Nisei Daughter

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What would you do if your world came to a screeching halt, or if life as you knew it was turned upside down? How would you act or respond? Overwhelmingly the response of people in times of desperation is to survive at all costs and make the best of the situation. If we look not too far back in our nation's history we will see desperate times such as those who were hit hardest by the era of the depression and also those who were displaced from their homes into Internment camps following World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In comparing and contrasting two books, Monica Sone's "Nisei Daughter" and Studs Terkel's "Hard Times" we are also able to see the many different ways in which people handle themselves, not only through the events mentioned, but also through themes that both books share such as adversity, prejudice, and perseverance.

The books themselves are both predominantly autobiographical accounts of the respective events of American history. In "Hard Times" Studs Terkel puts together recollections of the era of the Depression from a wide range of people who lived it, from Okies to prison inmates, to the better off. "It is simply an attempt to get the story of the holocaust known as the Great Depression from an improvised battalion of survivors" (Terkel, 3). Aside from the many accounts of the Depression, Studs Terkel talks of his own remembrance and describes the time as a "blur of images" (Terkel, 4) and later goes on to say that his memories and reflections are flawed in a sense compared to most of the book which tells the stories of others.

In contrast, Sone's "Nisei Daughter" appears to be solely a personal account of her life experiences as a second generation Japanese-American growing up in a European-American dominated nation before and through the Internment camps during World War II. While the books differ in whose story is primarily being told, the intentions of both authors is one in the same in that the autobiographical...
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