Essay on Seventeen Syllables by Yamamoto
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Seventeen Syllables by Yamamoto
"Yamamoto does reveal through her fiction the sorry plight of many female immigrants caught in unhappy marriages. What made the lives of these Issei women especially bleak was that unlike Black women, for example, who in similar situations often turned to one another for support, rural Issei women were not only separated by the Pacific from their mothers and grandmothers, but often cut off from one another as well. Having to take care of children and to work alongside their husbands on isolated farms, they had little time and opportunity to cultivate friendships with other women. The only members of the same sex to whom they could embosom their thoughts were their own daughters, who all too often had…show more content…
The reader cannot help but feel the burden the daughter will be sharing with the mother. And while the plight of the mother is real, the reader cannot ignore how the isolation and loneliness of this type of community, or lack there of, has effected Tome's judgment in mothering.
The nature of the relationship between mother and daughter is exposed immediately through the first conversation. As Tome reveals Ume to her daughter, she clearly wants Rosie to share in her understanding of her life and passion, and stretches her imagination to believe that this might be possible for a girl in her early teens. Even through the daughter's perspective, it is obvious how although the mother expects and wishes for her daughter to understand, Tome suspects by the shallow responses that Rosie gives, how little Rosie either comprehends or cares. Rosie's politeness is an obvious sign to her that at the very least, she does not want to hurt her mother's feelings. The next significant conversation between mother and daughter comes at the end; where family the mother shares secrets about herself that normally would not be shared with someone so young. Even Rosie perceives this awkwardness, as she thinks that hearing this information from her mother may actually "level her life, her world to the
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Hot Summer Winds. American Playhouse production, 1991, dramatization of "Seventeen Syllables" and "Yoneko's Earthquake." Youtube exerpts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0cDILypXYU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zciSX84B8AM&feature=relmfu.
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