Study Guide

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Chapter 26

By Jamie Ford

Chapter 26

Better Them Than Us (1942)

  • Henry bursts into his family's apartment and tells his parents what has happened and how upset he is that the army is taking away Japanese people.
  • Instead of being shocked and horrified, though, his parents just ask him why he's so worried—his father thinks it's better that this happens to the Japanese than to them. Whoa, Pops; whoa.
  • Later, Henry's mother can tell he's upset so she asks him if he wants to talk. He wants to know why his father never talks to him.
  • She tries to explain to him that his father's prejudices against the Japanese go back a long time, that he saw his country at war with Japan when he was growing up.
  • Then she asks him if the girl who called him that one time is Japanese. Henry just says that Keiko is his best friend.
  • Over the weekend, Henry tries to call Keiko's house but their phone has been disconnected. At school on Monday, she isn't there either.
  • So on Tuesday, Henry goes to Nihonmachi instead of to school. He looks at all the lines of people walking with their belongings, being escorted by soldiers with guns.
  • He scans the crowd and shouts Keiko's name, hoping he'll be able to see her before she's evacuated. Finally he spots her family and waves at them… but they don't see or hear him.
  • Henry also runs into someone he's not such a big fan of—Chaz. Chaz is out here watching the people being evacuated from their homes, and he's loving every second of it. Boo and his, Chaz.
  • Henry can't take it anymore and punches Chaz. Of course, Chaz starts beating him up then, and he doesn't stop until Sheldon swoops in and plucks him off of Henry.
  • Then Henry gets up and runs through the crowd, looking for Keiko's family. He has this ill-formed idea that he's going to ask his parents to take Keiko in.
  • He finally reaches the Okabe family and they're surprised but pleased to see him. Henry says Keiko can come live with him, but the Okabes tell him they all have to stay together. They're going to someplace called Camp Harmony, and they'll be back someday.
  • Then he watches as they join the crowd and leave on a train. He cries, thinking of how far they're going and when he'll see them next.

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