Life Experiences In Farewell To Manzanar

This essay has a total of 1189 words and 5 pages.

Life Experiences In Farewell To Manzanar


Life Experiences in Farewell to Manzanar





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 Executive Order 9066, 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 pleased1. Since the West Coast had a large number
of Japanese immigrants at the time, it 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
famous Nazi interment camps of World War 2. The residents enjoyed relatively comfortable
living situations compared to German interment camps, and lived fairly comfortable lives,
when compared to the German camps. However, it was still rough, as many families were
separated. Farewell to Manzanar is the story of one girl making the difficult transition
to womanhood, at a difficult time, at a difficult location. Two of the main life lessons
that Jeannie learned during her stay at Manzanar dealt with the issues of her identity of
an American against her Japanese heritage, and also with school.


During her time at Manzanar, Jeannie was surrounded by almost exclusively Japanese people,
and did not have much exposure to Caucasians, or people of other races. Therefore, she did
not know what to truly expect when she went out into the "school world" outside of
Manzanar. She had received some schooling while in Manzanar, however, the American schools
were drastically different from the schools inside of Manzanar. While inside Manzanar,
Jeannie learned more skills in the fine arts, such as baton twirling, and ballet. The
"hard" subjects were taught, but she doesn't mention as much about them as she does about
baton twirling, ballet, and Catechesis. The schools at Manzanar were not much until the
second year. The first year, volunteers taught the schools, and resources were pretty
scarce.1 However, in the second year, teachers were hired, and the number of available
supplies increased. One key thing that Jeannie remembers about her Manzanar schooling was
her participation in the yearbook, and also with the Glee Club1. The Glee Club gave her a
sense of belonging, which is crucial to girls at her age. The psychological scars that the
interment process left on Jeannie often left her feeling like she didn't belong with the
crowds, or with the other children. 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 shows how she was eager
to be a part of mainstream American cultures, even though she may not have been welcome.

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