Paper 4 - The Wonder Years?: A Journey to Define Manhood in...

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The Wonder Years?: A Journey to Define Manhood in No-No Boy In John Okada’s No-No Boy , Ichiro is a young Japanese man who refused to serve in the army during World War II. Troubled by the decisions of his past, he comes back a broken soul confused about his place in society as well as his identity. The novel can be seen as a quest; Ichiro meets different people and faces challenges that slowly rebuild his identity and push him closer to his utopia. His utopia is not a physical place in life or society, but a state of being. In Ichiro’s utopia, the ultimate goal is to regain the manhood that he lost in the past. To him, having something worth fighting for is what defines a man. Thus, the novel is a journey where Ichiro tries to find something he believes is worth fighting for. After four years away at camp and prison, Ichiro returns castrated; he does not feel like a man, but a tainted object that does not belong in such a pure world. As he walked down the street he knew so well from his childhood, “He felt like an intruder in a world in which he had no claim.” Though most would be nostalgic and feel comforted to see the sights that they grew up with, Ichiro feels uncomfortable. His identity is lost because he has lost what defines him as a man. Before the war, Ichiro was a college student; it was a simple life but he was content and happy because he had something worth fighting for. “To be a student in America was a wonderful thing. To be a student in America studying engineering was a beautiful life. That, in
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This essay was uploaded on 02/22/2008 for the course ENGL 111 taught by Professor Chang,steven during the Fall '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Paper 4 - The Wonder Years?: A Journey to Define Manhood in...

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