Sunday, November 8, 2009

Anticipation Set Response for Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi

A couple of things can be told about this book from simply looking at it. First of all, the title is very revealing. It implies that, not unlike in So Far From the Bamboo Grove, a major theme here is going to be loss. Not just loss of family and friends, but loss of places too. For example, homes and villages. It could also be a goodbye to everything that is comfortable and familiar to the main characters. Also, loss of life, both in a metaphorical and literal sense. Metaphorical in that so much will be given up and sacrificed that ones identity could eventually be lost. Literally speaks for itself really, because this is a story about war, death seems inevitable. Something that can be told from the cover of the book is that the main character is Japanese, because of the flag behind her. Also, there is barbed wire strung across the girl in the illustration, signifying to me that a theme could be loss of freedom. This could refer to the main character herself or the entire nation.

One thing that I would pose to students before starting this book is how the above themes could fit into the theme of this book. I would also have them consider the following quote, because hope has everything to do with both books we are reading.

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson

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