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Planting Roots in Shallow Ground - How Identity Is Shaped in Lois-Ann Yamanakas Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers

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One indication of Lovey’ s economic class can be found in the early introduction of Lovey’ s father’ s wage-earning weekends, which are not all confined to weekend activities. While his job is never mentioned, his various schemes to earn more money for the family to spend on small necessities receive a great deal of attention. The first of these indicates the subsistence level of Mr Nariyoshi’ s regular earnings as the tremendous effort involved in trying to earn extra money becomes emphasized by the very small amount of money that must have been required.

“ The last Family Money Pot was spent on a portable heater from Sears for the kitchen in the winter. All those weekends of odd jobs or sitting in the garage full of junk for the weekly garage sale for the dinky heater” (Wild Meat, 33). Other schemes that emerge through the book include growing flowers for the lei stand that Lovey and her mother string, raising livestock and hunting for food and breeding rabbits for fur. Lovey’ s neighbours participate in similar activities as a means of gaining the money necessary for basic living needs while her schoolmates demonstrate much more affluent lifestyles.

The popular Japanese girls are described as belonging to their own social clubs, indicating more affluent activities, while their possessions are often described with a somewhat covetous note. “ They’ re all so rich. They got gold chains with lots of gold charms on charm holders and plenty of pairs of high-heel Famolare shoes. … They live in places called Sunrise Ridge or the Heights” (Wild Meat, 186). Yet this concept of rich is also quantified when Lovey goes into a lengthier discussion regarding the family of Lori Shigemura, one of the members of the Japanese Ray of the Rising Sun social group that has been presented as so fine.

“ Say something about her mother, who works in the macadamia nut factory with the little white kerchief on her head and white gloves and waves to the tourists … Say something about her father, who is the part-time custodian at Uncle Ed’ s school, who mops the kindergarten and vacuums the library carpet …    

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preview essay on Planting Roots in Shallow Ground - How Identity Is Shaped in Lois-Ann Yamanakas Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers
  • Pages: 17 (4250 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Literature
  • Level: Undergraduate
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