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Ken had someone else in whom he saw the sun in following his mother's death while he was young. Ken met a lovely lady called Claudia. Claudia was his only trusted friend after his mother died and also after he lost contact with koa. Although Claudia was not the best role model for ken to have, she was the only person whom he was very close to at that particular point in time and confided to. Ken even once stated that they would share their past experiences when they are naked in bed and he would tell her of his mother, father, koa and his childhood years.
Claudia reopened ken's past wounds of the past grievances that he had past through and taught him how to love once again. His love for people had been distorted but being with Claudia changed this and provided him with motivation to live and love again. He said himself at one point that Claudia gave him something to live for. Ken, a main character, is being tattooed on his back. It is while being tattooed that he starts telling his life story to Cal who is tattooing him. The novel may be named 'Tattoo' because the inmates that the book talks about tattoo themselves. They do so with signatures which represent main things that are related to them in their lives.
Furthermore, Ken's tattoo is SYN. It represents the years during his childhood and teenage, how he grew up, and violence. On the other hand, Cal is a racist tattoo artist who depicts himself as an individual operating on his own terms. His way of doing his tattoo art made the other inmates slit his throat making him mute. Although the exercise was tragic, its good side is the confidentiality that it ensued between Cal and the other inmates. Perhaps this is the reason as to why Ken was very comfortably telling him his story because he knew that it would not get to other people very easily (Beeler, 2006).
Ken's love for women became one of the downfalls that his life faced after he migrated from his country into town. He loved a daughter of a very powerful woman. They spent time in bars and nightclubs introducing him to the negative time of town that seemed to wait him. The relationship which was complicated drove him to drinking, drugs and prostitution. The girl wanted him to change, but it became very difficult. Ken's life became particularly interesting and seemed so real, a fact that enables a reader to get mental pictures and want to experience more by reading the book.
It was this life that Ken leads which led him get into criminal activities by joining gang groups that were existent in the neighborhood. The surrounding he was in, together with the friends he associated with, made it easy for him to join the gangs easily. Ken used to hang out with native Hawaiian gangs and was slowly drawn into them until he became a member. He used to hang out in Hawaiian and Korean strip clubs and massage parlors. He did this while he was still young. Ken did not have a mother role model who could help him with disciplinary matters. In addition to this was the spirit he had which the author compares it with that of samurai which gave him determination of not being afraid.
According to McKinney, racism is an aspect that cannot be ignored as seen in the novel The Tattoo. This is a factor that is extremely showcased in the novel. There is racism that can be seen from Ken's friends, in his own family and at the correctional facility where he gets himself as a result of his engagement in illegal gangs and crime. There are many aspects that are attached to Ken's life that can be related to mine in many ways. In my life, I have seen and experienced numerous instances of racism. I have also had a chance to live in an area in which racism existed. It was not a pleasant experience. I have had the chance to be with and live in the midst of a people with a culture that was different from mine.
People tend to practice favoritism on everything that comes on their way ranging from resource allocations to job opportunities. People want to share with others of their own race first even when you are a friend. As long as I was of a different race, I always came second mostly when there is something to be shared.