Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Essay

One should not stop going for what they want. Through the struggles and obstacles being thrown at two people who are in love but the others may not be able to see it, they will always find a way back to each other. This book demonstrates the hardship two young people who are in love to find a way to each other even though at the time, interracial dating was not very common and looked down upon.

During the Japanese internment in WWII, Henry, who is a first-generation Chinese American, went to an only non-white school was forced to work in the kitchen during lunch and clean after school because that was how his “scholarship” was being paid for. At that school, he met a Japanese-American girl named Keiko and became friends instantly. Even though Henry’s father was not very fond of the “enemy” Japanese people, that did not stop Henry from being her friend. One night, both Henry and Keiko snuck out to see each other. When they saw each other, Keiko gave him her family pictures because all Japanese had to get rid of any possession that could link them being known as Japanese so they could avoid being taken away.

Japantown was filled with families and businesses who were forced to shut down and leave to the safer internment camps. Henry had to go through that pain of watching Keiko’s entire family leave, he was helpless to stop them but at the same time afraid that he would be herded with them for his similar physical appearance.

Because it was a tradition for the Chinese to send their children back to China to complete their schooling, that is what Henry’s father did. He sent him back to China. He agrees to go if his father saves the Panama Hotel where Keiko’s family stored a lot of their belongings when they were shipped to the internment camps. While sending letters back and forth letters to Keiko, that is how Henry met the women he ended up marrying, Ethel. She worked at the post office and befriended him. As the war was going on, Keiko’s letters stop coming. The only reason why Keiko’s letter stops coming because his father interfered with the delivery of the mail for Henry’s own good. That is when Henry eventually moves on with his life, finishes school and marrying Ethel, but does not forget about Keiko. After the wife dies of cancer he tries to find meaning for living. By doing so he goes back and visits the last Japanese habitation, which was the Panama Hotel. He never really forgot about Keiko, that was his first love. Even though Henry’s son, Marty, and Henry were not close, slowly but surely he eventually told him about Keiko. Marty and his fiancé go out finding Keiko and sends Henry to New York to be reunited with his first love, Keiko.

Being in Henry’s father’s shoes, I could see why he stopped the communication between Henry and Keiko. He was really just doing what is best for his children. At that time interracial relationships were not common but I guess nowadays parents cannot really choose who is going to marry their children. You cannot help how you feel and when you feel a certain way you will do whatever it takes to be back with the one you love. I think it was so cute how Keiko and Henry sent letters back and forth, nowadays it is only text messages or snapchats being sent. There was no sentimental feeling like there was before. Now we rely on technology as our form of communication and that is why some relationships fail.

Read also  Poem Red to you Vs Reading a Poem

It is hard bringing your culture to America especially when you want to live the American lifestyle or culture. I know Henry’s father did not want him speaking Cantonese at home because if he spoke English, he would be more acceptable as an American. He was proud that Henry was going to an American school but of course he was not going to let some of the traditions go so therefore sends him to China. Henry’s father’s morals are very different with Henry as he grows up to being a father. When Henry has a son who is planning on marrying an American girl. At that time, dating outside the race is more acceptable. With me dating outside the Filipino race, my parents are okay with that. To them race does not matter. What matters is how the other person feels about you and vice versa. One that cares for you, takes care of you, and how they treat you should be the bigger concern and not the race. I always thought I would have to date within my race because I know that is what my parents would want, but they told me race should not matter. It is just how the other person can make you feel that matters the most. As long as I am happy, my parents are happy. I wish Henry’s father saw that Henry was happy with Keiko, but since his father was not very fond of the Japanese, he did everything he can for them not to keep in contact.

The story ends on a sweet note. The first thing Henry says when they meet was a Japanese phrase to tell her how beautiful she was, that he learned when he was a boy. Through the search from the city and pain and memories Henry had in the past, finding Keiko was the main purpose in his life. He wanted to be rekindled with his first love again.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet did a good job at alternating between telling the story at adolescent Henry’s war years with his later life in 1986. The author manages to tell the story of the Japanese evacuation, of the struggles between generations in immigrant families, and of the friendship that later turned into love between Henry and Keiko. This book also tells an important story, that of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and it was heartbreaking to watch Keiko’s family as they were evacuated, despite the fact that her family was more “American” than Japanese, and that Keiko was born in the U.S. Keiko’s frustration at seeing those of Japanese heritage taken away and her family’s strength as they are forced to leave behind their entire life is hard. I cannot image being taken to an unknown place with my family because of who we were. I liked how the author incorporated the generation of Chinese-American Henry and his immigrant parents. Henry’s father demands that he speak only English in their home, despite the fact that this leaves Henry unable to communicate with his parents but be more acceptable to the American culture. This book was overall a touching book. It was more than a love story between two people, it was the hardships that was going on during the WWII that kept those two from being with each other and with Henry’s father stopping communication between Keiko and Henry. I had mixed emotions because I was happy they found their way back to each other but at the same time I was upset because I wanted to know what would happen next.

More Essays

  • Literary Analysis_ Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as a Historical Fiction

    In Jamie Ford's historical fiction Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, this split narrative focuses on two eras: 1942 and 1986. Within these era's, Ford's novel focuses on a Chinese boy, Henry Lee, and what it was like to grow up in the international district with prejudice everywhere, especially in...

  • Archetypes in High School Movies

    David Denby explains the typical high school movies in detail in his article called "High-School Confidential: Notes in Teen Movies". According to Denby, there are three character archetypes in high school movies; the popular girl, the jock, and the outsider. For some reason these movies usually take place...

  • Human and Utilitarianism

    Let me begin by defining Utilitarianism: utilitarianism is the belief of doing what is right for the greater number of people. It is a theory used to determine the usefulness of the happiest outcome and how it will affect everyone else. Now, this sounds like a amazing theory, what would be better than...

  • Walter Lee from _a Raisin in the Sun_

    The play a Raisin in the Sun is a play written by Lorraine Hansberry. This story is about an African American family living in Southside Chicago. In the story, the family goes through many hardships especially when it comes to money. The Younger family lives in an overcrowded apartment which has very little...

  • Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare Explanation

    When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself, and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possessed, Dearing this man's art, and that man's...

  • Character Analysis of Aminata_ Book of Negroes

    The Book of Negroes by Lawerence Hill started as a story of the capture of a West African girl and her journey to become a slave. Her traumatizing experience was written with a desperate tone that was achieved through the use of literary devices such as metaphors and alliteration. Emphasis was put on the...

  • Imagery in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    What Mark Twain is trying to portray in this part of, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is that Boggs is plainly looking for trouble, and Colonel Sherburn is as well. In this part of the book, Boggs comes galloping along on his horse, to town where he wants to kill Sherburn. His motto, "meat first, and spoon...

  • Theme of _dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde_ Good Vs. Evil

    The book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde made the biggest impact on me. This book was written in the late 1800's and the theme still has deep meaning today. In my opinion, the theme of the story is based on the idea that we all have a good side and an evil side. I believe that there are life lessons to this idea. I...

  • Purpose of Life

    Are you really contented with your life? Do you even know the real purpose of life here on Earth? What is your purpose for waking up everyday? Why can you hear, see, smell, talk and think? What are you here for? Every life here on Earth has their own purpose of existence. The plants, they play a huge role...

  • American Football and Sound Intellectual Thinking

    I've always been told i was too small, I'm not big enough, not fast enough and that i don't have what it takes. But to stay there for four years straight was necessary, blood was necessary and the occasional tear as necessary/ But on the field i prepare so no one can make up my mind but myself. And once my...

Read also  boat_ Symbolism in Never Let Me Go

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Essay

(1)The first thing I would do if I found out I was going to be evacuated from my home is start crying. Knowing that I will be separated from humanity I will also begin to become crazy, knowing what happens too all these people at the camps families suffering and loosing each other by being separated and killed will destroy me. The last hours I have at home I will pack few of my clothes, toothbrush, money, weapons and a journal not a diary because IM A MAN! Why would I pick to bring a journal instead of everything else I might poses you might be thinking is because since I am a man I probably will stay alive and get to write about my daily struggles I will be having in the internment camp. I would be forced to leave behind my phone, my computer, and mostly all my electronics because I wouldn’t want to risk being tracked. My list reveals that I’m going to be weak without all my things that I live on daily this evacuation will change my whole life and family.

I actually don’t believe the Japanese Internment compares to the Holocaust, even though everyone has their right to their own opinions I don’t believe they compare. Because so many more Jews were killed during the Holocaust then Japanese being killed in the camps and no offense but the treatment the Jews were given from the Germans were way harsher than the U.S to the Japs. The Japanese had less camps and were given better treatment like food they were sent to these camps so the U.S. could view them and make sure that they weren’t spies. The Jew were sent to the camps and instantly put to work given numbers to represent when they were next to be killed.

 Both sides of the internment were one U.S. getting involved was a good idea or a bad one. The United States putting most Japanese into internment camps can be seen as a bad idea because American is known for the Land of the Free. The U.S. putting most Japanese people into camps is definetley unconstitutional it makes people question is America really the Land of the Free? Obviously we know as we read America was just trying to be safe at this time, because in 1942 Roosevelt signs a Relocation in the United States because they believed that the Japanese were a threat to America. We were fighting against them at this time and they just didn’t want threats because they did believe that even though they came to America they still are going to give information to Japan. That’s why in the book we saw Keikos former teacher be taken away by the “FBI” because they believed he was a spy.

Read also  Human and Utilitarianism

They still got an education, made a low salary and were given food in these camps it wasn’t like they were being slaves. I believe it was a good idea for America to get involved I think they did it smartly too they gave the Japanese camps where they would stay at and have their life I know you’re going to write but it’s not the same they are being forced to move but at this time they were being accused of being spies and doing bad things. Some people also just moved to America and where put into a camp where they can get a place to live, money and food instead of living on the street. It’s also only Japanese people so you’re with your kind. I guess I’m using a Jewish point of view because in our religion we are supposed to only marry Jewish people so I see this as a good thing being together as a race, but also we learn from our past.

More Essays

  • About the Holocaust

    During the Second World War, and unspeakable injustice occurred. Six million Jewish people were slaughtered solely based on their religion. Men, women, and children were plucked from their homes and taken under control of the Nazi's. Their valuables were stolen. They were put to work in concentration camps...

  • Moishe Felman (holocaust Victim)

    Moishe was born in 1926, he started to attended school in 1933 and at the time his parents had a Grain shop. Moishe was raised in a religious Jewish home in Sokołów Podlaski, Poland and he spoke Yiddish. Sokolow Podlaski at the time was home to a large population of Jews before World War 2. In 1939 Moishe...

  • Collapse of International Peace

    (a) How did the 1935 plebiscite change the situation in the Saar? [5] (b) The policy of appeasement was justified.' How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. [8] Study the extract, and then answer the questions which follow. Hitler has got away with it. France is not marching. No...

  • Why Did the Majority of Germans Conform to Nazi Rule

    The majority of German citizens conformed to Nazi rule because of the dual positive and negative pressures exerted by the regime. The Nazis designed and aggressively propagated a programme likely to be attractive to most of the community and backed this up with an apparatus of terror to silence those not...

  • Hotel Rwanda and Night Comparison

    The Holocaust was a tragic even to occur during WWI. Millions of innocent lives were taking only because they were of a different religion. Hitler was the dictator of Germany back in WWI and he thought of a "'perfect race." This race did not include the Jewish population so he decided to get rid of them....

  • Stasiland Sample

    Anna Funder's 2002 work of literary journalism, _Stasiland_, relates her journey through a "land gone wrong", the German Democratic Republic. Separated by the Berlin Wall and political ideology, East Germans lived under the ubiquitous and omniscient control of the Stasi, the secret police, whose "job it was...

  • Treaty of Versailles

    "As solders on the battlefields celebrated, families reunited, and the unlucky ones mourned, the war was finally over, as of 11 o' clock on the morning of November 11th in 1918 (Vaughan, 1-2)." The solders that survived came home, and the unlucky ones did not; some families united, and other families...

  • History Class Presentation

    It is believed that Prussia achieved and secured dominance in Germany because of the role of Bismarck, who got rid of the opposition in the Parliament, strengthened the Prussian army, exploited Prussia's economic development and won three wars to secure the unification of Germany. However, it is also argued...

  • Berlin Wall

    [] A few decades ago, before the beginning of the 21st century, the world was divided between the East and the West: US Capitalism and USSR Communism. Indeed, after World War II, two of the world's superpowers fought each other indirectly; developing the idea of a silent war which later came to be known as...

  • Ways to Improve Your English

    Start your own English language blog. Even for people who don't have to write in English, writing can be a great way of properly learning the kind of vocabulary you need to describe your own life and interests, and of thinking about how to stop making grammar mistakes. The problem most people have is that...

Read also  Lord of the Flies_ Civilization Vs. Savagery