SOAPSTone? Poem?I have to do soapstone, and I don't get it .Speaker (ozawa) im not sure thoughoccasionAudiencePurpose SubjectToneIn Response to Executive Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese...

SOAPSTone? Poem?

I have to do soapstone, and I don't get it .
Speaker (ozawa) im not sure though

In Response to Executive Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers"
by Dwight Okita

Dear Sirs:
Of course I'll come. I've packed my galoshes
and three packets of tomato seeds. Denise calls them
love apples. My father says where we're going
they won't grow.

I am a fourteen-year-old girl with bad spelling
and a messy room. If it helps any, I will tell you
I have always felt funny using chopsticks
and my favorite food is hot dogs.
My best friend is a white girl named Denise --
we look at boys together. She sat in front of me
all through grade school because of our names:
O'Connor, Ozawa. I know the back of Denise's head very well.

I tell her she's going bald. She tells me I copy on tests.
We're best friends.

I saw Denise today in Geography class.
She was sitting on the other side of the room.
"You're trying to start a war," she said, "giving secrets away
to the Enemy. Why can't you keep your big mouth shut?"

I didn't know what to say.
I gave her a packet of tomato seeds
and asked her to plant them for me, told her
when the first tomato ripened
she'd miss me.

Expert Answers
tmcquade eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Speaker - Yes, the speaker is Ozawa, a 14-year old Japanese girl with a best friend named Denise.

Occasion - Executive Order 9066 has just been issued, letting all Americans of Japanese descent know that they must report to relocation centers, or internment camps, as a result of fears about their potential treachery during WWII. 

Audience - The relocation officials, to whom she is writing this letter.  On a grander scale, though, all Americans who hold these baseless suspicions.

Purpose - She wants to let the officials know that "of course (she'll) come" - she's a loyal, law-abiding American.  Why wouldn't she?  However, she also wants them to think about that fact - she's a loyal, law-abiding American.  Why should she have to go?

Subject - She's letting them know that she's getting packed and ready for the journey; she's also describing herself so they can know her better, know that she's not someone with an intent to do any harm.  She's also telling them about her best friend, who has been her best friend for a long time but who is now joining with other Americans in being "suspicious" of her Japanese neighbors.  We see through Denise's words that she's bought into the propaganda, and she even suspects her best friend. 

Tone - The tone tries to be optimistic, hoping that soon these officials and all of America will see they truly have nothing to fear.  The speaker gives her seeds to Denise with this kind of optimistic hope - trying not to give into despair - as she "ask(s) her to plant them for me, (telling) her/when the first tomato ripened/she'd miss (her)."