The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun is Also a Star

by

Nicola Yoon

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The Sun is Also a Star: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Natasha finally approaches the receptionist, she's late. The receptionist insists that Natasha will have to come back, even when Natasha desperately explains that Irene held her up. The receptionist refuses to call Natasha's case officer, even when she begs. Before a security guard can approach her, a tall black man agrees to take Natasha. He introduces himself as Lester Barnes and insists he can learn everything he needs to from her folder.
The emotionless nature of those who work in the USCIS building (at least as far as Natasha's perception is concerned) casts the US immigration system as cold and unfeeling—much the way that Natasha insists she wants to be. The immigration system, then, suggests that Natasha's way of moving through the world isn't the "right" way.
Themes
Immigration and the American Dream Theme Icon
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Natasha studies Mr. Barnes's desk as he looks through her folder. She grabs a business card and wonders if all the files are color-coded. After a minute, Mr. Barnes asks Natasha why she's here. She explains that her caseworker asked her to come back, but Mr. Barnes unemotionally informs her that the deportation will stand and pushes a box of tissues towards her. Natasha tells the reader she didn't cry when her dad told her about the deportation or when she found out that her ex-boyfriend, Rob, was cheating on her.
What bothers Natasha about Mr. Barnes is his adherence to rules and regulations, along with his dismissal of emotion— the reader will soon learn that, ironically, these are the very things Natasha prizes. Once again, this implies that Natasha will have to change her way of thinking, especially since these cold and emotionless people are, thus far, wholly unhelpful.
Themes
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Natasha steels herself to not cry as she heads for the door. She turns around and in a small voice, asks if she's really going to have to leave. Mr. Barnes begins to say something about Samuel's DUI, and Natasha asks why she has to pay for her dad's mistake. Mr. Barnes insists that Natasha is still in the US illegally and mentions that he's been to Jamaica. He says that it's beautiful, and everything is "irie" there.
When Natasha connects her dad's DUI to this chain of events, it shows that all of these things are connected—and that such connectedness is not always a good thing. Mr. Barnes uses a Jamaican-English term, “irie,” to explain that Jamaica is a nice, pleasant place.
Themes
Interconnectedness and Destiny Theme Icon
Natasha thinks that she's been angry since the beginning of time—at Samuel, at Rob for insisting that they should still be friends, and at Bev for being so concerned about frivolous things. Mr. Barnes using "irie" is the last straw. She takes off her headphones and asks him about his vacation. He never left the resort because his wife didn't want to. Natasha asks if his wife was concerned about safety or poor people. She says that someone probably gave Mr. Barnes some marijuana and told him what "irie" means, but Natasha insists that that's not a country.
Mr. Barnes' attempt to connect with Natasha backfires because his experience of "connection" was actually less a connecting experience and more of an isolating one. Resorts like the one Mr. Barnes probably stayed at give visitors a very narrow, inauthentic slice of Jamaican life. Such resorts promote themselves as authentic to local culture, though they're often highly curated and leave out important—and sometimes unsavory—parts of local culture.
Themes
Immigration and the American Dream Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Connection Theme Icon
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Natasha asks what she's supposed to do in Jamaica, where she knows no one, doesn't have an accent, and already has a life in the US. She tells the reader that now, she even has a "good" fake social security card that'll allow her to apply for college and financial aid. She asks Mr. Barnes what she's supposed to do for college and accepts his offer of tissues. Finally, Mr. Barnes asks her to wait.
Natasha doesn't necessarily dislike Jamaica—she just identifies far more with her American identity than her Jamaican one. Notice too that she's trying hard to close herself off to her Jamaican roots, even though she clearly still has them, perhaps as a protective measure.
Themes
Immigration and the American Dream Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Connection Theme Icon