What does Naomi's dream in Chapter 6 of Obasan foreshadow?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Naomi had a dream that she and a man with her come upon another couple, unknown to them, in a forest on a mountain. Together the four labor at an unnamed task. The a big animal that looks like it's half dog and half lion catches Naomi's attention. It belongs to the second man, who seems like a British officer. England is represented by many different national animals. The best well known national animal for England is the lion. Another of the national animal symbols is the bull dog. The animal that Naomi notices combines both these animal symbols. The Naomi notices what had escaped her before; the other man is, indeed, wearing a British uniform and is a British officer. Then the dream reveals that the dog is actually a robot, representing technology and advancement. The woman with the officer uses an ancient language to explain the contractual bond between herself and the officer. The Uncle arrives doing a death dance.

Naomi's dream combines unknown people with important tasks and with a British authority figure who holds the symbol of advancement in his possession. Then Uncle incorporates a death dance into the picture of cooperation between authorities, both British and ancient (the woman who speaks in an ancient language). Uncle seems to be dancing a joyous dance, with the red rose, instead of a foreboding dance of impending death. This dream foreshadows Naomi's eventual understanding of her family and the issues of WWII related to Japanese Canadians, suggesting to Naomi and the reader that she will develop her own mind out of the apathy and varying opinions held by her family. After her dream, Naomi goes downstairs and finds a package from Aunt Emily and the box she had been looking for in the attic. These confirm the above and will work with the dream to help her understand more about her family and the issues.

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