When the Emperor was Divine

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The white owner of the general store in Berkeley that the woman visits. Sympathetic to the woman’s forced relocation, he offers her candy for her children while at the same time scrubbing a stain from the cash register. Joe appears to be a stand-in for all white Americans who disagreed with the evacuation but did nothing to stop it, and thus are still symbolically “stained” by the terrible American tragedy that was Japanese-American internment.

Joe Lundy Quotes in When the Emperor was Divine

The When the Emperor was Divine quotes below are all either spoken by Joe Lundy or refer to Joe Lundy . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of When the Emperor was Divine published in 2003.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“You can pay me later,” he said. Then he began to wipe the side of the register with a rag. There was a dark stain there that would not go away.

Related Characters: Joe Lundy (speaker), The Woman
Related Symbols: Stains
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the unnamed Japanese woman goes to a store, where she buys some materials from the store's owner, Joe Lundy. The woman realizes she doesn't have money to pay, but Joe generously says she can pay him back later. The passage is symbolically loaded: Joe seems like a good, regular American guy, sympathetic to people in need. And yet he's also scrubbing a mysterious stain on his register, symbolizing the "black mark" on American history that is the Japan Internment Program. Joe might be a good man, but as a white American, he's partly responsible for (or at least complicit in) the outrage of the racist internment program.


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Joe Lundy Character Timeline in When the Emperor was Divine

The timeline below shows where the character Joe Lundy appears in When the Emperor was Divine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Evacuation Order No. 19
Racism Theme Icon
Imprisonment and Freedom  Theme Icon
Social Class and the American Dream Theme Icon
...of twine and tape to the counter to pay, but the owner of the store, Joe Lundy, says that she can pay him later. As he says this, Lundy vigorously tries to... (full context)