Lesson Plan When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

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She is very task-driven and when she kills the dog it reinforces this state of mind. Do you sense from your own family's experience that this is something that Japanese Americans would rather forget as a bad memory or do you find that this injustice has created a more politicized Japanese American community? They wanted to put the past behind them and just get on with their lives. But I do think that, because of what happened, the following generations of Japanese Americans have definitely become more politicized.

Your last chapter is very different from the rest of the novel. Some people might feel it is too abrupt but I found it to be a very powerful ending. Through the whole story the family is dealing with the day-to-day and don't express much anger. But the last chapter feels like a culmination of all the anger that they, as well as Japanese Americans collectively, must have felt.

When the Emperor Was Divine Teacher’s Guide

How and why did you decide to write the conclusion this way? That ending simply came to me—it was a gift. You mentioned that you were also a painter before you started writing. It sounds like writing became a better fit for you than painting. How did you discover this? Reading was the only thing that seemed to make me feel better.

After reading for a couple of years, I began to think about writing, and signed up for a workshop. And in fact, I found that I felt very comfortable with language. It seemed a much easier medium to work with than painting.

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And I still feel that way. Who are some of your favorite writers? Are their any Asian or Asian American writers you find inspiring? And Ishiguro, too. Where might he have heard this? What is the significance of the things the boy hears through the walls of his barracks? In what different ways do the three characters spend their time in camp? How does this reflect their characters?

What is Mrs.

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How reliable is the information the girl gives her brother? Where else have we seen her make authoritative-sounding statements that may not necessarily be accurate? The letters the father sends the boy have been censored by an official. What things does the boy leave out of his letters back?

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Why might he do this? What sort of things does the boy remember about his father, and what do they reveal about him? Why does the mother fear that her husband may no longer recognize her? When the boy asks his sister what time it is, what is the irony of her answer?


Where else in the book do characters lose track of time? What happens to the inmates who sign up to harvest crops? Where are Peleliu and Saipan? What are the claws the boy hears scrabbling, and why might their sound be growing fainter? What eventually makes him feel better? Do they actually abide by these sayings?

Why does the girl make the boy turn away while she undresses? In what other ways does her behavior change during this time? Do you think he is? Does the boy believe her? What significance do you think he places on this? What alternative reason might the father have had for not turning?


Oates-Orwell, literature lesson plans

How does the mother change in the course of her internment? What memory seems especially affecting to her? Why is the family in the next barracks sent to Tule Lake? What is it that the boy sees blooming inside a peach tin? How is this connected to his vision of the tortoise? Do you think this vision is real or a fantasy?

Why is one of the inmates shot? What hypotheses are given for his seemingly reckless behavior? On page the boy imagines his father returning by various means horse, bike, train , and dressed in various outfits a blue pinstriped suit, a red kimono. What is the significance of these different guises? What, in particular, is the meaning of the pearl? Who is narrating this chapter? What has changed while the family was away? What earlier episode in the book does this recall? Why does the family choose to sleep in the back room? What sort of things have happened to other people coming back from the camp?

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Who might be saying the words printed in italics on page ? How quickly do the children and their mother adapt to freedom? What habits of their internment do they still cling to? How much money is the family given on its release? What is the significance of this sum? How does the narrator describe the men coming back from the war? What do the fragments of dialogue tell us about them? What is the effect of these stories of Japanese atrocities? Does it lessen your sympathy for the family?

How do these stories make the children feel? What measures do the children take to fit in following their return? How does their new behavior correspond to popular stereotypes of Japanese Americans? Who is being addressed? How does the emotional tone of the paragraph change as it progresses? Why do the children keep seeing their old possessions around the neighborhood, and why does their father appear among them?

Are we meant to take this literally or as an ironic metaphor? In what ways does this passage echo earlier false sightings of the father? Why does the mother take a job? What reason does she give for turning down the job in a department store? What does she say are the secrets of being a successful housecleaner? How does the narrator describe the father? How does this description compare to earlier ones?

How has the father changed during his incarceration?