That night, the night of our first day back in the world, the world from which we had earlier been sent away, we locked all the windows and doors and unrolled our blankets on the floor of the room at the foot of the stairs that looked out onto the street. Without thinking, we had sought out the room whose dimensions--long and narrow, with two windows on one end and a door at the other--most closely resembled those of the room in the barracks in the desert where we had lived during the war. Without thinking, we had configured ourselves exactly as we had in that long narrow room during the war: our mother in the far corner, away from the windows, the two of us lying head to toe along the wall on the opposite side of the room. Without thinking, we had chosen to sleep, together, in a room, with our mother, even though for more than three years we had been dreaming of the day when we could finally sleep, alone, in our own rooms, in our old house, our old white stucco house on the broad tree-lined street not far from the sea.
How Culture Works
The themes in Julie Otsuka's post-World War II novel 'When the Emperor Was Divine' are just as relevant today.