Farewell to Manzanar Essay
518 Words3 Pages
Farewell to Manzanar
Fighting a war against the oppression and persecution of a people, how hypocritical of the American government to harass and punish those based on their heritage. Magnifying the already existing dilemma of discrimination, the bombing of Pearl Harbor introduced Japanese-Americans to the harsh and unjust treatment they were forced to confront for a lifetime to come. Wakatsuki Ko, after thirty-five years of residence in the United States, was still prevented by law from becoming an American citizen.
Denied citizenship by the United States, a man without a country, he was tormented and interrogated by the government based on this reality, labeled a “disloyal” citizen to the U.S. Severing Ko from the remainder…show more content…
Allowing as much as a carload per family and possessions, much of their property was left behind. Executive Order 9066 forced all Japanese-Americans from western states into military areas, placing disconnected and detached families into various internment camps.
Young and not yet attentive to the Americanized way of hate, Jeanne Wakatsuki, youngest daughter of Ko, did not revolt or resist the discrimination her family faced at Manzanar. Forced to live in confining and unsuitable shacks, four persons to a room, the family structure disintegrated while family members grew farther and farther apart. In these camps, privacy did not exist, solitude a scarce thing. These people were thrown into unlivable sheds in the middle of a desert. They were treated as an inferior class, one subordinate to white Americans. Disregarding the past years spent at an internment camp, the years that disassembled her family into a blur of oblivion, Jeanne chose to familiarize herself with the American way. Although forbidden U.S. citizenship, she made numerous attempts to Americanize herself, opting for such standings as Girl Scout, baton leader, Homecoming Queen. However competent and capable this young woman was, she was repeatedly denied because of her race, her appearance, her Japanese heritage
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston Essay
1168 Words5 Pages
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