Who is the protagonist and antagonist in the play, And the Soul Shall Dance, and why?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several important conflicts in the play, and for each conflict, there would be a protagonist and antagonist.

  • The "big picture" conflict is between U.S. society and the Japanese immigrants who had come for a better life. They were treated very poorly, so the Japanese would be the protagonists, and the white society that looked down upon them would be the antagonists.
  • The conflict between Oka and his wife, Emiko, is another important conflict. Emiko is angry to have been forced to leave Japan to take the place of her sister as Oka's wife. The couple fights over everything. Oka is the protagonist, and Emiko is the antagonist.
  • Emiko also resents Oka's daughter, Kiyoko, when she comes to live with them. Emiko had been stealing from her husband to save money to get back to Japan, and Kiyoko changed all of this. Kiyoko is the protagonist, and Emiko is again the antagonist in this conflict.
  • When Kiyoko arrives, she must also face a conflict with Masako, the daughter of Oka's neighbors, the Muratas. Kiyoko represents the traditional values of Japan, and Masako resents her for being too "Old World" because Masako has adopted American values to try to fit in. The two later become friends. Masako would be the antagonist in this case.

 

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