What was Papa like as a young man?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The narrative offers some intimations of Papa's life as a young man.  We know that Papa's family was of noble status, only to be reduced by American imperialist control of Japan.  Papa opted to leave his family as a teen to come to America.  This detail is significant in Papa's years as a young man.  He turns his back on his Japanese identity and sense of self in order to settle in America.  Papa is shown to be a young man who carries a dream of self- made success in America. The same dreams he carries as a young man are no different than the millions of others who come to American shores in hopes of leaving their past behind.  Papa replicates these same qualities when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor in the outset of the book.  There is a complete rejection of his Japanese past in favor of the American present and future.  America robbed Papa and his family of identity when he was a young man.  Now, as an older man, the narrative opens with Papa being robbed again by America.  In both instances, Papa demonstrates a love and passion for America.  It is for this reason that he ends up being broken by the very same nation towards which he pledges his love and loyalty as a young man and as an older one.

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