Multiculturalism in Canada

Essay by szenkriUniversity, Bachelor's January 2007

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I. Introduction4

II. Theoretical Background5

1. Literature review5

2. Multiculturalism as a concept6

3. Canada as a multicultural state7

4. Multicultural features8

III. Discussion10

1. Joy Kogawa: Obasan10

1.1. Joy Kogawa as a multicultural writer10

1.2. Introducing the novel Obasan11

1.3. The language of the novel12

2. The multicultural features within the main characters' attitude12

2.1. Stephen - the character of assimilation12

2.2. Obasan - the character of separation14

2.3. Naomi- the character of integration16

2.4. Aunt Emily- the character of marginalization18

IV. Conclusion20



This paper examines Joy Kogawa's "Obasan", written in 1981. Kogawa tells the story of Canadians of Japanese ancestry and their years in Canada during and following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941. Obasan is told through the eyes of a Japanese-Canadian woman, who is only five years old at the beginning of the war.

My goal is to analyse the significance of the main characters from a multicultural perspective throughout the novel. In the centre of the novel there is a Japanese family who was deported to the rural Canadian town of Granton, Alberta after the beginning of the Second World War. At the beginning of my paper I describe the most important historical issues of the multicultural state of Canada. I would like to point out the most significant features that characterises Canada as a multicultural country. I have chosen four characters in the view of the best representing multicultural features. From the Japanese-Canadian family centred in the novel, the narrator, Megumi Naomi Nakane, her two aunts, Obasan and Emily and her brother, Stephen Nakane are examined. I set out to search for the determining multicultural aspects...