding rebellion, not appealing to “modern sensibilities”, and not overcoming social mores easily. Ford's novel Hotel on the Corner of Biter and Sweet successfully meets MacLeod's requirements for a "good" historical fiction in many ways, although, there are some flaws in a couple of his historical facts, nevertheless, the "good" historical facts and information in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet out ways the few historical flaws. First of all, Ford makes sure to give Henry consequences to his rebellious acts; something MacLeod says many "bad" historical fictions do not do, they only reward with happy endings. Secondly, Ford uses racial discriminations that would have been used back in the...
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