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Word Count: 485
Keep your eyes down When you are in the city do not look into anyones face Thatway they may not see you That way you offend less The novel Obasan tells the story of a Japanese familys efforts to survive thetrauma of separation from their homes and eachother The novel was written in 1981 byJoy Kogawa and tells the details of how the Japanese were discriminated against duringWorld War 2 The novel commences in the seventies with Naomi Nah Nakane a teacher inNorthern Alberta finding out that her beloved uncle has died When Naomi returns hometo console her Aunt Obasan she is distraught to see her aunt is only a shell of the strongwoman who raised her She begins to relive the difficulties of her life after she discovers apackage left by her Aunt Emily The package is filled with letters documents articlesShe recounts the struggle against the government and themselves while trying tostay in Vancouver Naomi is very small at the time of the war and did not really fullyunderstand what was happening to her race The novel recounts the struggle of NaomisAunt Emily to ensure that her family would be together in whatever place they were sentto Aunt Emily wanted to head east to Toronto but was unable to get the documentationfor the entire family which included her sisters children who she was taking care of Thenovel discuses the camps that the Japanese families were sent to in Hastings Park duringthe war The detained families were forced to live in horrendous conditions sharing livingquarters with strangers without adequate food and supply and the pungent smell ofNaomi during this time was being sexually molested by her next door neighbor anddid not tell anybody about this this possibly relates to the novels theme of silence Naomiseems resentful during the novel as she comes across as a quiet little girl who does notseem to interact with many people Aunt Emily finally finds a place in Slocan
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