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Kadohata’s The Story Devils: An Overview Essay, Research Paper

Kadohata’s The Story Devils: An Overview

The Story Devils, by Cynthia Kadohata is a look into the life of a young

girl looking to protect her family in any way possible. The story is based on a

real life experience of the author and shows how we can, at times, let the devil

in ourselves come out and play. The author, now living in Los Angeles, writes

this as almost a warning; but the reader gets the feeling that she would do what

she did again, in a second.

The story takes place after World War II in the town of Chesterville,

Arkansas. It was a small town with small town problems, and had a Japanese

community living within it. The story was written in 1989 and reflect the

uncertainties of the post World War II period. Within the small community there

lived a woman that had been through a recent divorce, and was raising three

children, Kate, the author, and her brother Sean. Because the mother is having

a problem making ends meet, she begins to go to church and meets the antagonist,

Mr. Mason.

The story is told by the author in the body and mind of an eight year

old. It is a first-person narration and she is playing the part of the

protagonist. The point of view remains constant throughout the story, which

gives you only the viewpoint of the author to get facts from. Although this may

be a possibly unreliable perspective, due to selective memory, the story is told

in a straightforward manner suggesting truth and honesty.

During the story the author realizes that Mr. Mason is a violent man.

This is learned through several instances, such as when he forced the mother

into a crying fit in her bedroom in the beginning of the story. He was also

violent when he threw a rock at a young boy that had wandered over to the yard

to play. These incidents forced the author to do something that she did not

relish, but deemed necessary in order to save her family from this man; since

she new her mother was planning on marrying him. She lied to her mother and

told her that Mr. Mason had hit her. At first it wasn’t believed, but when her

quiet sister Kate backed up her story, the mother sought to separate herself

from this man. The family moved to Chicago and the author never saw Mr. Mason


As was stated before, the story was believable because of the author’s

almost relenting of a story that she had kept inside for a long time. It was

almost as if she was sorry for what she had done, but felt that it was necessary

to eliminate her perceived threat, Mr. Mason. In this way the author could

almost be seen as an antagonist to Mr. Mason. They almost shifted roles, and

the author found herself with the power to hurt him. Another way that helped

the story to be believable, was the comedy relief offered by the author’s

brother’s chair crashing to the floor when the mother was telling them that she

had been baptized. It was a well timed addition to the story. I enjoyed this

story and feel that I had a connection with the author and the main character,

for I to have some devils inside.

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