Nisei Daughter

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"Even with all the mental anguish and struggle, an elemental instinct bound us to this soil. Here we were born; here we wanted to live. We had tasted of its freedom and learned of its brave hopes for democracy. It was too late, much too late for us to turn back." (Sone 124). This statement is key to understanding much of the novel, Nisei Daughter, written by Monica Sone. From one perspective, this novel is an autobiographical account of a Japanese American girl and the ways in which she constructed her own self-identity. On the other hand, the novel depicts the distinct differences and tension that formed between the Issei and Nisei generations. Moreover, it can be seen as an attempt to describe the confusion experienced by Japanese Americans torn between two cultures. First, and most obvious, Monica Sone accounts for, in an autobiographical manner, the important events and situations in her life that helped create her self-identity. She recounts an event at the age of five, when she found out that she, "had Japanese blood." This recognition would spark the chain of many more realizations to come. Sone describes the relationships she had with her parents and siblings. She seems very pleased with and delighted by the differing, yet caring personalities of each person in her family. Sone describes herself as a typical American child: going to school, playing mischievously with friends on the block, reading, spending quality time with her family, etc. Monica described herself as a playful, almost tomboyish, young girl. She also saw herself as intelligent and hardworking. Throughout her novel, Monica describes events and experiences, which reveal her character and personality. However, if perceived solely as an autobiography, the major theme of this novel is overlooked. I think Monica Sone focuses on, and clearly shows, the tension that arose in the Japanese American community because they felt torn between two distinct cultures and amongst...
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