Essay by aznXsa2587 October 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.0

The differing forms of communication by the two aunts play a role in Naomi's lifestyle choice: Obasan with her use of Japanese silence and Emily through her straight forwardness. Obasan lives her life through a shell that traps her thoughts and feelings inside. She expresses her feelings in her actions and with occasional Japanese phrases. This is evident in the following description by Naomi; "I feel that each breath she takes is weighted with her morality. She is the old woman of many Japanese legends, alone and waiting in her ancient time for the honour that is an old person's reward.". Naomi throughout the book is constantly searching for messages and attempting to find Obasan's love. Complicating the situation for Naomi is the use of the Japanese language by Obasan. Naomi was raised in Canada and had learned only the basic Japanese words. Naomi's brother, Stephen, has totally ignored the Japanese language as we see in this quote, "He grunts as Obasan tries to help him with it.

Stephen has made himself altogether unfamiliar with speaking Japanese." (231). This demonstrates that Naomi is forming her own pathway between her two aunt's lifestyles, neither shutting out English or Japanese dialect. Obasan's voice can be described in this quote; "Uncle and his wife...live in almost total silence. They speak a mixture of Japanese and English, mostly in two or three word sentences. Much of their speech is evasive, sliding away from questions." (Suanne Kelmam pp. 39). Obasan represents a very traditional Japanese woman, living in humbleness and silence. The fact that Naomi struggles to understand her aunt shows that Naomi has been integrated into the Canadian lifestyle. Early in the book, Naomi describes her Aunt following her husband's death; "The language of her grief is silence. She has learned it well,