When the Emperor Was Divine

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Otsuka indicates that the boy and girl are changing both internally and externally in many ways. Otsuka gives the reader more clues about how the children are changing internally more than externally. She does this with the children’s actions. For instance, when the boy first was in the internment camp, when he walked past the guards, sometimes he would say the Emperor’s name aloud. This demonstrated the boy’s loyalty towards his Emperor. I admired the boy for feeling so passionately about his heritage and knowing that it was not wrong even when people told him it was. When he got back home, his whole attitude was changed. He followed the instructions he had been taught in the lecture on “How to Behave in the Outside World.” and did not attempt to do anything slightly rebellious. He no longer was proud of who he was. He had been brain washed by the internment camp, and by everyone who was treating him differently. I was disappointed, but I knew that if I had been in his place, I would have done the same thing. I noticed that the girl seemed to change a lot more than the boy did. We didn’t read about her nearly as much in the third chapter when it was the boy’s perspective, which that in it’s self is one way in which Otsuka indicated the girl changing. On the train ride there, the girl would chat with her mom and brother, but once they had been at the camp for a while, she would disappear and her family barely saw her. “His sister left the barracks early in the morning and did not return until long after dark…She smoked cigarettes. He could smell them in her hair. One day he saw her standing in line at the mess hall in her Panama hat and she hardly seemed to recognize him at all.” This shows not only how she no longer liked to spend time with her family, but I think it reflects the kind of image Otsuka wanted the reader to think of when they thought about the girl. I imagined the stereotypical troubled teen that abandons their family and turns to drugs...
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