ELA 10B Equality Mr. Germann
“It Can’t Be Helped”
By Barry Broadfoot
1. Read aloud the italicized paragraph. Discuss:
a. Why did the Canadian Government consider Japanese-Canadians to
be “enemy aliens” during World War II?
b. What does the phrase “stripped of their rights” mean?
c. Is it unusual to place civilians in wartime internment camps?
Reading – Silently read story.
Respond to the following questions in full answers.
1. What part of the selection aroused strong feelings in you? What were those
2. Why do you think the fourteen-year-old narrator couldn’t accept the idea
that what happened was due to Fate (shikata-ga-nai)?
3. At the end the narrator says: “It could have been helped. We were not
cattle. We were human beings, Canadians, and I still say to hell with their
shikata-ga-nai. Whom is he most angry with the Canadian government or
his fellow Japanese Canadians? Both? Why? What do you think he would
have liked to do to stop the government in its tracks?
4. Do you think the narrator was proud of anything or anybody during the
5. How do you think the internment camp survivors should feel now? Should
they just forget about it – as though it never happened? Why or why not?
6. Do you think the Canadian government had any justification for putting
thousands of the country’s citizens in internment camps? Why or why not?
1. Imagine you and your family have been interned in a camp because it is believed that
you are enemy aliens. Furthermore, some families have been split up. Each person is
allowed to write one letter a month. Write your first letter describing your feelings to
a parent, relative or friend in another camp.