Divine Wind the Story of the Divine Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Divine Wind

The story of The Divine Wind is one that is both poignantly sad and achingly beautiful. The book is both historical fiction and doomed romance in the vein of Romeo and Juliet where although the two youths are obviously very much in love, circumstances beyond their control conspire to keep the boy and girl apart. In Gary Disher's novel, the Second World War forces the lovers apart because the girl is sent to an internment camp while her Caucasian love is allowed to remain free. Even before their official separation, the prejudices of those around them were forcing a wedge between the two young people. In 1946 in the city of Broome, Australia young Hart Penrose is reflecting on his past relationship with Mitsy Senosuke, the daughter of Japanese immigrants. In his youth, Hart fell in love with Mitsy, whose father worked for Hart's father as a pearl diver. Over the course of their relationship, the young couple has to deal with racism on the behalf of the perceptions of those around them. Even Hart's mother opposes the relationship because of Mitsy's ethnic background. Their affection is tested when the people of Australia become more and more wary of the Japanese immigrants in the community, fearing an invasion or attack similar to that suffered by the United States at Pearl Harbor. Broome was an important port, like Pearl Harbor and would be attacked during the war, not due to complicity by anyone in Australia. When these questions of fear and the inner enemy come up, not only does Hart have to deal with the racist opinions of those around him, but a question of loyalty towards his country over the issue of the potential Japanese threat. The racial tensions at the heart of The Divine Wind parallel the upheaval and uncertainty of the era in which the story takes place.

Just like what occurred in the United States of America, the paranoia surrounding the potential for invasion by the enemy led to the government's committing crimes against certain populations' civil rights, namely citizens of Japanese descent, or people living in the country who had not yet achieved citizenship but whose loyalties were not to Japan. In Australia, as in America, the Japanese were sent to internment camps in order to prevent potential spies from releasing information to Japan from within the country and also, allegedly, to protect the Japanese Australians from the misguided actions of potentially violent members of the citizenry who might commit acts of violent vigilantism. At the start of the book, Hart is in the novel's present and waiting for Mitsy and her mother to return home from the internment camp. He has been altered by the war like everyone else in the world, having lost both friends and family to the bloodshed. He is uncertain about how Mitsy's experiences in the camp will have altered her, if they have. Always cognizant of her differences as a person of Japanese descent, the experience of being imprisoned for no reason other than genetic heritage cannot help but make Mitsy even more aware about the differences between herself and the Caucasian majority. She had been othered by the majority throughout her life, even though she was born and raised in Australia. Because of her appearance, Mitsy was classified as something other than purely Australian. It was this prejudice which led to her internment.

Hart expects both Mitsy and her mother to come home much altered because he himself as well as everyone else has been altered by their individual experiences. In remembering the mother, the narrator says, "Unless conditions in the internment…

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Works Cited:

Disher, Gary 2003, The Divine Wind. Scholastic.

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