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Racially Discrimination in Novel "Farewell to Manzanar"

Categories: Farewell To Manzanar

In the novel Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki, she writes about living in an internment camp during World War II, known as Manzanar. It was written with the help of her husband and it reflects on her past with the difficulty of self-discovery and growing up in a racially discriminated environment because of the attack on the Pearl Harbor. It all started when Pearl Harbor was bombed, Jeanne and her family were sent to a camp and her father was sent to jail because of suspicion.

Once they were all settled and felt comfortable at the camp, they were released by the government because the government cannot detain citizens against their will. Now jeanne is starting school, trying to gain acceptance, but no matter how hard life became she never allowed it to get to her. She always tried to make friends but even though she was rejected. She just moved on. Through the story of Farewell to Manzanar, we learn that you should always be yourself instead of trying to be someone your not, so people can like you.

Young and not yet attentive to the Americanized way of hate, Jeanne and her family get sent to an internal camp for safety. In the opening scene, Jeanne’s father was boarding one of the two big ships with other fisherman. Jeanne and her family stand on wharf to waive goodbye to Papa until the boats disappeared. Moments later, Jeanne sees the boats returning, the pearl harbor has been attacked everyone screamed.

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That night, Jeanne’s father burned his hiroshima flag, papers, and documents and anything that related to japan. Next morning, jeanne’s father was sent to jail because he was ruled as an illegal alien. They were sent a refugee camp in Manzanar, a place where japanese families were sent to live. Jeanne was terrified “ It was the first time I had lived among other japanese, or gone to school with them, and I was terrified all the time.” Being a child, Jeanne didn’t really know what was going on, she looked at it like an adventure, since she had never been out of Los Angeles. With her family working and jeanne playing outside all day, the family was kept together by an effort by jeanne and her mother.

After her father’s release and being free from the Manzanar camp, Jeanne is now 10 years old, trying to restore herself back in the american society. Starting school was hard for her, she started to notice that Americans very discriminate toward japanese people. “ I remember the way kiyo and I responded to a little incident soon after we got out of camp. We were sitting on a bus stop bench in Long Beach, when an old, embittered women stopped and said “why don’t all you dirty japs go back to japan!” She spit at us and passed on.” Jeanne had a difficult time trying to gain acceptance back from Americans.

Jeanne is having trouble adapting to an American society and finding a place to fit and the person she is insecurity is what makes her feel so inferior to others in her community. Jeanne had a difullct time to know who she really was, instead of being herself, she was always acting like someone she isn’t. She tries to make friends but that a barrier between her friends at school and her friends at home. For example Jeane makes a friend named radine but she is not allowed to see her outside of school because her parents don’t allow Japanese in their household. This always gave jeanne a hard time. She started to hate her school so much that she moved away and went to school in San Jose.

Jeanne’s mother, Rigu, played as a strong mentor for Jeanne, she kept the family together when things were falling apart and she was the kind of mother that will do anything for her family. Whenever Jeanne needed guidance, she was always there to provide for her. For example, even when jeanne and her dad were arguing about her position as the carnival queen, her mom was there to convince her father to let take the position. Jeanne’s mother always reminded her to never listen what people have to say about her and to always accept they way you are.

Despite all the challenges she had to overcome like living behind barbed wires, racism, and the difficulty of self discovery, Jeanne succeed in life and became the first out of her family to graduate college and was also the first to marry someone that is non-japanese. Until this day, Jeanne rarely talks about the camp, and some experiences she had still remain a secret. I can’t say that i know what it’s like to be in a camp surrounded by barbed wires but i can relate how she views life, when something goes completely wrong, I’m the type to fight through just like how she did.

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Racially Discrimination in Novel "Farewell to Manzanar". (2021, Mar 03). Retrieved from

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