Farewell to Manzanar: Essay Question #2
Jeanne’s father, Ko Wakatsuki, shows many sides of himself throughout the novel, from Pearl Harbor Day to the day he dies in 1957. Papa starts out as a typical father figure, who’s very demanding and stubborn. However, when the family moves to Manzanar, Papa becomes more of an abusive and demanding man. He even threatens and comes close to killing Mama when he was drunk, and started blaming and hitting her for things that wasn’t even her fault (68-69). Even though the boundaries and limits of Manzanar seemed quite difficult to suddenly live up to, Papa seemed to have gone through a major change since his arrest. Also, because he’s become an alcoholic at this point, Papa has also been more depressed, sensitive, and rude, almost like a child in their teens. From this immature acting alcoholic, Ko Wakatsuki becomes more of a lazy and hopeless kind of man by the time the war is over. He’s unemployed, even more broken than before, turns more to Japanese heritage, and more controlling of others. He even tries to talk Woody out of volunteering for the military (101), and tries forcing Jeanne to turn her attention more to studying rather than becoming a baptized nun (115-116). While Papa is living life very simply and seemingly carefree about himself, he becomes more concerned about others in a strange way. Throughout this whole novel, Papa goes up and down on an emotional rollercoaster as he goes through many different phases that shows up the different sides of him that have also affected his role in the family and in his community as well.
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