A Reflection of the Memoir, Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki

In life, it often happens that one’s growth is intertwined with a person close to them; we mature together not apart, with many influences we sometimes are completely unaware of, One of the most prominent influences is our heritage; even the most independent and rebellious of us are never free of it These ideas resurface in literature and quotes tied to the most varied forms. They are exemplified in the words ofAlice Walker: “In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.

” In the memoir, Farewell to Munzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki, chronicling her experiences in World War II stricken America, Jeannie’s father’s experiences are reflected on almost as much as her own.

Papa’s strong connection to his past and heritage shaped the way that Jeanne would look at her future Papa is a loyal American citizen, but felt equal loyalty to Japanese culture. Throughout the book, both Papa and Jeanne come understand what their culture means to them In her childhood, Jeanne, who was born and raised in America tried to push her heritage away in order to fit in with her white counterparts.

While Papa saw the culture as a guide, Jeanne saw it as an oppressor, Later, reflecting on this as an adult, she admitted that on many instances Papa was right In her years in and immediately following Manzanar, however, this divide in opinions was what caused the rift between them, Take, for instance, the incident with the baptism. Swept up in the trend of Christianity, Jeanne decided that she wanted to get baptized Papa strongly opposed this, saying that her decisions would interfere with her interaction and connections within Japanese culture When Papa denied her baptism, Jeanne says (page 84-85) “Iran back to my bunk, devastated…l just hated Papa for weeks and dreamt of the white-gowned princess I might have become…He was right, of course…Years later, I silently thanked him for forcing me to postpone such decisions until I was old enough to think for myself, But at the time it was Unforgivable.

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” This shows both the cultural divide between them and the worlds they have spun around themselves. Jeanne describes her father as a figure of power throughout the entire book.

Another example of Papa’s influence on her comes earlier, provoked by his absence rather then presence. It comes when he returns from Port Lincoln, and instead of being overjoyed or at the very least procuring a positive reaction, she begins to weep, She ends Chapter 5 with the words. “I hugged him tighter, waiting to be happy that my father had come back. Yet I hurt so inside, I could only welcome him with convulsive tears,” Her entire life, Papa was the first and foremost power in her life. When a new and greater power – the government – removed him, Jeanne was left with a void. From the outside, it was quickly filled with uncertainty about the future and hatred of her race, To counter this, Jeanne has to create a new image of power that promises safety, security, and certainty. When her father, her old image of power, returns, she realizes, at least subconsciously, exactly how much has changed, and that things will never go back to the way that they used to be, and this overwhelms her. She has as close to an existential crisis as a seven year old can have. Jeanne’s father was the chief authority in her life, and thus, what he did heavily affected her. Her opinions were based on how his affected the world around him. Like them, we all have different factors that create our personality, and we can never get rid of anything completely. Although we must look at the future, we must always remember the past.

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A Reflection of the Memoir, Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki. (2022, Jun 10). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-reflection-of-the-memoir-farewell-to-manzanar-by-jeanne-wakatsuki/

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