“The Children” is perhaps my favorite section of The Buddha in the Attic, if one can have a favorite part of this wholly enveloping novel. I love how Julie Otsuka describes the development of the women’s children, from toddlers playing in the fruit fields while their parents worked to young students, stuck in the back of the classroom with the handmade or hand-me-down clothes, sticking out like sore thumbs. I thought the last passage of the section was especially poignant. Despite all evidence in their lives pointing to the contrary, the children dreamed of achieving greatness, and their mothers allowed them to keep dreaming, although they sensed upcoming trouble and hardship. I believe that having dreams and hope in the face of adversity is a powerful thing, and for the women to allow their children the freedom to daydream was to allow them the freedom to hope for the future. Without hope for a better future, what’s the point of getting through a not-so-great today?
What did you take away from “The Children”? Share your thoughts in the comments!