1. In the last one hundred pages of the book under analysis the issue of social stereotypes concerning people with Japanese-American experience is raised by the author. Describing his feelings, Mura states: “I felt that I, like Susie, had suddenly become some sort of pet, some stereotype, a ‘young Sansei poet’” (Mura 341).
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In other words, readers had certain expectations concerning the style and content of his creative works and did not want to be disappointed. All Mura’s works were perceived through the lens of his ethnical origin and Japan-American background which predetermined the destiny and public attitude towards his memoirs.
Labeling the author as a “young Sensai poet”, the audience was unwilling to shift the accustomed frames for receiving the author’s messages. Thus, raising the issue of stereotyping, the author discuses the impact of social expectations upon his sense of self-perception and opportunities for realizing his creative potential predetermined with the social environment.
2. The child of Susie and David clearly represents both the fusion and the split between American and Japanese cultures which becomes more explicit during the trip to Japan. “This split I have felt between America and Japan, this fusion of two histories, will reside in her, in a different, more visible way” (Mura 372).
The child, who was born in an international family, would absorb the peculiarities of both cultures since the day of his/her birth. The ethnical origin, parents’ background and the family’s lifestyle would have a significant impact upon the child’s self-identity and the process of socialization. In that regard, the elements of both cultures would interact and blend in the child’s consciousness, representing the fusion of both cultures.
The interaction between these elements would result in unique child’s views which cannot be associated with any of the components because of their fusion. On the other hand, though the intersected elements are included into the person’s self-perception and cannot be separated from each other, the unique character of David’s daughter shows the split between these cultures. The inner conflict along with the social expectations and difficulties demonstrates the gap between the two cultures and their fusion in the child’s consciousness.
3. The episode depicting the group therapy session with David’s both parents reveals the generation gap between the Nisei and Sansei and the associated psychological problems. On the one hand, coming to therapist session, parents acknowledge that they do have problems and need help for overcoming them.
On the other hand, father’s behavior shows that these problems are so deep in his consciousness that it is almost impossible to get o its roots. Justifying the horrors from is past, father shrugs his shoulders: “No, no, that was just what you were supposed to do. It wasn’t anything at all” (Mura 312). The impact of ideological propaganda is still so strong that even after several decades passed, Nisei continue idealizing their past, including the concentration camps which they consider as normal and perfect.
Though father interrupts his speech, the fact that he has begun it clearly represents that he has momentary invasion of doubts. The strength of ideological impact is the most important influential factor broadening the generation gap between Sansei and Nisei. However, acknowledging these differences, they could at least try to sympathize with the other and improve their relationship by recognizing their own mistakes and reaching compromises.
Mura, David. Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei. New York: Grove Press, 2006. Print.