In Response to Executive Order 9066
by Dwight Okita
3 Tomato seeds are mentioned twice in the poem. What do seeds make you think of? (Do they symbolize anything?) What significance do you see in the father’s statement: that where they’re going, seeds won’t grow?
In my opinion, seeds symbolize hope and determination to live. When a seed started to germinate or sprout, it is the beginning of a new life. A new seed that is sprouting and starting to live on the ground is a symbol of happiness and freedom. Besides that, a plant or a tree produces oxygen gas that is vital for human to survive. It is a sign that people can live happily and there is new hope and chance for people who are migrating to a foreign region or still new to a place.
When the father said, ‘where we’re going they won’t grow’, it is one of the father’s way to say that it is hard to survive in the place that they are going – the relocation camp. The camps were far from main cities and the facilities there are not fully equipped. The U.S. internment camps were overcrowded and provided poor living conditions. Apart from that, the camps were never intended to be the long-term evacuation camps that they eventually became, and so no real budget or plan was set aside by the United States of America’s government for the camp educational facilities. Camp schoolhouses were crowded, with insufficient materials, books, notebooks, and desks.
When little Ozawa gave her friend, Denise a packet of tomato seeds; the seeds represent the love that she have for her friend. This true friendship is packed and delivered by Ozawa to Denise in the phrase ‘tomato seeds’. The phrase ‘told her when the first tomato ripens to miss me’, simply reminds Denise to not forget her even though she is far away at the relocation camp. Even though Denise suspected her of becoming the spies for the Japanese government, Ozawa still love and care for her friend and hoping their friendship would last forever.