Identity is the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. In the novel, Obasan, Naomi has trouble figuring out her true identity. She has two, specific, women role models who couldn’t be any more different, she is confused as to her nationality (Japanese or Canadian?) and she was violated, in more ways than one, as a child. Throughout the book, Naomi embarks on a quest; a quest for her identity.
Throughout the novel, Obasan, Naomi struggles to know her true nationality. She is, of course, of Japanese heritage but she was born in Canada. She faces many questions about her nationality due to the fact that her outside image isn’t the same as the way she is perceived by other Canadians. Naomi looks like she is originally from Japan, though, she is a Canadian. She is a victim of racist remarks from those around her, because they assume she is strictly Japanese. Naomi struggles to understand if she is supposed to be more one or the other (Japanese or Canadian). Naomi grew up in a Canadian culture, but was still influenced by Japanese language and traditions. In her family, some members still speak Japanese. “’Umi no yo.’ Uncle says as he points at the grass. ‘It is like the sea.’” (1). Even though Uncle knows how to speak English, he still incorporates as much Japanese as possible. It keeps their heritage alive. Though, Stephen, Naomi’s brother, resents the Japanese heritage. During one of his visits, he even refuses to eat the Japanese food made by Obasan. This confuses Naomi. She looks up to her brother, but he is separating himself from his true identity which makes it hard for Naomi to know hers. Naomi is unaware of who she is supposed to be. She doesn’t know whether to embrace or resent her Japanese heritage, even though it sometimes punishes her with racist remarks. Naomi is unaware of her identity, due to the confusion of her nationality, within her family.
“Would you like me to tell you a story?” (62) Old Man Gower would ask when he would take four...
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