Hatsue Imada Miyamoto: “Her mother seemed to know about the gulf that separated how she lived from what she was. And what was she anyway? She was of this place and she was not of this place, and though she might desire to be an American it was clear, as her mother said, that she had the face of America’s enemy and would always have such a face. She would never feel at home here among the hakujin, and at the same time she loved the woods and fields of home as dearly as anyone could. She had one foot in her parents’ home, and from there it was far at all to the Japan they had left behind years before. She could feel how this country far across the ocean pulled on her and lived inside her despite her wishes to the contrary; it was something she could not deny. And at the same time her feet were planted on San Pedro Island, and she wanted only her own strawberry farm, the fragrance of the fields and the cedar trees, and to live simply in this place forever.” 
- Is Hatsue in love with Ishmael, or is she in love with a place, and Ishmael is part of that place?
- Hatsue’s mother was a picture bride—marrying a man in America she had never seen as part of an arranged marriage. What part does she play in the courtship of Hatsue and Kabuo?
- Is Hatsue happy in the life she has chosen with Kabuo?
Ishmael Chambers: “Ishmael saw Hatsue cross the Nitta’s upper field and slip into the cedar woods, going south. He found himself following, slowly at first, letting the rain pound him as he moved through the strawberries—he was already soaked so what difference could it make?; the rain was warm and felt good on his face—and then he was trotting through the forest. The South Beach trail, with its canopies of cedars, was as good a place as any in a rainstorm, and he wanted to walk it home with her, saying nothing if that was what she desired. But when he caught sight of her below the McCullys’ farm it occurred to him to slow to a walking pace and follow along at 50 yards. The rain would cover any noise he made and besides, he didn’t know what to say. It would be enough merely to see her, as it had been in the fields or when he’d hid behind the cedar log and watched her fold her family’s laundry. He would follow along behind, listening to the rain pelt the trees, and watch her wind her way home.” 
- Is Ishmael a good man?
- Is Ishmael a man of action or a man of reaction? Remember, he has been a soldier, and has lost an arm in the war.
- Is Ishmael in love with Hatsue or in love with the idea of Hatsue?
Kabuo Miyamoto: “He was a warrior, and this dark ferocity had been passed down in the blood of the Miyamoto family and he himself was fated to carry it into the next generation. The story of his great-grandfather, the samurai madman, was his own story, too, he saw now. Sometimes, when he felt his anger rising because he had lost his family’s strawberry land, he gathered it up into the pit of his gut and stood in the yard with his kendo stick rehearsing the black choreography of his art. He saw only darkness after the war, in the world and in his own soul, everywhere but in the smell of strawberries, in the good scent of his wife and of his three children, a boy and two girls, three gifts. He felt he did not deserve for a moment the happiness his family brought to him, so late at night, when he couldn’t sleep, he imagined he would write them a note explicating his sin completely. He would leave them and go to suffer alone, and his unhappiness would overwhelm his anger. The violence might at last die out of him and set him free to contemplate his destiny and his next life on the Great Wheel” [168-169]
- Is Kabuo a good man?
- Do you think Kabuo killed Carl Heine? Why or why not?
- Why do so many islanders believe that Kabuo killed Carl?
You have until Saturday at midnight to make the first post, and until Monday at midnight to post a response to someone else in the class. Remember, your responses should be 250-300 words in length, proofed for spelling, grammar, and mechanics!
Don’t forget, keep reading over the break as we need to get caught up! I will have another blog ready for you by Tuesday, March 10th.
Teacher Barb :)