“Grinning and Happy” Key Structure: 1. Joy Kogawa refers to the newspaper clipping "Grinning and Happy" in both the opening and the closing of her argument. What purpose does this "framing" of her argument at both ends achieve? How does it help her make her point? The “framing” of her argument in this manner shows that there were definitely two points of view to the plight of the evacuees ‐ those who used them and those who were used. It makes her point in that at the beginning, the reader is almost taken in by the title and newspaper clipping, while by the end, the reader knows that the news story is an example of “tabloid” journalism at its best ‐ the Japanese‐Canadians suffered a great deal. In paragraphs 2 through 6 Kogawa quotes the article to show us an official and public version of the truth. Then after she debunks this version through a succession of her own eyewitness examples, she returns in her closing to sum up her judgment of the official “truth”: “That is one telling. It’s not how it was. Her tactic not only facilitates an argument that rises to a climax, but, in referring to the opening, her closing gives us a satisfying sense‐of completion ‐ of having come full circle. 2. How important to Kogawa's argument is the device of contrast? Explain. The device is very important and very effective. It allows the reader to see the difference between the “official” version of events, and what actually did happen to the evacuees. Contrast between these public and private versions of the truth (the newspaper article vs. the narrator’s own experience) underlies Kogawa’s argument to a great extent. 3. What percentage of this selection do you estimate consists of examples that illustrate Kogawa's point? 80% of it is examples that illustrate how difficult life was. Only the first few paragraphs and the news story are not part of these examples. Nearly the whole selection, at least from paragraph 8 on, consists of examples that illustrate the hardships of the Japanese‐Canadian evacuees. 4. To what extent is this selection based on description? The vast majority of this selection is based on description. The images that Kogawa paints are very vivid ‐ the reader can see and feel her misery. Since most of the examples are concrete and even poetic images of the miserable life of the evacuees, description is basic to the selection 5. Most THESIS STATEMENTS are placed toward the beginning of an argument; why is Kogawa's placed in the very last line? Coming at the end like that it is almost a knock‐out punch. If that statement had started out the essay, the reader would have been prepared for what was to come. In this case, however, Ms. Kogawa delivers all of her proof and then her final summation ‐ “it’s NOT how it was.” This last line has a shocking effect on the reader, despite the previous examples of misery. Since Kogawa’s argument is inductive, she reserves her thesis for the end, as a conclusion to her evidence. We could consider her earlier statement, “There are some nightmares from which there is no waking, only deeper and deeper sleep” as a kind of thesis. It does alert us to the tenor of the examples that will follow, but the much greater specificity of her two last sentences puts them fully into the mold of thesis statement as conclusion. Style: 1. Until the publication of Obasan, Joy Kogawa was best known as a poet. What poetical qualities do you find in this selection of her PROSE? Ms. Kogawa’s prose is rather poetic in her use of vivid descriptions, imagery and figures of speech. Even the long, run‐on sentences have a rhythmical cadence to them. Like most poetry, Kogawa’s prose selection “Grinning and Happy” is very concise. And as in most poetry, that conciseness is derived largely from appeals to the senses and from figures of speech. 2. To what extent has Kogawa used SENSE IMAGES to make this selection vivid? Give one example each of appeals to sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. This selection makes extensive use of sense images. These are but a few of many possible examples: sight: “Obasan, wearing Uncle’s shirt over a pair of cark baggy trousers” hearing: “then three hand spans to the next plant, whack whack, and down on my knees again, pull, flick flick”. touch: “And then it’s cold. The lumps of clay mud stick on my gumboots and weight my legs and the skin under the boots beneath the knees at the level of the calves grows red and hard and itchy from the flap flap of the boots”. taste: “We eat cloves of roasted garlic on winter nights to warm up”. smell: “bring back the anaesthetist turn on the ether clamp down the gas mask bring on the chloroform”. 3. Kogawa's poetic prose is filled with FIGURES OF SPEECH. Point out at least three good examples each of SIMILE and METAPHOR. simile ‐ “we rotate like chickens on a spit” simile ‐ “we are as tiny as insects crawling across the grill” simile ‐ “the hook like an eagle’s beak” metaphor ‐ “hardship is a noose around my chest” metaphor ‐ “in summer it’s a heat trap, an incubator, a dry sauna” metaphor ‐ “the whole field is an oven” 4. In paragraphs 14 through 17, how many times do you find the contraction "it's" at or near the beginning of a sentence? Is this repetition accidental or deliberate? What is its effect? In paragraphs 14 through 17, “it’s” begins five sentences and comes after conjunctions that begin three others. The repetition is obviously deliberate: its effect is to emphasize how the examples in this passage work together in showing why the narrator “minds” the situation. It illustrates the monotonous drudgery that the lives of the evacuees had become. 5. How many words long is the second sentence of paragraph 19? (The lumps of clay mud...there and ugly.) How many times does it use the word "and"? Is this run‐on sentence accidental or deliberate? What is its effect? 53 words ‐ 6 “ands” This is a deliberate sentence. Its effect is to show the on‐going misery that affected these people and to emphasize the endlessness of the narrator’s tasks. Terminology: Explain each of the following in terms of "Grinning and Happy" 1. purpose ‐ to illustrate the horrendous conditions under which the Japanese‐Canadians were forced to live 2. audience ‐ anyone with a knowledge of Canadian history, or anyone who might be affected by Ms. Kogawa’s imagery 3. vehicle – essay, novel excerpt 4. context ‐ Ms. Kogawa was herself, one of the Japanese‐Canadian evacuees. Her parents’ home was seized and the family was first re‐located to Slocan Valley in BC, and then to the sugar beet fields of southern Alberta. This experience is the basis for her writing. 5. diction ‐ Ms. Kogawa’s choice of words are poetic, yet disturbing in their imagery 6. tone ‐ Ms. Kogawa’s tone is one of melancholy and disbelief that such a thing could have happened to her and her family 7. style ‐ Ms. Kogawa uses long, run‐on sentences to mirror the drudgery she and her family faced daily. Her writing is also full of poetic language and vivid imagery. This style could be described as poetic.