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All Over Creation- Rough Draft

jstanton's picture

All Over Creation Analysis (Rough Draft) 



In Ruth Ozeki’s novel, “All Over Creation”, there are many times where cultures clash both due to identity and environment. There are clashes between race and values that cause tension and separation between the Fuller family. Yumi’s parenting styles and mixed race children clash with her conservative hometown. Momoko struggles to maintain her identity in a foreign environment where there are few people like her. Ozeki shows where these clashes result in tension and whre they can come together harmoniously. 


There are many intersections of different cultures, throughout the novel, that often cause tension between the characters and the community. When Yumi come back home after she ran away from home 25 years ago, she brings her three biracial children. Yumi has been removed from Idaho for so long and has adopted Hawaiian culture, and in general has been removed from what she once knew and how she was raised. Already, her tan skin and dark hair makes her stand out from the crowd. Yumi and her children receive a lot of judgment because each child has a different father and are of mixed race. Also, her children act out in ways that care unusual for children in Idaho and Yumi parents them in ways that her parents didn’t. Yumi’s parents were a lot stricter with her which may have led to her rebelling and losing connection with her family. She in return raises her children more loosely. Phoenix is very rebellious and has gotten in trouble with the law; however, Yumi seems to understand his behavior and encourages him to rebel within reason. Her children also question authority and talk back to adults. They even call Yumi by her first name showing how informal their family values are. It is hard to say if the way her family acts is a result of her bad parenting or a result of the different culture in Hawaii in comparison to Idaho.  


Either way, her family treats her children as though they are delinquents and ridicules Yumi as a mother. The extreme hate they faced in the community was apparent when they received a threatening letter in the mail, saying “Stone thee with stones?... Burn thee with fire?” (230). After receiving this letter, Phoenix still shows his defiance toward Yumi and lack of respect as he yells swears at her and brings up her recent relations with Elliot. The way Phoenix speaks to his mother is not the way many other teens speak to adults and family. The way Yumi allows this shows she understands why he’s rebelling and forgives him for that. She has put him in a tough situation where he knows of her relationship with Elliot and also doesn’t have a good relationship with his own father. His outbursts are the ones she wishes she had so that she wouldn’t be in the position she is in today after dealing with strict parenting. 


Another example of a culture clash is how Japanese and American culture mesh on one farm. Momoko is Japanese and often speaks to herself in Japanese. Speaking to herself and responding to English in her native tongue helps her Japanese culture stay prevalent in this foreign environment. There are very few people like her in Idaho so it is important to maintain her identity. Also as her Alzheimer’s worsens, it is something permanent that she can remember and be grounded with. There is some of Momoko’s culture that was lost due to her living situation. For dinner once, she cooked macaroni casserole as it was “Lloyd’s favorite”. There are implications that Momoko has lost control of her own identity in some areas to please Lloyd and adapt to her new life in Idaho. 


Although there are many instances where clashes of cultures result in tension. There are also instances where thy work together harmoniously. Lloyd and Momoko were able to keep up a pretty successful farm up until Lloyd’s first heart attack where they couldn’t keep up with it any longer. However, their seed company began to grow and they got support and recognition for it from the Seeds. Yumi, although her adequacy as a mother is in question, was able to raise three children and be on tract of a PhD on her own as a single mother. In many ways, her experiences such as being taken advantage of by a fetishizing man and living with strict parenting, led her to be self-sufficient and recognize the importance of taking responsibility for her actions. 



**Still looking for more examples to support my claim. Haven’t finished the book.