NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ940540
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0994
Putting Their Lives on the Line: Personal Narrative as Political Discourse among Japanese Petitioners in American World War II Internment
Okawa, Gail Y.
College English, v74 n1 p50-68 Sep 2011
One of the more complex and premeditated acts of covert violence during World War II concerns the American surveillance, arrest, and incarceration of thousands of resident Japanese immigrants prior to and upon the outbreak of the Pacific War. While briefly outlining the historical and political context of this mass incarceration, specifically pertaining to the Territory of Hawaii, this essay examines two documents and the rhetorical strategies they employed. Both documents were written from the Santa Fe Internment Camp in New Mexico: a large group petition and an individual petition--the former using a collective autobiographical experience, the latter personal narrative, for political purposes, as rationale for the reversal of the government's decision for mainland exile, and the return of the internees to their island homes. Despite disenfranchisement on various levels, the petitioners were arguing for political subjectivity and voice within the discourse of their oppressors. (Contains 15 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii; New Mexico