Sample Essay on the life of Herbert Norman

Introduction

This study focuses on the life of Herbert Norman, who worked in the Canadian foreign department[1]. Much of his life is based on mystery and accusations of being a spy. The study highlights his background, the themes, and opinion on whether the documentary is biased or unbiased.

Background

Norman was born to Canadian missionaries in Japan[2]. He grew and went to school in Canada. After that, he was employed in the department of external affairs. In all his years, he diligently served the nation of America. However, in his later years, he is perceived to be a spy because of his background. Nothing in the treatment Herbert receives from the detectives shows of any ties with being a loyal Canadian. Herbert tried to hide his knowledge of the Japanese Marxism while being interviewed by security agency about his connections with the Japanese Communist[3]. However, he understood the working of the group all through when he was studying about the Marxist in the Harvard University. He also denied being among the Cambridge recruiters of the communists. He acquired this knowledge while studying at the Harvard University. Nevertheless, so much is left unanswered on how the detectives arrived at the conclusion that Herbert was also serving as a spy for the Soviets. His final action of committing suicide is perceived to be out of guilt over the accusations placed upon him. Other than his public life, Herbert was one of the best Japanese scholars. His writings are still useful in studying the Japanese background.

Themes

The theme of mistrust strongly appears in the documentary[4]. All along, Herbert has worked with the external affairs department. He has been publicly appreciated as a loyal diplomat and as a talented writer[5]. However, the secret agency perceives him as a spy. This is highlighted due to his mysterious background, his connection to the Japanese Communist and his study of the Marxist at Harvard University. In addition to this, Herbert fails to satisfy the public when it is realized that he has been hiding his connection with the Japanese. It is clear that Herbert must be hiding his deeds. His private life is also a mystery[6]. This raises more concern about his actions and connections with the Communists. This theme is also reviewed by the secret agencies that are used to look for spies to their enemies amongst their own. It is, therefore, factual that the American government is unable to trust the citizens.

Other themes, which are highlighted, are the themes of nationalism and unity. In all investigations, the secret service has strongly been united and focused to maintain their nationalism and protection of their people. This is the reason behind their investigation of Herbert.

Personal Opinion

There are many questions raised by the viewer of the documentary. The documentary highlights the positive side of the diplomat and the negative side of the secret agency. It is clear, therefore that the secret agencies denied the nation the chance to honor one of the loyal workers in the department of external affairs[7].  This shows the biasness of the documentary. Nevertheless, the public appreciates his literal work after his demise. The documentary highlights that the diplomat studied Japanese lifestyle in the America institution. Questions arise as to the intention of the diplomat in undertaking these studies and why the course was being offered in the esteemed Harvard University.

In the movie, it is evident that Herbert was connected to the Japanese[8]. He was brought up in Japan. Therefore, he understood the life and organization of the Japanese communists. This understanding enables him to direct many of the historians to Japanese lifestyle through his books. In addition to this, the literal work enables him acquire a position as a diplomat to Japan. This proof does not however affirm his connection to the communists. The national leadership entrusts him with the position of the communist nation despite their knowledge of his background. To assert that Herbert was a spy, further investigation ought to have been carried out into his private life to ascertain his stand.

The documentary is biased. The documentary fails to highlight the struggles of Herbert in proving himself a spy to the communists. There are eyewitnesses who give their testimonies on the life of the diplomat. However, the documentary does not iron out how the diplomat managed to leak the acquired information to the communists[9]. The secret agencies in America needed o clear out the fact that Herbert was not under the control of another spy in the department. This stand is assumed due to his quick appointments and career success irrespective of his education at Harvard University. Therefore, there is need to investigate whether there were other spies who were co-working with Herbert within the department. There are two instances to end this mystery: Eyewitnesses can come up from the communist side to reduce the mystery of the diplomat’s life. The secret agency can connect Herbert’s private life with another officer’s actions to assert that he was disloyal.

Conclusion

After watching the documentary, the reader is highlighted in the life of one of the noble citizens Americans ever had[10]. From the background of the Japanese to a life of the Americans, Herbert lived an exceptional life of devotion to what he perceived as a worthy course. Hebert should be one of the few celebrated workers. The documentary is very educative. However, it fails to give a chance for the Americans to give an alternative opinion

Bibliography

Kramer, John. “The Man Who Might Have Been an Inquiry into the Life and Death of Herbert Norman”. NFB. 98 minutes, 1998.

https://www.nfb.ca/film/man_who_might_have_been

Kramer, John. The Man Who Might Have Been an Inquiry into the Life and Death of Herbert Norman: New York Times. 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/437482/The-Man-Who-Might-Have-Been-An-Inquiry-Into-the-Life-and-Death-of-Herbert-Norman/overview

Marwitz, Peter. “Herbert Norman: An agent of the Comintern” Canadian Mysteries. 2014, 12

http://www.canadianmysteries.ca/sites/norman/aftermath/controversy/5547en.html

[1] John Kramer. “The Man Who Might Have Been an Inquiry into the Life and Death of Herbert Norman” New York Times. 2010. Page 1

http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/437482/The-Man-Who-Might-Have-Been-An-Inquiry-Into-the-Life-and-Death-of-Herbert-Norman/overview

[2] Ibid 3

 

[3]

[4] John Kramer. “The Man Who Might Have Been an Inquiry into the Life and Death of Herbert Norman”. NFB. 98 minutes, 1998. 46 minute

https://www.nfb.ca/film/man_who_might_have_been

[6] Peter Marwitz. “Herbert Norman: An agent of the Comintern” Canadian Mysteries. 2014, 12

http://www.canadianmysteries.ca/sites/norman/aftermath/controversy/5547en.html

 

[7] Peter Marwitz. “Herbert Norman: An agent of the Comintern” Canadian Mysteries. 2014, 6

http://www.canadianmysteries.ca/sites/norman/aftermath/controversy/5547en.html

 

[8] John Kramer. “The Man Who Might Have Been an Inquiry into the Life and Death of Herbert Norman” New York Times. 2010 page 3

http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/437482/The-Man-Who-Might-Have-Been-An-Inquiry-Into-the-Life-and-Death-of-Herbert-Norman/overview

[9] John Kramer. “The Man Who Might Have Been an Inquiry into the Life and Death of Herbert Norman” New York Times. 2010 1

http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/437482/The-Man-Who-Might-Have-Been-An-Inquiry-Into-the-Life-and-Death-of-Herbert-Norman/overview

 

[10] Peter Marwitz. “Herbert Norman: An agent of the Comintern” Canadian Mysteries. 2014, 1

http://www.canadianmysteries.ca/sites/norman/aftermath/controversy/5547en.html