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Seventeen Syllables ;My Favorite Short Story The first paragraph in Seventeen Syllables by Hisaye Yamamoto describes the first time Rosie realized her mother wrote haikus. Her mother reads her a haiku she has written and Rosie pretends to enjoy and understand it. This is the first hint of deception. Rosie does not want her mother to know that she isn t as fluent in Japanese as her mother thinks. Rosie is being dishonest with her mother but little does she know that she is not the only one being deceitful. The theme of Seventeen Syllables is one of deception, which can be seen at various points through the story. ....Rosie and her father lived for a while with two women, her mother and Ume Hanazono . This sentence is foreshadowing the end of the story because of the remark, for awhile . It is understood that this living with two women will only be temporary. The mother is both Tome Hayashi, wife and mother, and Ume Hanazono, the writer. The visit to the Hayano family s house is very significant to the story because here we see how other Japanese woman carry themselves. Mrs. Hayano is portrayed as a quiet and feeble woman, quite the opposite of Mrs. Hayashi. On this visit, Mrs. Hayano sat all evening in the rocker, as motionless and unobstrusive as it was possible for her to be . Meanwhile, Mrs. Hayashi is engrossed in talk with Mr. Hayano about haikus. I think Mrs. Hayano was placed in the story to show how different Rosie s mother is in contrast to her. At the end of this visit Rosie s father becomes annoyed because once again, he s placed second, to his wife s discussions about haikus with Mr. Hayano. He abruptly ends the visit, forcing Rosie and her mother to leave as well. When Tome realizes that she has upset her husband, she says, I m sorry you know how I get when it is haiku I forget what time it is. He doesn t respond. On the silent trip home Rosie feels anger and hate towards both of her parents. ..for her mother for begging, her father for denying her mother. Another part of the story concerns Rosie and Jesus, the Mexican family s son. The young boy tells Rosie that he has a surprise for her, but that she must meet him later on that night to find out what it is. Rosie, being na ve and young, does not know what to expect from him so decides to meet him. When they do meet, she realizes that his surprise is a kiss. Thus, kissed by Jesus, Rosie fell for the first time entirely victim to a helplessness delectable beyond speech. I think this also is a hint of deception because love seems so different when you re experiencing it for the first time. Jesus could also have been nice and a friend to see how far he could get with her. He is two years her senior so he might have other things on his mind. He Can also be defined as deceitful. Rosie s mother wins first place in a newspaper s poetry contest. The newspaper editor comes out to the farm in which they live, to give her the prize, a beautiful painting of a traditional Japanese scene. The mother offers the man some tea and invites him into their home. This seems to be the last straw for the father. The climax of the story takes place when the father becomes enraged and storms inside the house. The man leaves and the father exits the house with the painting Ume has won. He begins chopping it with an axe and finally sets it on fire. The mother s life and dreams go up in flames along with the picture. The Japanese picture Ume Hanazono won is a symbol of her other life, her writers life. The picture, as her life, is at the
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