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Farewell To Manzanar

A timeline about the main character, Jeanne's, life as a Japanese-American during the time of World War II.
by

Marissa Wonderly

on 31 January 2013

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Transcript of Farewell To Manzanar

by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston Farewell To Manzanar Event One Event Seven Jeanne’s father was taken away by the FBI because he was thought to be delivering oil to Japanese military ships.

“He had become a man without a country. After thirty-five years here he was still prevented by law by becoming an American citizen. He was suddenly a man with no rights who looked exactly like the enemy (pg 8).”

This quote captures what everyone is thinking. No one says it out loud, but they all know it’s the truth. Soon after her father was taken away, the rest of Jeanne’s family, and their Japanese neighbors, were forced to move to a place in the middle of a desert. This place, called Manzanar, would become home for thousands of Japanese, including Jeanne, for the next three years.

“The first thing I saw was a yellow swirl across a blurred, reddish, setting sun. This was my first look at something I would soon know very well, a billowing flurry of dust and sand churned up by the wind (pg. 19).”

This quote is perfect for this event. It is practically saying what life at Manzanar is going to be like. A storm; nothing is for certain, but everyone carries on with life. Event Two August 14, 1945. The war was finally over. On August 6 an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a city in Japan, causing the Japanese to surrender a week later. This officially closed the camp at Manzanar. You would think the Japanese being held in the camp would be celebrating, but they were only dreading the time they would have to leave the camp. The world outside of Manzanar was cruel and many people were still hostile against the Japanese. Some hated them so much they would light their houses on fire.

“...all over America people were dancing in the streets. In Manzanar I suppose there was some rejoicing too. At least we were no longer the enemy. But the atomic bombing, if anything, just sharpened our worry. (pg. 140)”

This quote is exactly what I was explaining. The end of the war marked the beginning of Jeanne’s “American” life. Event Five After leaving Manzanar, all Jeanne wanted to do was fit in and be accepted. When she finally made a friend, Radine, she started feeling like she was being accepted, but she wasn’t. For example, she was very talented at baton, but she was never chosen to represent her school because she was Japanese. Then she moved to Long Beach Polytechnic. She was a senior by the time they moved. She decided to start over and try to be accepted once more. Her classmates accepted her and elected her for the annual carnival queen, but he teachers and secretaries didn’t want a Japanese girl to win, so they tried to mess with the votes so an “American” would win.

“’They’re trying to stuff the ballot box,’ he whispered loudly ‘They’re afraid to have a Japanese girl be queen. They’ve never had one before. They’re afraid of what some of the parents will say.’ (pg. 174) ”

This shows that no matter how hard she tried, she will still be looked at as ‘that Japanese girl’ and not an American citizen. This was when she realized that she wasn’t being herself, but she wasn’t being ‘all American’ either. She didn’t know who she was anymore because she had been pretending for so long. Event Six April 1972. Almost exactly 30 years after leaving Manzanar, Jeanne, her husband, and her three children went to visit the ruins of the camp that had once been her home. While she was there she realized that this was where her life had really begun. During the years after she left Manzanar, she had lost respect for her father. By the time she was a senior, her father had completely fallen apart. Jeanne no longer believed in him, but when she visited Manzaner she suddenly regained respect for him.

“Now that smell and those voices in the wind in the orchard brought with them the sign I was waiting for: the image of a rekindled fire in Papa’s eyes. (pg. 197)”

After visiting Manzanar, Jeanne’s image of her father was of a wild and rebellious man. Not a broken, old man whom she had no respect for. While she lived at Manzanar she was too young to understand his small acts of rebellion, but thirty years later she remembered every single one. After almost a year in Manzanar, Jeanne’s father returned from Fort Lincoln, where all the “traitors” went to be interrogated. When he returned, Jeanne thought he looked ten years older. She also seemed to feel more distant from him and she didn’t know how to react to his return.

“He had been gone nine months. He had aged ten years. He looked over sixty, gaunt, wilted as his shirt, underweight, leaning on that cane… (pg. 46)”

I liked this quote because it describes her father and shows the reader how much he has changed. That is one of the reasons why Jeanne feels more distant from him; because he has changed so much. She didn’t know if he was still the same person or if his time at Fort Lincoln had broken him and made him different. Event Three Jeanne’s oldest brother, Woody, signed the Loyalty Oath and left to join the U.S. military. Woody, and many others, were practically forced to sign it to prove their allegiance to America and that they are no longer loyal to Japan.

“His unit was called up in November. We all went down to see them off at the main gate- nineteen young men in their teens and twenties….like Woody, wearing overcoats and neck scarves against the cold… Then we watched Woody join the shuffling line and climb aboard. (pg. 123)”

This quote shows how quickly he was gone and they knew he might never come back. That was the price he had to pay to prove to America that he deserved to have freedoms. Event Four Loyalty Oath Definition: An oath that all Japanese people living in America had to sign. If they signed it than it proved that they were loyal to America and not Japan. Weather at Manzanar In the summer, the sun was scorching and dust storms occurred frequently. In winter, the snow and dust storms were harsh and freezing. Life at Manzanar Everyone lived in small huts made of wood. Most of the huts had holes in them so when people woke up they were covered in sand. When it was mealtime thousands of people lined up to get their overcooked meals. Why Was This Book Written? Why did the author write this book? I think the author wrote this book to show that life goes. Ever since Jeanne lived at Manzanar she had a shameful feeling of being held in a camp for something she did. In the end of the book she says, "I had nearly outgrown the shame and the guilt and the unworthiness." Also, Manzanar, which used to hold her in like a cage, was nothing but crumbling ruins thirty years later. What Have I Learned? a. America's actions don't always line up with what they represent.

b. Life goes on.

c. You can't change who you are, and if you try, you won't be able to recognize yourself. American or Not? The Move to Manzanar A Family Reunited Proving Their Loyalty The End of the War. The Beginning of a New Life. Trying to Fit In Revisiting the Past http://iliketowastemytime.com/2013/01/21/intense-sand-storms-in-photos-10-pics http://campfire.andycamper.com/the-abcs-of-outdoor-activities-u http://burlingtonintegratedpreschool.blogspot.com/2011/01/blog-post.html http://www.thepilot.com/news/2012/aug/05/local-pilot-made-call-ended-world-war-ii/ http://specialedonthebellcurve.wordpress.com/category/assessment/
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