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“No-No Boy” a Book by John Okada Essay

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Updated: Jun 29th, 2020

The third chapter of No-No Boy by John Okada starts with the main character Ichiro, the Japanese American released from prison, leaving Freddie’s (his friend, presumably Japanese American as well) and walking the streets of the city. The man was sentenced to prison since, after already being at the internment camp, he refused to join the American army in World War II. He was released after the war was over.

At the beginning of the third chapter, the man thinks of both his past and future and wonders if he can ever be accepted into American society again and if he can ever be happy in it. He takes the bus he used to take to get to the university and decides to see his professor. Although the professor invites Ichiro to continue his education, the conversation is awkward, and Ichiro realizes that the last several years have changed him too much.

The sentence that better of all has helped me to understand the context of the story and what the author is writing about is the following one: “Being American is a terribly incomplete thing if one’s face is not white and one’s parents are Japanese of the country Japan which attacked America” (Okada 49). It helps to realize that the excerpt is about the events after World War II since the phrase “the country Japan which attacked America” presumably refers to the attack on Pearl Harbor (Okada 49). Additionally, the passage describes relations between the native-born Americans and Japanese Americans during that period.

At the end of the nineteenth century, unskilled Japanese began to immigrate to America to find some jobs. By the beginning of the twentieth century, their number significantly increased, which is why the US was concerned about it and practically prohibited their immigration with The Immigration Act of 1924. Thus, all young Japanese who lived in America in the 1940s were already born there and considered themselves as Americans. However, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American government decided to send Japanese Americans to internment camps, after which, in case they refused to join the American army, they were sentenced to prison. When the war was over, Japanese Americans were released with excuses. The novel No-No Boy by John Okada describes these events.

Works Cited

Okada, John. No-No Boy. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press, 2014. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 29). “No-No Boy” a Book by John Okada. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/no-no-boy-a-book-by-john-okada/

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"“No-No Boy” a Book by John Okada." IvyPanda, 29 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/no-no-boy-a-book-by-john-okada/.

1. IvyPanda. "“No-No Boy” a Book by John Okada." June 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/no-no-boy-a-book-by-john-okada/.


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IvyPanda. "“No-No Boy” a Book by John Okada." June 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/no-no-boy-a-book-by-john-okada/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "“No-No Boy” a Book by John Okada." June 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/no-no-boy-a-book-by-john-okada/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '“No-No Boy” a Book by John Okada'. 29 June.

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