Intermediate School Hapai and a Spell Essay

Pages: 4 (1601 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

¶ … Intermediate School Hapai" and "A Spell of Kona Weather":

Short Stories to be Read Aloud to a Sister or Brother

Those who never had a brother or sister to watch over them, console them, advise them or help them out of jams -- but have often wished they had been blessed with a brother or sister -- will relate well to both of these stories by Japanese writers from that point-of-view. And whether a well-written story involving sibling relationships is penned by an Asian, an African, a European or North American, the skillful use of family issues -- brother-sister, sister-sister, grandma-granddaughter -- can bring universal truths to light that are entertaining, instructive and even sentimental.

What Makes These Stories Similar: The Short Stories referenced in this paper bring universal truths to light in numerous ways, including through the use of dialogue, irony, foreshadowing, conflict, imagery, and more. Interestingly, these stories are both told by narrators whose interests in life aren't nearly as compelling to the reader as are the lives of narrators' sisters whom they describe in great detail. Readers believe the narrators are telling the truth because brothers and sisters don't lie about their sisters.

Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
for $19.77
To wit, the narrators in both of these excellent short stories take the reader into the most intimate details of their sisters' lives, and the narrators leave their mark on the sister protagonists through the use of descriptive narrative and realistic tones. While the themes vary considerably, the attention to detail, the presenting of emotional moments, and the tone of uncertainty and melancholy are quite strong in both stories.

Essay on Intermediate School Hapai and a Spell of Assignment

The short story "Intermediate School Hapai" by Wini Terada is a sweeter story than Watanabe's short story, because it is not tragic like Watanabe's story and it allows the reader to hang out with the big brother who is a bit of a goofball stoner but really loves his sister, though they are miles apart when it comes to motivation. She (Val) is a junior in college, but the narrator, her brother, Vince, has little or no ambition towards educational pursuits. His rationalizations about why is what he is, and why he really doesn't have much motivation, make good reading. "She's a junior at UH, easing into an English degree, the same thing I was going to go into. But I quit UH, for a little while at least…" (223).

Vince takes the reader on an interesting stream-of-consciousness trip through his own laid-back mind. The narrator of the Watanabe story is far more matter-of-fact. Readers get a pretty good idea of what Vince is like because of his street-level English, Hawaiian and Japanese slang. And while "listening" closely to the tone, a reader can almost hear the "twang" in Vince's voice. In this sense, "Intermediate School Hapai" is much less formal in terms of English style than "A Spell of Kona Weather."

What Sets These Stories Apart: Watanabe's narrator doesn't let the reader into her life quite as fully, but descriptions her of her own life in comparison to her sister's life are more than adequate. But what sets these stories apart is the tragedy and emotional instability in Watanabe's story. The reader of "Kona" learns in the first sentence that the protagonist has crashed a car into a tree and is having glass picked out of her face. By the second sentence the narrator has explained that she is always there for her sister, holding her sister's hand in times of pain and crisis. The narrator is queasy about her sister's wild behaviors and the injuries her sister has sustained, but is steadfast in her loyalty to sister.

The Watanabe story is tragic and the Terada story is not at all tragic, but rather simple, sweet, and with a happy ending. In the beginning page of the Watanabe story readers discover the protagonist has "hot-wired" (stolen) and smashed the car belonging to her boyfriend's father, a boy who has just died fighting in Vietnam. She did this deed at Dead Man's Slide, a foreshadowing of things to come. In stark contrast, the reader at the outset of the Terada story learns that the little sister is trying to bum some marijuana off her big brother, who is tinkering with the distributor in his car. The difference between these two opening lines of stories couldn't be more dramatic.

The sister in one story (Lulu) is first stealing then crashing a car on purpose because her boyfriend died in Vietnam vs. The girl in the second story who is bugging her brother for some pot to smoke. The opening paragraphs of the Terada story find a big brother quibbling with his cool sister about how to ask him to share some marijuana, very tame compared with deliberately smashing a car that doesn't belong to you into a tree and causing facial damage to one's self -- damage that may require plastic surgery to repair.

In Watanabe's story, the protagonist's mother has run away, apparently seriously wounded emotionally (her husband died when the children were very young). Readers learn in good time that "mamma" has been institutionalized on the Mainland, and was given shock treatments, hence the lack of meaningful correspondence from her. Readers also learn that Lulu herself has been institutionalized and may be heading in that direction again soon. Like mother, like daughter, is the way this story develops.

In contrast, Terada's story portrays the mother as very normal and sane, living in the home and doing what mothers are expected to do -- ask the son to clean up the garage, to feed the dog, and to do other mundane household chores. That is quite a contrast with the Watanabe story in which the Grandmother is the surrogate mother and she is a couple generations removed from understanding Lulu; moreover, the grandmother says Lulu is "…too broken to fix." The grandmother in Watanabe's story has given up.

The "crazy" theme is very apparent in Watanabe's tale; even the title "A Spell of Kona Weather" has a word associated with madness ("spell"). The name "Lulu" has connotations of "loony" attached to it. On page 247 the protagonist sister claims that Lulu "…used to drive me crazy with her talk about finding our mama" and on the same page claims that Lulu has had an "obsession" with her absent mother. "Obsession" is another word associated with mental imbalance. On page 248 the narrator feared that after Lulu's boyfriend passed away in Vietnam "…that old craziness would start up again." On page 249 Lulu explains that the married man "…is crazy about me," yet another reference to madness, albeit using familiar genre.

It almost seems as if Vince is attracted to his sister in a near-romantic way. "Looking good," he says (Terada, 221); "Tight, dressy jeans and a silkie top…" (221). Vince spends quite a bit of time describing his attractive sister to the reader. Her eyes "sparkled in the glare from the trouble-light dangling from the raised hood of my car…" which is a nice juxtaposition because everyone knows how ugly and greasy the engine compartment of a car can be. "Val has a nice figure -- she takes care of her body" (223).

More Contrasts With the Stories: In Watanabe's tale, the protagonist has an affair with a married man ("a white guy") which is a dangerous thing to do; in Terada's story the protagonist also does something dangerous, having unprotected sex with a man she dated. In both cases, the protagonists get through those challenges seemingly unscathed. In both cases the female protagonists allow male suitors to have their way with them, and they pay something of a price for those weak moments.


In both stories sisters are protagonists and they are in need of things that the narrators have no… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

Two Ordering Options:

Which Option Should I Choose?
1.  Buy full paper (4 pages)Download Microsoft Word File

Download the perfectly formatted MS Word file!

- or -

2.  Write a NEW paper for me!✍🏻

We'll follow your exact instructions!
Chat with the writer 24/7.

School Shootings Case Analysis Essay

School Scenario Formal Response Letter Essay

School Restructure Term Paper

Intermediate Accounting Essay

Intermediate Accounting Essay

View 200+ other related papers  >>

How to Cite "Intermediate School Hapai and a Spell" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Intermediate School Hapai and a Spell.  (2009, April 2).  Retrieved April 6, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Intermediate School Hapai and a Spell."  2 April 2009.  Web.  6 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Intermediate School Hapai and a Spell."  April 2, 2009.  Accessed April 6, 2020.