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Character Analysis Of Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet

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To have a good story, there must be good characters. Characters help the reader relate to the plot and struggle of the story, as well as creating a picture of the scenes on each page. But what exactly makes a character? What defines their personalities and relatableness to the reader? The way a character thinks, acts, and views the world are influenced, much like in the real world, by the people and places around them. In essence, they are ideas that are forged and refined by the author and other supporting aspects of the story into the living, breathing lenses through which we view the story. In the case of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Henry is our window into the world of wartime Seattle. Through him, we can view…show more content…
He didn’t know any other way of parenting besides the cold, divisive parenting he received from his father. Because of this, a rift formed between Henry and his only son Marty, much like the one that existed between Henry and his father. Now, with the recent passing of Henry’s wife Ethel, the void between them has re-emerged and it is larger and more pronounced than ever. This is due to the fact that Ethel was the glue that filled in the cracks and crevices between Henry and Marty, but with her gone Henry and Marty fight and argue more than ever. “Henry could see the confusion in his son’s eyes, more like shock really. Marty had grown up all these years assuming Henry was like his grandfather” (Ford 105). Because of the disconnection between Henry and Marty, Marty had never really, truly known his father. All he knew was that his grandfather was a close-minded, zealous nationalist. He would’ve seen some of his grandfather’s behaviors reflected in Henry who despite his best efforts, turned out quite a bit like his father. In Marty’s eyes, his father is like a mysterious shadow. Someone who was always present in his life, but never emerging from the background. Everything Marty knows about Henry and his childhood were told to him by his mother Ethel, not by Henry himself. This lack of a friend or someone to talk to causes Marty to find someone he loves in a strange woman of a…show more content…
On one end he was ignored by his parents and even disowned, and on the other he was being constantly bullied and put down by his peers who were in their words “fighting the yellow menace”. But one day at school, he encounters a nice, Japanese girl named Keiko Okabe. Keiko and Henry seemed to click almost immediately. This is most likely because they had so much in common. They were both ridiculed horribly in public and by their own peers at school, they both had similar interests, and most importantly they both put aside their ethic pasts and acknowledged that they were indeed American. “That’s where I was born too. I’m Japanese, but American first” (Ford 24). Unlike Henry’s family who refuses to put off their Chinese heritage, Keiko and her family have fully embraced the fact that they are full Americans now and take part fully in American culture. This is shown through the Okabe’s love of jazz or the “colored” music as Henry’s father disdainfully calls. Also, Keiko doesn't even speak Japanese. She only learned English because that what Americans speak and she is American. Henry’s relationship with keiko also brought him out of his shell and showed a new side to his character. Whereas with his father and Marty Henry is quiet and in the background, with Keiko, Henry is much more confident and much more outgoing. He is even willing to smuggle illegal alcohol into a colored jazz club and spend a
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