Form and Content
Monica Sone’s Nisei Daughter is written in a narrative that is chronological. The author does not use flashbacks or dwell on memory and the past; rather, she is forward-looking as she gives an account of the high points of her life. In content and in tone, the book is very approachable, with uncomplicated vocabulary and descriptive images that allow the modern reader entry into the author’s world of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The entire story is told from Sone’s perspective as she details her personal experiences and relationships, though the reader may assume that her story resembles that of other nisei girls growing up at the same time that she did.
Although the twelve chapters of the book have titles that name twelve separate and important main events, Nisei Daughter reads far better as a seamless whole than as twelve separate episodes. The book does not resemble a collection of unrelated short stories or discrete essays because the same pivotal characters—Sone and her immediate family—change and age throughout the book, and the reader shares their accumulating successes and misfortunes. Sone gives her readers a personal yet public account, describing details of family, friends, and community life that are set before a backdrop of important political events being played out between Japan and the United States. Thus, what emerges is a winsome description of growing up in trou-bled times and of the very human and specific...
(The entire section is 479 words.)