Hello everyone, I wanted to comment shortly on Okada’s style of writing in “No-No Boy”. The passage that stood out most to me was on Page 174, where Ichiro is negotiating what his mother had done for him and Taro. Midway through the paragraph in which Ichiro talked about how “it wasn’t her fault that things didn’t go right,” the progression of his thoughts suddenly change. He says that “she made me do wrong, but I am right in knowing what must be done.” I see this passage as Okada’s way of expressing how the human mind thinks. Especially as people reflect on situations, how sudden the progressions of thoughts can go.
What do you all think of this? I would love to hear about what everyone else in the class thinks about Okada’s writing style!
One thought on “Okada’s Writing Style”
Especially with that passage, I definitely felt it reflected the ways in which we all try and make sense of our worlds and find some form of closure or certainty in the face of trauma/adversity/change. I really love that you phrased it as a negotiation because every part of the novel seemed like a negotiation of the cognitive dissonance around his identity and his relationships. I imagine the events and opinions of the story could easily have been written in a way that portrayed Ichiro as looking for someone or something to blame, yet this seemed more empathizable.
On another note, the way Okada portrayed characters and introduced dialogue really left me thinking the book was supposed to remind you there is no closure in these contexts. As soon as any character’s message was read as a solution to Ichiro’s problems, something else was introduced that challenged it. (For example, I felt that Emi’s stance of forgiving America/viewing his sentencing as lenient and forgiving was immediately challenged by the fact Ichiro met Mr. Carrick who, despite being a very stereotypical American man, felt the internment was a disgrace – it forced Ichiro to have to acknowledge that even Americans don’t wholly feel justified in their actions or want him to rationalize it.) This alongside that constant negotiation left me with the impression Okada wrote the way he did because he wanted to showcase the ways in which historical trauma turns to intergenerational trauma.