What Do I Remember of the Evacuation? By Joy Kogawa Presented by: Arnelle & Edward
Subject matter & Purpose • The poem is about a 6-year-old Japanese girl, who’s family alongside herself were unwillingly forced out of their Vancouver home to live in concentration camps in British Columbia, due to the affects of war. The subject matter is evident when the persona explains the events of the time period when this happened to her. • The purpose of the poem is to portray what the young Japanese children who were affected by the war, went through and thought about after being taken out of their lives; literally. The purpose is portrayed in this quote, “Families were made to move in two hours Abandoning everything, leaving pets And possessions at gun point” (Kogawa, 90). The persona represents the many children who felt inferior to the “ruling” white race in Canada.
Theme • The theme is, The affects of war and racism. The theme is conveyed throughout the story, by the way the persona continually explains what she went through and how she felt. This quote delineates how she was treated due to her race. “And Tim flew the Union Jack when the war was over but Lorraine and her friends spat on us anyway” (Kogawa, 90).
Persona & Tone • The persona of the poem is a 6-year-old Japanese girl. It is given in the quote, “And I remember the mountains I was six years old…” (Kogawa, 90). • The tone of the persona is reflective, because throughout the poem the persona innocently reiterates what happened to her during that malicious time.
Sound Devices • End Rhyme: “And I prayed to God who loves All the children in his sight That I might be white” (Kogawa, 91). • This end rhyme is significant because, it portrays how the persona felt excluded in God’s eyes since she was not white; hence she prayed to be white so he could care for her too. This expands on the concept of racism within the poem.
Literary Devices • Personification:“And I remember how careful my parents were Not to bruise us with bitterness” (Kogawa, 90). This literary device is significant because it explains how careful the Japanese parents were, in order to protect their children from realizing the reality of the tragedy. They tried to help their children maintain their ages, by not feeding them destructive information. • Allusion:“Six years old and I swear I saw a giant Gulliver of Gulliver’s Travels scanning the horizon” (Kogawa, 90). The allusion is significant because it portrays how the little girl felt smaller then all those of the white race. It is proven because Gulliver was a giant in the story Gulliver’s Travels, therefore if she said Gulliver was scanning the horizon, she is figuratively saying she felt like the white people were overshadowing her family and herself. This quote emphasizes the concept of racism, once again.