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Word Count: 911
Living a bicultural life is an important theme in the story Seventeen Syllables by Hisaye Yamamoto One of the main characters Rosie is often in conflict with her mother Tome Hayashi Rosie is experiencing living under two different cultures while Tome is only used to living in one The conflict of culture between the mother and the daughter therefore is important in shaping both of their personalities and in helping one to understand why they behave the way they do towards each other A generation gap is clearly evident between Rosie and Tome in the story Rosie was born and resides in the United States whereas her mother was born and raised in Japan This implies that Rosie is living in the second generation and experiencing both the American culture and the Japanese culture When Rosie goes to school she is more Americanized She enjoys performing excerpts from many American movies for her friend Chizuko This helps one to understand for her lack of interest in learning or understanding haiku when she is home with her mother On the other hand Tome spent most of her youth immersed in the Japanese culture At the age of 18 the man she loved was given an arranged marriage to another woman an excellent match had already been made for her lover Yamamoto 119 She experienced getting hurt emotionally at an early age This is very important in understanding Tome She believes that she can protect her daughter from having the same experience by asking Rosie not to marry She becomes overprotective of her and she assumes that it is the right thing to do This generation gap between the mother and the daughter helps one to understand more why Rosie and Tome may seem to disagree with each other at times Another factor of the cultural conflict that is derived from the story is the language barrier Rosie being more Americanized knows the English language
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