Houston and James D. Houston’s novel, Farewell to Manzanar (1973), discusses the
internment of Japanese-American people in a relocation camp from 1943-1945.
autobiographical work reveals, through the eyes of a Japanese American teenage
girl, her inner struggle with her identity as a person of the Japanese race
living in California during World War II. The novel explores the issues of
gender culture, and race as important ideas that help Jeanne Wakatsuki to
construct her own sense of identity and self-hood. Specifically, Farewell to
Manzanar attempts to raise some significant questions: What is the role of a
Japanese woman in the tradtional Japanese society? How does this role shift for
a second generation (Nissei) Japanese girl growing up in American? What are the
differences between the home culture and school culture? How are these
differenceS revealed within the novel through values, customs, and the
parent-child relationship? What does it mean for Jeanne to be both biLterate and
biculture in American during the 1940’s? 1970’s? How does Farewell to Manzanar
compare to The Diary of Anne Frank? We will focus on such concerns in the
framework of the social, historical, and cultural contexts of the times.