Compare and contrast “In Response to Executive Order 9066.” Dwight Okita and “Mericans,” by Sandra Cisneros
Date:The American Identity
In response to executive order 9066 and Mericans are literature works that focus on American identity. In both the story and the poem, the little girls represented tend to reflect a form of restriction and an emotional appeal for identity.
The poem by Okita was written depicting the setup of the World War II after the Pearl Harbor. In this event, the USA had declared war against Japan. The poem begins with the statement issued by the Executive and Presidential order 9066. The quote denotes” All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers.” The 14-year-old girl of a Japanese-American citizen responds to the relocation order or perhaps an internment that will last the duration of the war. With little knowledge of her origin and history, the little girl is classified as a devotee of the Japanese. It is evident that her loyalty as a Japanese-American has been doubted. Her identity is now unclear as she moves to the unknown location.
In the short stories ‘Mericans’ by Cisneros, the story represents a setup of transition. The little girl is described as in a torn apart between two worlds, the ‘old’ Mexico and the new American world. This is demonstrated by the way the grandmother who she refers to as the ‘awful grandmother’ restricts her from entering the church. It symbolizes her interest in learning the Mexican cultures and practices. She is also denied entry to the plaza where the new and modern ways represented as balloons and comic books are available. She speaks both in Spanish and English; this shows that she has been taught to speak the language that relates to both worlds but has no access to the practices that will give her a value of identity. Thus, her identity is unclear, and she does not know which side she can claim originality or knowledge. This study explores the detailed meaning that the story and the poem convey concerning the identity of the Americans in the setup of a war and after the war.
The 14-year-old girl has been restricted from continuing with her ordinary life, her friends and in the familiar location she was used to. The close friend she had shared a classroom with in a long time seems to distrust her. She tells her that she is starting a war, by giving away secrets to the enemy. Later, she gave her friend a packet of tomato seeds with a message of hope though she said that when the first one ripens, she will be long gone (Okita). As a representation of the American identity the little girl demonstrated how distorted the Japanese- American’s identity was affected by the war, which led to a relocation to an unknown area. On the other hand, the girl in the short stories is restricted from both worlds. She is not allowed to experience the Mexican old culture, which carries her identity and origin. The new American world represented her expectations and present identity that she should be building on. The restriction of access to both the Mexican and American worlds means that she has no sense of origin or a sense of the present state of belonging (Cisneros). This represents the American societies that are latter disinterested with their historical origin as well as modern practices. As a result, new cultures and practices are born, which give a sense of identity.
Cisneros, S. “Mericans.’ 2012. Print.
Okita, D. “In Response to Executive Order 9066.”
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