make an argument about this novel’s importance as a historical source as it relates to Japanese internment during World War II.
Write two well-formed essays (with introduction/thesis statement, body paragraphs with topic sentences, and conclusion) addressing the following two prompts:
1. Primary Source Analysis: Using the 6 C’s of Primary Source Analysis as a guide, make an argument about this novel’s importance as a historical source as it relates to Japanese internment during World War II. What themes, background information about the war, internment, and/or histories of immigration and incarceration you have encountered in the the course thus far, and information about the author John Okada are helpful for understanding the novel and appreciating its importance?
2. Passage Analysis: See below for your assigned short passage from the novel, and then make an argument about the meaning of this passage through a close reading of it, and then by connecting it to the novel’s main themes, relevant events, and its larger significance. A “close reading” is an interpretation and analysis of the passage, and should focus first on describing how it conveys meaning through various literary devices of your choice (see tips below).
- Question 1: This is a more traditional expository essay, similar in content to the Primary Source Analysis assignment but it should be shaped around a clear argument, or thesis. (Here is a helpful guide on developing a thesis). You should begin with a brief introductory paragraph that introduces the novel and contains your thesis argument: your conclusion(s) about why this is an important historical source about Japanese internment. Each of your body paragraphs should begin with an arguable topic sentence (the main claim of the paragraph, which should be a sub-argument that contributes to your thesis) followed by evidence and analysis that warrants your use of chosen examples. End with a short concluding paragraph that re-states your thesis and its broader significance. You can also acknowledge here what information might still be missing or questions left unanswered. You do not need to do any additional outside reading or research beyond our readings and lectures; if you do, be sure to cite your sources properly. Overall, aim for 3-4 body paragraphs and 2.5 to 3 pages total.
- Question 2: This prompt is asking you to conduct a close reading of a given passage, interpret its meaning(s) by describing how it conveys meaning, and then connect it to the novel’s overall plot and larger significance. Think of this as first zooming in closely to walk us through what’s happening in the passage itself by identifying key words and literary devices, then zooming out to connect it to the novel’s main themes and other relevant things that happen throughout the book. This essay is not a plot summary. Your organization should be straight forward: begin the essay by getting straight to the point with a thesis statement about the meaning of the passage. It may help to choose one theme to focus on (e.g. race, family), and 1-3 literary devices (e.g. dialogue, flashback, allusion, etc. Here is a helpful guide to common literary devices). This essay does not require any outside references; use parenthetical notation to cite page numbers. Overall, aim for 3-4 body paragraphs and 2.5 to 3 pages total.