Pearl Harbor, By Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

1598 WordsMar 23, 20177 Pages
On December 7th, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan and in response, the United States entered World War II. Suddenly Japanese-Americans were a threat and internment camps, such as Manzanar, were created to detain them. They would now face indignities and prejudice because of their heritage. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston grew up behind barbed wire fences and shares her experience at Manzanar in her novel Farewell to Manzanar, revealing what it meant to be someone affected by the exclusion acts. In this coming-of-age tale, Houston struggles with the difficulty of self-discovery and the harsh reality of being a Japanese American during World War II. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston was only seven years old when her father was arrested and her…show more content…
After a year, her father arrived at the camp and Houston began to see the camp for what it really was, her birthplace (Houston, 47). The camp had been the end for her father, but for her, it had been the place where life truly began. She had entered the camp as a child, eyes closed but as the years passed, her eyes could no longer stay shut. Manzanar forced Houston into a lifestyle where she was no longer carefree but instead aware of the world around her (Houston, 40). Her ‘awakening’ was sparked by her father’s return from Fort Jackson. Her papa had always presented himself as a great man, buying expensive clothing and always chasing a dream. When he returned from the Fort, Houston saw him for who he truly was, not who he presented himself to be. “He wasn’t a great man. He wasn’t even a very successful man. He was a poser, a braggart, and a tyrant (Houston, 58).” Manzanar kept adults busy and the children had no choice but to become independent individuals. The camp enlightened Houston and the other kids to the real world and what had become of it. Houston’s next change came after her family had moved to Cabrillo Homes in West Long Beach, California. “It looked like a half-finished and under maintained Army base (Houston, 153).” It wasn’t like Houston’s house had been in Ocean View, but it was outside the barbed wire walls of Manzanar and allowed freedom and privacy. Here she began to build a new routine and introduce some normalcy back into her
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