1. Throughout the book we see evidence of racist and sexist language towards Yuki and people of Japanese descent. Jack frequently questions Yuki’s loyalty to him, and bounces between periods of trust and bliss and distrust and anger. Is Jack justified in doubting Yuki? Do you think that Jack would be as distrustful if he had married an American (white) woman? Or do you think Jack would be skeptical of any woman, regardless of race or ethnicity?

2. From the moment he laid eyes on her, Jack was captivated by Yuki’s unique appearance – her blue eyes and curly reddish-black hair – surely he would have written about his wife’s appearance in his letters to Taro. Why wouldn’t Jack have written about his Japanese wife to his (Japanese) best friend? Maybe Taro could have given Jack some tips about living with a Japanese woman – about some of the marriage traditions or roles/duties of the husband and wife.

3. It is clear in Taro’s nightmare that he is uneasy with the idea of a dominating Western man controlling and taking away his weak and unassuming sister. (That thought should be concerning to any man…) During this time period (Western) men were expected to be the assertive/possessive figure while the women were supposed to succumb to the “protective” nature of men. Did/does Japanese culture have a different view on romantic relationships between the two sexes? Is there more of a balance of power between the two sexes in the Japanese culture? Or is the power imbalance exemplified because Jack and Yuki are in a mixed-race relationship?

Mary’s Reading Questions for September 6

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