Uchida’s Picture Bride is a story of culture clash as experienced by the protagonist, Hana, in her coming-of-age adventures as she adjusts to living in the United States. In California, Hana finds that everything about her seems to be out of place. Her clothes are all wrong; her language is not understood; even the smell of her favorite foods annoys others. Her intelligence is belittled because she speaks a foreign language and cannot fully express herself, and her fine Japanese graces are mocked because they are different from American manners. Everything that she has learned, everything that she has cherished about her Japanese culture comes under suspicion in the United States.
Hana knows that in order to get along better with the majority of the people around her she must adapt to her new culture. However, she is torn between wanting to fit in and wanting to hold onto her Japanese heritage. But even part of what is most dear to her, her daughter Mary, slips away from her because Hana refuses to relinquish her Japanese ways. Hana loves her Japanese culture, but the more she clings to it, the farther away her daughter moves. Mary represents the opposite of Hana. Mary wants all things American. Mary wants nothing to do with her parents’ Japanese culture, so she pushes herself away from her parents and even from the West Coast, where many Japanese people live. Mary even tries to remove herself further by...
(The entire section is 1587 words.)
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