Homework Help

Could anyone summarize what the short story "Grinning and Happy" by Joy Kogawa is about?

user profile pic

jnchow | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted July 5, 2013 at 4:40 PM via web

dislike 2 like

Could anyone summarize what the short story "Grinning and Happy" by Joy Kogawa is about?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:34 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

"Grinning and Happy" is an excerpt from a full novel, Obasan, written by Joy Kogawa. The excerpt is written as the unspoken thoughts of the main character, who represents Kogawa in thought and action, as she reacts to the discovery of a newspaper cutting from years earlier.

The entire story presents the irony of the caption under the newspaper picture, "Grinning and Happy", as contrasted with what the author remembers about the time in her life being pictured and described in the accompanying article. The author was neither "grinning" nor "happy" during the time when she and her family were forcibly relocated away from their home and made to work the sugar beet fields.

She presents a series of "hardship" memories brought back by the article. "Flies...the chicken coop 'house'...bedbugs...standing in the beet field...cold..." The story is her version of the situation. "'Grinning and happy' and all smiles standing around a pile of beets? That is one telling. It's not how it was."

 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes