Analysis Of No-No Boy Vs. Ichiro

Decent Essays
No-no boy vs. Ichiro No-No Boy by John Okada is an intriguing novel centered on the lives of Japanese-Americans after World War Two. The main character, Ichiro Yamada, just got out of two years in an internment camp and two in prison, and struggles with discrimination and being accepted into the community because he is Japanese. Despite being born and raised in America, Ichiro claims to be a Japanese nationalist and is consequentially imprisoned. His mother insists that the entire family is fully Japanese, although Ichiro has never been to Japan. This generational conflict, one that is common between families, is the spur for Ichiro's identity crisis across the whole novel. The book portrays an insight into the history of mental illness in…show more content…
He realizes that her strict codes of Japanese loyalty were not the only things keeping him from assimilating. Since Ichiro can’t look to his parents for help, and he often isolate himself from friends, he does not take his friends social support and advise. “They all say:’ don’t let others tell you who you are… you get to decide.” If you feel like an exile, and a refugee, then rethink yourself! Make yourself a new life- give yourself a new sense of “home” or “community” via your network of friends. Get a job, or go to school. Make yourself “whole” by choosing!”(Okada, 119). The people around him, from his own family to most of his old friends, cannot understand the internal dilemma of identity and purpose that he is facing and at the same time, he cannot understand their thoughts and behaviors demonstrated through his dialogue with them. Ichiro blames his mother for the reason he became a No-no Boy because of her unrealistic expectations of being entirely Japanese and her rejections of any idea of integrating into American culture. “It was she who opened my mouth and made my lips move to sound the words which got me two years in prison and an emptiness that is more empty and frightening than the caverns of hell” (Okada, 12). This quote comes off that he is angry and bitter towards his mother because of the powerful word choice Ichiro chooses to describe how he feels. Caverns of hell, emptiness, and
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