Although Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is told in the third person, readers can delve into Henry Lee's thoughts and feelings—which is good since this is Henry's story. The entire book shows Henry's childhood and later adulthood, exploring the impact World War II has on his life.
As an outsider both at school and at home, it's useful to be able to look into Henry's thoughts in order to see exactly how he deals with so much discrimination and the loss of his first love. After all, he's not often in a position to fully express himself: At home, his parents insist he speak English while they only speak Chinese, and at school Henry's at best ignored and at worst tormented. Having front-row seats to Henry's thoughts and feelings as he navigates this tricky terrain helps us both relate to him and appreciate just how hard his life can be.