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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores Jack London’s last unfinished novel Cherry. It is read in the context of increasing tensions between the Japanese empire and the United States and Hawaii’s progression toward statehood reflecting local concerns over the large island minority of Japanese ethnicity and regressive local plantation labor laws. Cherry skillfully captures the tensions in prestatehood Hawaiian society and its dilemmas, while simultaneously exploring the nature of European-style colonialism and looking at the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and the Japanese empire in the Pacific. This essay also examines various themes of race, class, and US social discourses relevant to the period and the novel while warning against the problems with biographical readings and speculations over an author’s intent.

Keywords: Cherry, Hawaii, Japan, United States, race, class, empire

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