An act of defiance Essay

Submitted By bnparr
Words: 525
Pages: 3

Page 52: “On their first day in the desert… He whispered it.”
An Act of Defiance “When the Emperor was Divine” tells the story of a family that survives forced internment. This family left their home and lives solely because the government told them to; while at the internment camps all the families were told what to eat, where to live, and when to sleep. Essentially all the families in the internment camps lost their freedom, but miraculously some exceptionally strong Japanese interns were able to hold onto their sense free will. The little boy’s small, secret act of defiance parallels how some of these Japanese interns maintained their free will and spirit. In this section, the little boy is characterized as very unassuming and compliant. Otsuka describes him as, “[wearing] a blue baseball cap and he did not stare at the sun” and “…with his head down and his hands in his pockets.” To any observer, this boy would appear to be just another compliant and scared child. However, the remainder of the section gives us a view of the boy that does not fit with this image of an obedient child. In the very beginning of this section we learn that the little boy’s mother specifically told him to never speak the Emperor’s name. Therefore the little boy should listen to yet another person who wants to tell him what to do, but he doesn’t. While he wandered directly under the guards’ tower “it slipped out anyway. Hirohito, Hirohito, Hirohito.” Obviously the little boy knows that saying the Emperor’s name could get him in immense trouble, but when so much of his life is already controlled by others he feels the need to have some level of control. Many people would give up after being beaten into submission for so long, but this little boy stays strong and chooses to hold on to his sense of free will. Like the little boy, some strong Japanese interns were…