Jeanne Wakatsuki's Farewell to Manzanar: Personal Experiences of the Internment

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Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki, is a book chronicling the author's personal experiences before, during, and after her internment at Manzanar. Through the eyes of an innocent child, and subsequently, a teenaged Jeanne, we are able to see the cruel and heartless events that occurred to the Japanese people living in America during World War II. The book follows young Jeanne, a Japanese girl, who was taken to Manzanar, an internment camp in California. It describes life from inside the camp as well as the experience it had on her and her family. She, along with her family, were placed in a single one-room barrack in Manzanar. The smallness of the building made them have no privacy, which is an integral part of Japanese culture. Jeanne and her family lived there for close to four years, in a grubby, unsanitary, makeshift 16 x 20 room. Then, they are unceremoniously tossed back into a society that is racist and wary of the Japanese. This book not only describes Jeanne's life at Manzanar, but shows as Jeanne makes the difficult transition to womanhood, at a difficult time, in a difficult location. First, to follow the time period of the story, we began with a young Jeanne, innocent yet still tainted by a few ethnic-related encounters. Her family has been ordered to board a bus that will taken them to a new home, Manzanar. “I opened a wind, leaned out, and yelled happily, “Hey! This whole bus is full of Wakatsukis!” Jeanne's innocence is depicted in this exuberant shout. She finds it amusing that her whole bus consists of family members, and is joyful to have so many family members in one place. She is also probably excited for her 'new home', as any child would feel when they move into a new house. However, innocent child that she is, Jeanne is oblivious that the Wakatuski bus is headed to an internment camp that was created out of racism and fear. One can chillingly compare it to the internment camps of the Nazis except not as bloodthirsty and violent,...
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