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Japanese and Navtive American Liturature

Essay by   •  February 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  881 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,204 Views

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Americans have been raciest against Japanese Americans and Native Americans; we have pointed fingers and mimicked them. They ought to have the respect and attention because Americans truly don't understand them. A Japanese American named Janice Mirikitani wrote Breaking Silence. Breaking Silence is about a daughter talking about her mother and Japanese interment camps. A Native American named Gail Tremblay wrote Indian Singing in 20th Century America. It's about Native Americans being torn apart from Indian life and European life. Despite Americans trying to silence Japanese and Native American cultures, they in many ways demand to be heard.

Breaking Silence is a statement of identity that will be heard. The daughter described many images and ideas about her mother. The writing also has testimonies about her experience with reference to Japanese interment camps. The mother is portrayed has this caring, earthy, and nourishing person, but in her testimonies is strong and speaking her opinion while killing the silence.

Indian Singing in 20th Century America is about how Native Americans look at European life and connection between Indian life and European life. This writing sometimes describes Native Americans as confused. The writing also addresses culture, control, stereotypes, and communication. Indian life, European life, they feel as if there being torn between the too.

Although control is a common image in both writings, Mirikitani's control in her writing is the government, in Gail's writing it's the Europeans. Besides Janice Mirikitani describing the government as racist, she describes them as also only focusing on the Japanese. A quote from a testimony states " seems we were singled out from others who were under suspicion". This quote is important because she was talking to "Mr. Commissioner"; thus, she wanted to be heard and wasn't scared to show it. Also there are examples of European control in Gail's writing. For instance, the quote "... explains us to its children in words that no one could ever make sense of." This quote shows that Europeans just assumed they knew what Native Americans were like, and by just assuming nobody knew what they were really like. It seems as if they saw and heard what Native Americans were like, but didn't choose to understand it. In addition, another example of control in Gail's writing shows how European's tried to destroy Native American culture. The quote supporting this is "He tries to shut out magic and hopes we'll make mistakes or disappear", and it's an important quote in the writing because is describes how you can try to destroy culture, and you probably will, but you wont destroy the hopes of the culture. Therefore control is only slowing down the process of being heard, and ignoring it will never help because you won't be able to forever.

Along with control as an important image in both writings, the idea of speaking out for your culture is relevant in both writings also. Throughout the writing Breaking Silence there is many places were Janice has powerful word's that raise emotions. During the end of the writing I quote, "We speak ... of burning humiliations



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