1. Author
  2. Historical Background
  3. Summary
  4. Structure
  5. Characters
  6. Stylistic devices
  7. Conclusion 


  • Hisaye Yamamoto
  • second-generation Japanese-American
  • born in 1921 / California 
  • parents were immigrants from Japan 
  • speaks many languages (French, Spanish, German, Latin)
  • experienced racial discrimination 
  • worked as a journalist until 1948
  • volunteer for a Catholic charity (1953-1955)
  • since 1948 her literature has been published in magazines
  • short story was originally published in a newspaper in 1950


  • Japanese (lived at the west coast) were brought to concentration camps (interior of the USA) by US government
  • thought the Japanese could be a risk during the war
  • many prejudices about Asian immigrants 

  • many Chinese immigrants came to America in the 19th century


  • Esther Kuroiwa (a Japanese-American woman)
  • short story deals with her thoughts, feelings and reaction to the harassment of a Chinese couple on the Wilshire Bus
  • Esther takes the bus to visit her husband in the hospital (war-injury) 
  • a drunk man enters the bus 
  • next station: Chinese couple enter the bus 
  • the man discriminates against Chinese, tells jokes about the Chinese couple, offends them because of their ethnic belonging  


  • Esther starts thinking about her race and her country, remembers an old man, who was proud to be a Korean
  • Esther is proud to be a Japanese, but she is not able to show it 
  • the drunk man leaves the bus 
  • another man stands up, apologizes for behaviour of the drunk man, welcomes everybody in the melting pot America
  • next station: Esther gets off, arrives at her husbands bed, breaks out crying   


  • exposition (p.44 l.1 – l.22)

  • rising action (p.44 l.23 – p.46 l.12)

  • climax (p.46 l.13 – p.49 l.9)

  • falling action (p.49 l.10 – l.32)


  • Esther Kuroiwa: main character, concerned (visits her husband twice a week), enjoys the long bus ride very much, open-minded, full of emotions, friendly, tenderhearted
  • Buro Kuroiwa: Esthers husband, soldier at the 2nd world war, injured in the war, is in a soldiers' hospital
  • drunk man: muscular body, medium of height, dressed in a dark grey sport suit, yellow-and-black flowered shirt, aggressive, little intellectual interest, close-minded, racist


  • Chinese couple: elderly, Oriental, neatly and darkly clothed, woman: wore her hair in a bun, does not show any feelings, expressionless and hostile eyes; man: softly spoken and bad English
  • another man: originally Scotch and French, wearing glasses, made a clumsy speech to the Chinese couple, believes in America as a melting pot, open-minded, friendly  


  • not many stylistic devices, because the story is written in third person view
  • hyperbole (p.46 l.16 – 18) “…get off this bus”, “…go back where you came from”, “…go back to China” 
    → author shows that some Americans don’t like the Chinese
  • anaphora (p.46 l.16 – 18, 21, 27) “why don’t you…” 
    → author shows that some Americans don’t like the Chinese


  • anaphora (p.49 l.2 – 3) “we”, “we”, “we”
    → shows the community spirit of immigrants from other countries
  • direct speech (p. 46 l. 21 – 23) “…bare feet out in the rice fields”, “…let your pigtails grow” 
    → shows prejudices many Americans had in this time
  • enumeration (p.45 l. 5 – 7) 
    → describes the American man


  • even after 2nd WW there were several people who did not like Chinese immigrants
  • prejudices about Chinese are still widely spread
  • several people who have a big community spirit
  • European immigrants were tolerated in contrast to the Chinese


  • Great Immigrant Stories 
  • http://homepage.smc.edu/lodmer_emily/ESL11A/yamamoto.pdf


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by ellifiebrich


Public - 5/25/16, 12:47 PM