Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: Middle Chapters

Please use this thread to discuss the book through the middle chapters, through the end of the chapter, Sheldon's Record, (1942), ending on page 185 of my copy.
Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: Middle Chapters

In this section of reading we see Henry defying his parents more. His father has a meeting with Charles Preston (Chaz's father) about developing property on Maynard Avenue in Japantown. Henry is to act as interpreter between his father and Mr. Preston and messes up the job on purpose, leaving the two men angry with each other. Henry and his father have completely opposite ideas when it comes to the wellfare of the Japanese. Henry is so gutsy to misinterpret what the men say, making sure the meeting goes the way he wants it to. If his father or Mr. Preston found out what he had done, who knows what would have happened?

Henry also promises Keiko he'd look after her family's photographs and when his father finds them, Henry appears glad to finally have a real conversation with him even if it's nothing more than a fighting match. His father throws the photographs out the window saying if Henry goes after them, he is no longer part of the family. Henry walks out the door anyway. He seems to be growing up in front of our eyes choosing to keep his promise to Keiko even if it means going against what his family wants.

The relationship between Keiko and Henry keeps growing even after she is taken away. There was such a sweet moment between the two, when Henry sees her in Camp Harmony and they are holding each others hands through the coils of fence. Their love for each other radiates off the page. Though he claimed they are just friends previously in the book, you can just feel like there is something more there.

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

Re: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: Middle Chapters

A number of things struck me in this section of reading:

 

On page 104, we learn about the Chinese Exclusion Act.  I vaguely remember hearing about this before, but was glad to have further background on the Chinese / Japanese conflicts.

 

 

"He didn't know where, but they were being sent packing.  Maybe it was because Bainbridge was too close to the naval shipyard in Bremerton, or maybe because it was an island and it was easier to round them all up there than in a place like Seattle, where the confusion, the sheer numbers would make a similar feat impossible.  It can't happen here, Henry thought.   There's too many of them.  Too many of us."

This quote on page 117 reminded me of the thoughts of many Jews in Europe at about the same time.  They thought they couldn't be rounded up, the conflict wouldn't reach them, and surely, their neighbors wouldn't let it happen...What a sad parallel!

 

 

I noticed a metaphor between the Oscar record and Henry's and Keiko's relationship:

 

"Imperfect.  But he didn't care, this was all he'd wanted.  Something to hope for, and he'd found it.  It didn't matter what condition it was in."   (pg. 142)

Modern Henry thinking about the record made me think that he will look for Keiko, hoping to find her, no matter what condition she might be in.

 

"A broken record, he thought.  Two halves that will never play again."

To me, modern Henry is lamenting the idea that he and Keiko won't be able to come together as two halves of a relationship again.

 

 

I love how Mrs. Beatty was not what she seemed!  She is a wonderful character!

 

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: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: Middle Chapters


aprilh wrote:

In this section of reading we see Henry defying his parents more. His father has a meeting with Charles Preston (Chaz's father) about developing property on Maynard Avenue in Japantown. Henry is to act as interpreter between his father and Mr. Preston and messes up the job on purpose, leaving the two men angry with each other. Henry and his father have completely opposite ideas when it comes to the wellfare of the Japanese. Henry is so gutsy to misinterpret what the men say, making sure the meeting goes the way he wants it to. If his father or Mr. Preston found out what he had done, who knows what would have happened?


Henry was so brave and clever to misinterpret the conversation.  I was holding my breath, hoping for the best --- that he wouldn't be found out.  Whew!

 

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: Middle Chapters

Laura, I felt the same way about Mrs. Beatty! I had her pegged to be an uncaring woman, barking orders at Henry and Keiko, leaving them to deal with the lunchtime rush alone. And then suddenly, we see her ordering Chaz to leave the cafeteria after he talks badly about Keiko. What a wonderful surprise! Right there, I found I wanted to reach out and hug her! Finding out she was helping out at Camp Harmony made me respect her so much. I'm glad we found out some of her back story, too. Hearing her father was a POW and she hadn't heard from him in a year, made me realize there's more to her than meets the eye.
April