Analysis of Jeanne Wakatsuki Huston´s Farewell to Manzanar Essay
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The internment of Japanese Americans is often a part of history rarely mention in our society. One of these internment camps was Manzanar—a hastily built community in the high desert mountains of California. The sole purpose of Manzanar was to house thousands of Japanese Americans who were held captive by their own country. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston was interned at Manzanar when she was seven years old with her family. Their only crime was being of Japanese descent. In her memoir, “Farewell to Manzanar,” Mrs. Wakatsuki Houston transcribes a powerful, heart breaking account of her childhood memories and her personal meaning of Manzanar.
At the start of the book, we are introduced to a young Jeanne Wakatsuki. Out of ten children, she…show more content… The return of the patriarch further separates the family. His time at the detention camp has sent him in a downward spiral. He drinks heavily and is abusive towards Jeanne’s mother. In one of his abusive rages, Ko nearly strikes Mama but Kiyo, his son, punches him in the face. This scene displays the loss of respect for Ko as the patriarch of his family.
Many other men in the camp have frustrations like Ko. Jeanne writes about the December Riot. As a young child, she was sheltered from the riot itself but describes the situation and atmosphere of the camp. She mentioned the rioters searching the camp for traitors and the military police trying to put an end to it. Soon after the riot, the Loyalty Oath, which was designed to separate the internees into loyal Japanese and potential enemies, was introduced to the camp. Jeanne talks about the debate that occurred between her father and brother over the Oath. They both agreed they should say “yes” but worried about having the sons drafted.
After the riots, the Wakatsuki family moves to a nicer barracks by the hospital. They got to move because of Mama’s job as a dietician. Jeanne and her siblings attend school. Manzanar begins to resemble an American small town. Jeanne explores a variety of hobbies. She explores baton twirling, Japanese dance, ballet, and catechism. With her interest in “American” past times, Jeanne and her father drift farther apart.
In 1944, the population of Manzanar begins to dwindle