Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston Essay

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The book, Farewell to Manzanar was the story of a young Japanese girl coming of age in the interment camp located in Owens Valley, California. Less than two months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed an Executive Order, which stated that the War Department had the right to declare which people were a threat to the country, and move them wherever they so pleased. Since the West Coast had a large number of Japanese immigrants at the time, the Executive Order was basically an act that authorized the government to remove Japanese residing on the West Coast away from their homes and put them in these interment camps. As harsh as it may sound, the interment camps were nothing like the infamous Nazi interment camps…show more content…
Even more shocking was the fact that she accepted these feelings as perfectly normal. Also distinct about her schooling at Manzanar was the fact that she felt very prepared to enter American schools. This showed how eager Jeannie was to be a part of mainstream American cultures, even though she may not have been welcomed. Jeannie’s experience in American schools was drastically different from her experience at Manzanar. She had problems making friends because the parents of the other children would not allow their children to befriend a Japanese girl. For Jeannie, the first thing an American girl said to her, “Gee, I didn’t know you spoke English” defined people’s attitudes toward her and other Japanese people at that time in history. However, most of the other children slowly accepted her, regardless of her race. On the opposite end of the spectrum, most of the parents and some of the teachers were very unreceptive to Jeannie for the simple fact that she was Japanese. This fact very much disappointed her, and she directly stated that when she said “From that point on, part of me yearned to be invisible. In a way, nothing would have been nicer for no one to see me.” However, she was not excluded from all activities, as she was an active participant in athletics, scholarship, yearbook, newspaper, and student government. Her
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