I decided to read, Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and JamesD. Houston. This book is about the Japanese internment camps that were set up inAmerica during World War II, and how it affected this particular family.
It tellsthe story of the separation of the family members, hardships, and hatred thatthey had to live with during this time period. It also helps to open our eyes to theirony of the whole situation, and how our government can contradict themselvesover some of the issues we were fighting for. The book tells the story from Jeanne Wakatsuki, the main character, pointof view, and how she and her family struggled to make it through this time periodin American History. The book is told from Jeannes own experiences in her owntown, how her peers at school treated her, and what it was like being uprootedfrom their home and being put into the Japanese internment camp of Manzanar.Order now
The book with the news of Pearl Harbor, and the reactions from theWakatsuki family. It also begins with her father being taken away for supposedlysupplying oil to Japanese submarines of the coast while he was fishing. It also goesinto some detail on how their neighbors, and people throughout their town treatedthem after the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It helps to kind of shed somelight on one particular girls point of view, and how she is confused on why peopleare being so mean to her and her family. the book also goes into some detail on howit felt to be split up from her father and how they felt like prisoners in a countryThe book also gives great detail of life in these camps. This particular bookfocused only on Manzanar, a Japanese internment camp near Mammoth.
It givesgood details on their cramped living situations, and how that there was no privacy,and how uncomfortable it was in the beginning. It describes that women used toput boxes over their heads in the restroom, so they didnt have to look at anyone,and it thought it would offer them a little privacy also. It talks about the games,activities, and chores that the children would play to pass the time also. It alsodescribed the mess hall, and the meals that they had to eat over and over. Anotherthing that really was amazing to me, is that the government tried to tell them thatthese camps were for their own protection, yet they were surrounded by barbedDuring the final chapters of this book, the author does a great job ondescribing the tough time the Japanese had returning into society.
After theJapanese were released from these camps and allowed to return to their homes,America still held a fear and hatred towards these people. She does a great jobdescribing how hard it was for her to return back into society, and how the peopleshe had known growing up looked at her, and viewed her, and all the comments andreactions that she had to listen to and take form people that she didnt even know. These camps only stopped the bleeding during the war, the after the war theirrelease was like opening the wound again. Executive Order 9066 that President Franklin Rossevelt passed, wasprobably one of America darkest moments.
Here is America, fighting a war inEurope, against a German government who has put Jews, and other minorities intosimilar camps. Grant it, these American camps were not death camps, but theymade Japanese Americans live in harsh living conditions because America wasafraid of these people. The government divided families, removed them from theirhomes and lives, and forced them to enter these camps, so that we could sleepThese camps really illustrated the type of atmosphere there was in Americaduring this time period. Most of the Japanese who were put into these camps, wereJapanese Americans, and had never been to Japan, but knew about it from whatthey had heard from others about the country and had some of the traditionspassed on to them from other generations. We segregated these people from oursociety out of fear and hate, from what had happened to Pearl Harbor. In thistime period, America had a lot going on, and were fighting a war in both the eastand west.
There was fear of a Japanese attack on the west coast, and that onlyhelped create an even more tense situation. So the natural reaction would be fear,but we grouped all Japanese into one category, and allowed our fear to play a majorrole, and not our common sense, and respect of their constitutional rights. These camps that the Japanese were put into during World War II werehorrible, and really ruined most of their lives. They will be scarred for the rest oftheir lives with images, and recollections of their time spent in these camps. Manyof these people could not return to society in America and chose to go back toJapan where they felt that they might be able to get on with their lives, and putthe times that they spent in the internment camps behind them. For those whodecided to stay here in America, they were forced to live with the hatred thatsome Americans felt towards them, and to live and work through all of theseproblems that faced them.
This was a great book, and a very informational,historical reference to a particular Japanese girl struggles during this time. Thisbook clearly illustrated one of the darkest time periods in American history, and atime that many people would like to forget, and wish had never happenedBibliography: