John Okada’s novel, No-No Boy, is a well written and perspective laden take on the plight of Japanese-Americans during the time immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor - No-No Boy introduction. The interesting thing about this book is that it takes a look at the broad issue of racism, but tells the story through the eyes on one individual. Ichiro, as the book tells, is placed at a crux by the author and is forced to make some very difficult decisions. His plight can teach the reader something extremely meaningful about both the situation at that time and what it was like to have to make a life altering decision at such a young age.
Ichiro’s decision not to fight for America can teach the reader something about what Japanese-Americans were going through at the time. Though they were American born citizens, they were obviously made to feel like outsiders by their fellow citizens. Perhaps Ichiro’s decision was one made because of racism or perhaps he had a strong enough sense of self-pride that he would not fight for a country that was giving him an ultimatum. During this time, the very things that Americans fought so hard to preserve were being put in jeopardy.
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Though Ichiro never had to renounce his citizenship, his refusal to declare his loyalty to American can be seen as a clear indication of his disenchantment with the American dream. The book is obviously written with a great deal of passion, as Okada’s primary character makes no decision by accident. Instead, every one of his decisions tells the reader a little bit more about what Japanese-Americans must have been thinking during that difficult time.