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Book Report Draft



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Gender: Female
Points: 6931
Reviews: 68
Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:49 pm
turtlethatroars says...



Response to When the Emperor was Divine

How would you feel if you were imprisoned for three and a half years just

because your parents come from a different country? This is the situation the

family in Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor was Divine find themselves in. Sadly,

the father of the family gets taken away; then, a few months later, the rest of

the family - the man's wife, son, and daughter- get taken as well and are brought

to a horse racing track that is their “home” for the summer. After that they were

sent by train to this prison camp in Utah for around three and a half years.

Throughout this novel I believe the family changes to cope with the

discrimination against them.


The family stops doing things that are normal for them after the father gets

taken in and arrested for espionage the day after Pearl Harbor. The mother

sends the boy and girl to school with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead

of what they usually have in their lunch pails.

‘The next day, for the first time ever, she sent the boy and his sister to school

with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in there lunch pails. “No more rice

balls,” she said “And if anyone asks, you’re Chinese.”’

Page 75


She says this because she knows that they will be picked on much less if they say

they are Chinese than if they say that they are Japanese. I think that the

Chinese were more accepted into the American society than Japanese

immigrants considering that Japan just bombed Hawaii and that America is

helping China.


On the way to the camp in Utah the girl meets Ted. He is another person on

the train. She tells him about her father and how he was taken away. Ted asks if

he writes to her and she lies and says that he doesn’t write to her at all when she

has kept everyone of the letters he has written to her.

‘When she came out she held the door open. “My father never writes to me,”

she said, even though this was not true. He had written to her every week

since his arrest last December and she had saved every single one of his

postcards.’

Page 34



I think she says this because there father isn’t really a part of there life any

more and so she acts like it. She thinks that he will not ever be back and doesn’t

want anything to do with him. I also think that she say this because she doesn’t

want to be discriminated among her own kind.


After three and a half years at the camp the family is able to go back home.

Before they left the camp they had to have a lecture on “How to Behave in the

Outside World”. The mother is offered a job in a department in a small dark

room in the back but, she declines it.

‘“The position’s just been filled,” she was told again and again. Or, “We

wouldn’t want you to upset the other employees.”… they would not hire her as

a cashier because they were afraid of offending the customers. Instead they

offered … where no one could see her but she politely declined.’

Page 128


I think she declined the job offer because she has come to the realization that

she is who she is and should have a job that someone of her color should, that

she is “below”, “less than” the American people. So she gets a job as a cleaning

lady. I think that she just gives up at the end and accepts who she is as a

Japanese immigrant.


The family in this story gets discriminated against all through out this book.

Because of the discrimination the family changes a lot. This book has taught me

not to discriminate some one just because they look, act, or are from some

where different than I am/do. This one line stood out to me the most, when they

got home people had written very, very offensive things on the wall,

‘several months later, when we had money to buy paint, we did, but for years

we couldn’t get those words out of our heads.’


When you discriminate some one, what you say stays with them for a very long

time.
Last edited by turtlethatroars on Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"the beauty of words. They can be many different things to many different people. It's all in how we listen. Or how we read." - Lyrical Inspiration (authors note) of Enemies and Playmates by Darcia Helle

-Formally tkpejb
  





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245 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 15440
Reviews: 245
Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:02 pm
creativityrules says...



Hello there! I'm Rosie, and I'm here to review your work! :D

Overall, nice work! I clearly understood the storyline and got a sense of who the characters were. As a book report, this is definitely good. However, I do have a few pointers for you, and I'm going to list them out. If you disagree, please stick with what you feel is best. I'm just offering my opinion, and at the end of the day, your opinion is always what should matter most concerning your own work.

The first notable area of improvement, in my eyes, is your sentence structure. I can be a stickler for sentence variety, and I often find myself looking for areas to improve it even when I'm reading already published books. While the actual sentence structures you used in this does have a little bit of variety, the way you started each sentence doesn't. Most of your sentences began with the words "the", "this", or "then". When a writer does this, I say that they're falling into the "Tee-H" trap. Unless the specific feeling your going for is accentuated by writing this way, it's usually not a good thing to do. As a reader, I find myself going over the number of times those words were used instead of paying attention to what you're actually saying. Therefore, my advice is to take a little of time to revise and focus on starting your sentences in different ways, like so.

Instead of this:

The father gets taken away. Then a few months later the rest of the family (the mother, the girl, and the boy) get sent to a horse racing track that is their “home” for the summer.


Try this:

Sadly, the father of a Chinese family gets taken away; then, a few months later, the rest of the family - the man's wife, son, and daughter- get taken as well and are brought to a horse racing track that is their “home” for the summer.


I think mixing up the way you start your sentences will accentuate what you're trying to say rather than drawing attention away from your awesome writing by bringing the reader's attention to how many words you've repeated.

Next, I'd consider looking over this again and looking for any areas of weakness. I see one right off the bat:

The reason she say’s this is because she knows that they will be picked on a lot less if they say they are Chinese than if they say that they are Japanese.


The beginning of this sentence is the area I'm concerned about. It doesn't feel confident to me, and you never want to feel less than confident in your writing. Try this instead.

She says this because she knows that they will be picked on much less if they say they are Chinese than if they say that they are Japanese.


See what I mean?

Other than that, great job! I think that, with a little bit of revision, this could be an amazing book report. And please, above all else, remember that if you like your work the way it is, don't change a thing no matter what anyone says. Your unique point of view is what defines you as a writer, and you need to hold onto that no matter what.

All in all, great work! I look forward to seeing what you come up with next!

Best of wishes and happy writing,

-Rosie
“...it's better to feel the ache inside me like demons scratching at my heart than it is to feel numb the way a dead body feels when you touch it."

-Brian James
  





User avatar
68 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 6931
Reviews: 68
Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:23 pm
turtlethatroars says...



Thanks for the feedback :) It really helped me.
"the beauty of words. They can be many different things to many different people. It's all in how we listen. Or how we read." - Lyrical Inspiration (authors note) of Enemies and Playmates by Darcia Helle

-Formally tkpejb
  








I was promis'd on a time, To have a reason for my rhyme: From that time unto this season, I receiv'd nor rhyme nor reason.
— Edmund Spenser