Farewell to Manzanar is sociologist and writer Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's first hand account of her interment in the Japanese camps during World War II. Growing up in southern California, she was the youngest of ten children living in a middle-to lower class, but comfortable life style with her large family. In the beginning of her story, she told about how her family was close, but how they drifted apart during and after their internment in the camp. The ironic part of it is that her family spent their entire time together in the same camp. So why did her family drift apart so? What was once the center of the family scene; dinner became concealed with the harsh realities of the camp. This reflects the loss of many of today's family values, and may have even set the bar for southern California's style of living today. Also, in a broader United State's historical theme, their internment reflected the still pungent racism and distrust of foreign identities, even though most of them were native-born US citizens and had never been to Japan.
Her father was a fisherman in Long Beach with her two oldest brothers working as his crew on his prideful fishing boat. The family lived in Ocean Park, a small town in Santa Monica, where they were the only Japanese family in their neighborhood. Her father liked it that way because the label of being Japanese or even Asian was trite. When the news that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Jeanne and most of her family found themselves asking the same question: " What is Pearl Harbor?" (Houston 6) When the news came, her father seemed to be the only one to understand. He proceeded to burn his country's flag that he brought to the US with him wh...
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...ng of her life, it was the end of her fathers in his fall from honor. The Japanese internment was a profound impact in history, especially California History. Manzanar being one of the first camps occupied, changed the life of many Californians living in these camps. It changed their way of life and family grace. These families that suffered from the internment are a major factor in the shaping of California and its family values we hold today. Also, on a national level, the internment was a wisdom that the United States gained. There wisdom of targeting the particular person responsible for attacks or the mistreatment of the United States. This wisdom has also truly shined in the past years during the fight on terror.
Wakatsuki Houston, Jeanne and Houston, D. James. Farewell to Manzanar. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston 1973 and 2000.
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