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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 different scenarios.

Anne Frank was a 13-year-old Jewish girl who was thrown into one of the worst periods in the history of the world; the Holocaust. Though she went through awful things that many people will never experience, she always kept the faith that there was still some good in everyone. She once said, “Despite everything I still believe people are truly good at heart.” Her diary, which she kept while her family was in hiding from the Nazis, shows the triumph of her spirit over the evil in the world even through the pain of adolescence. The Franks and Van Dans were hiding and they suffered many hardships, mentally and physically. Many people in Anne’s situation would have become bitter and resentful, but Anne never would despair.

Unlike Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel who accepts the fact that their race is causing them to suffer, Jeanne Wakatsuki in Farewell to Manzanar divulge that she often feels very intolerable and inhibited about her race. During and after World War II, there’s a very...

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...mp Elie Wiesel named his story Night, as the motif of the memoir is also “night”. “When had we left our homes? And the ghetto? And the train? Only a week ago? One night? One single night?” (37) In the camps, there was no daylight. Everyday is like nighttime. The work, lack of food and even the basics of human rights were not given to the Jews. Everyday, their lives are filled with darkness and degeneracy.

The whole world’s scared and they decide to swallow the fear. Growing up in a wartime environment isn’t easy at all. All of their lives have been mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood. Yet, Anne Frank still believed that people are good at heart. Jeanne and Elie Wiesel decided to write about their experiences, teaching others about the World War II. Their childhood and adolescence may have been taken away, but they are all still endeavoring for their future.
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