Coming of Age in a Wartime Environment

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Growing up in a wartime environment affects the identities, confidence and adolescence process for many people. In the books, The Diary of A Young Girl, Farewell to Manzanar, and Night, World War II accelerates Anne’s, Jeanne’s and Elie’s precious maturity and coming of age process. World War II, the Nazis and their identity of being Jewish forces Anne and Elie to grow up and mature much sooner than expected. For Jeanne Wakatsuki, World War II have a negative impact on Jeanne’s confidence and she starts to lose respect towards her Japanese heritage. All three of them are struggling to find out who they truly are. Anne Frank, Jeanne Wakatsuki and Elie Wiesel all are greatly affected by the war, but in different milieus and in…show more content…
Instead, she tries the “American activities” such as baton twirling, aspiring to be accepted. Jeanne rather be an American, a race that everyone in America accepts. “I still had a Japanese father to frighten my boyfriends and a Japanese face to thwart my social goals.” (89)To Jeanne, Japanese, is not just a race that put her in prison but something that also hinders her from the goals that she always wanted to achieve. She wants to be accepted and live like any normal American. Jeanne doesn’t want to be someone that everyone likes, but no one, especially Jeanne, wants to be outlawed. Through her adolescence, Jeanne is ashamed of being Japanese. At Jeanne’s award dinner/ ceremony, her father mortify her, by creating a perceptible array between her and the other families. “He was unforgivably a foreigner then, foreign to them, foreign to me, foreign to everyone, foreign to everyone but Mama, who sat next to him smiling, with pleased modesty. Twelve years old at the time, I wanted to scream. I wanted to slide out of sign under the table and dissolve.” (168) Jeanne wants to be out of sight because she is so humiliated by Papa’s traditional Japanese bow. Despite the fact that Jeanne hates being Japanese, she confesses that she “had nearly outgrown the shame and the guilt and the sense of unworthiness.” (195) Before, she aspires to be accepted, but she later figures out that not everyone will accept one another. Jeanne wasn’t able
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