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Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Week One Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


dhaupt wrote:

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
Week One

Welcome to the first featured selection of the new year. I hope you’ll enjoy this novel as much as I did and enjoy Kristina’s participation as well.

 

First thoughts

 

Thoughts on the characters. Are there any that stand out yet? Are there any that you have strong feelings for yet?

 

Were you surprised by the arranged marriage that precipitated Lane’s proposal?

 

Prejudice; let’s talk about the prejudice that happened after the attacks.
Do you think it was there before?


Were you aware of the treatment of the Japanese at the outbreak of war?

 

 


The thing that struck me the most about the first sections of reading was how quickly prejudice against the Japanese living in America surfaced after the attack on Pearl Harbor --- literally overnight.  The author does a great job of integrating examples of how people in the community treated Lane and his family with prejudice.

 

I can’t help but love the character of Lane.  He seems too good to be true!  I am very curious to see what happens to him during the rest of the book.

 

Jo is a great supporting character.  We all need a friend like Jo.

 

I was shocked by the announcement of the arranged marriage, but I think it was more because of how it was presented in the book --- I believe it was the first time the reader meets Lane’s family.  Arranged marriage is still a part of cultures around the world today, so the idea itself is not so shocking to me.

 

I don’t think the prejudice against Japanese Americans was there prior to the attacks, at least certainly not on the scale with which it is evident after the attacks.  The prejudice that occurred was driven by fear.  People feared for their safety and the safety of their loved ones and their country.  They were going to do things and act in ways that would make them feel safer, at the expense of common sense.

 

I was aware of the treatment of the Japanese because I read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which I recommend.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Week One Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves


Mountain_Muse wrote:


 

Prejudice; let’s talk about the prejudice that happened after the attacks.
Do you think it was there before?

 

The tension between the governments of the United States and Japan had been building for a good while before December 7, 1942.  For a background of the underlying issues:  http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/wwiipaccauses_2.htm  

American pilots fought the Japanese on behalf of the Chinese (The Flying Tigers), as well as other groups that fought the Japanese along side the Australians, English, and Chinese before  Pearl Harbor.  The American Media followed their stories and cheered them on as heros in the press as the fought the "devil Japanese tyrants".   A whole atmosphere of anti-Japan was built over several years.

By the time Pearly Harbor happened, the US knew we would be going to war with Japan, it was just a matter of when.  We were already building up ships, troops and aircraft in the pacific in preparation.  We just didn't realize they would get the drop on us. .....  Dis-trust of the Japanese population on the West Coast was every bit as bad as German distrust on the East Coast.

 

 


I learned something new!  I didn't know this background prior to the start of WWII.  Thank you.

 

Also, thank you for sharing your personal stories.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Author
Kristina_McMorris
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎12-28-2012

Re: Week One Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

I agree, Laura, that the article and details Muse mentioned provide good insight about anti-Japanese sentiment prior to WWII.

 

I will also add, based on my research and interviews, that the prejudice went far beyond opposition to Japanese politicial events and aspirations.

 

On the West Coast, specifically, there was a great deal of tension building from white American farmers, fisherman, gardeners/flower nursery owners, and others. Not only did Japanese immigrants excel in these fields, but their children, due to their culture, often were expected to help out, which resulted in the ability to undercut prices. (You might recall that the subject of truck farming came up during the argument in the jazz club and ultimately led to the scuffle.)

 

Japanese immigrants (Issei, or first generation) also tended to create what many viewed as "closed communities" by speaking their native tongue, living among other Issei, and working/owning businesses in Little Tokyo. All of this helped fuel distrust by their white neighbors.

 

Combine these two points with the attack on Pearl Harbor, a great deal of understandable fear, as well as paranoia spread by the media, and you have a hefty spring board for the evacuation and internment of 120,000 people. 

 

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:


 

Prejudice; let’s talk about the prejudice that happened after the attacks.
Do you think it was there before?

 

The tension between the governments of the United States and Japan had been building for a good while before December 7, 1942.  For a background of the underlying issues:  http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/wwiipaccauses_2.htm  

 

 

Scribe
Mountain_Muse
Posts: 1,104
Registered: ‎06-09-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Week One Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Thank you, Kristina. This is the kind of back ground that most do not know about that adds depth to your story. I can see much of it implied in the story line, but having these facts brought out help to show how many of thesecunder tensions were going on and how it all came together to create the atmosphere of distrust and fear.
I am enjoying your participation and presence very much.
Muse
A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
Author
Kristina_McMorris
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎12-28-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Week One Discussion of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Certainly one of the challenges of writing historical fiction is finding a balance between the actual story and providing historical context -- all without making readers feel like they're suddenly stuck with a history textbook they didn't intend to buy. Ha! 

 

Thanks for the kind words. I'm thoroughly enjoying our discussion too! 

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:
Thank you, Kristina. This is the kind of back ground that most do not know about that adds depth to your story. I can see much of it implied in the story line, but having these facts brought out help to show how many of thesecunder tensions were going on and how it all came together to create the atmosphere of distrust and fear.
I am enjoying your participation and presence very much.
Muse