In the book Farewell to Manzanar the theme of the book is dashed dreams and failed hope of Japanese Americans during World War II. When Japan attacked the United States, they woke a beast. But that beast also began looking at everyone with a heritage of Japan to be a supporter to Japan plan of attack. They assumed that these people would immediately begin providing information from the US and that they would begin fighting the war from their homes in the United States.
“With no regular school to attend and no home to spend time in … They passed out candy. But what kept me coming back, once I started, were the tales of the unfortunate women like Saint Agatha, whose breasts were cut off when she refused to renounce her faith.”. All things that the prisoners gave up to have the bad luck of having a heritage of a country that chose to attach the United States. She felt a connection to women like Saint Agatha, as she could not renounce her heritage of Japanese.
Farewell to Manzanar is a tale of family first and how they deal with Otherness. Looking Japanese, but living in America and feeling like you do not fit in.“To this day I have a recurring dream … I see a young, beautiful blond and blue-eyed high school girl … much admired by everyone … Watching, I am simply emptied, and in the dream I want to cry out, because she is something I can never be,” (Farewell to Manzanar).
Hoping to find their place in America when they are released from the Internment camps is a hope and dream. But knowing you are being punished because you do not look like a majority of the population is a tragic experience. One experience that haunted her for years, as she would never be like anyone else, always an outsider.
Farewell to Manzanar is a memoir of dashed dreams and failed hope, this can also be found in the article, “ One Man Seeks Justice “ Fred Korematsu spent 2 and half months in prison for refusing to go to a internment camp. After that time in jail, Fred Korematsu was released when the group BESIG paid his $5,000 bail. The moment Korematsu and the group stepped outside of the courthouse into the sunshine, the military authorities handcuffed him and took him to the Tanforan Assembly Center. Korematsu’s hopes of being free and going back to a normal life was taken away before he could enjoy the moments of freedom. Fred appealed the ruling in 1944, but it was upheld by the Supreme Court 6-3. When President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, giving the military untold power to handle national security of the West Coast during WWII, did untold harm onto it citizens who were abused regardless of having committed a crime or not. “I As happens many times during war, important things are hidden if it is thought to protect the greater good. It was thought by creating the internment camps and keeping locked in them longer than was necessary was for the greater good of the people and war.
You can see a similar theme in the poem. That Damned Fence. “ With machine gun nests just over there, And sentries and soldiers everywhere”. The prisoners are sharing the hopelessness of escaping. The thought of being shot the moment anyone things about escaping. “That DAMNED FENCE is driving us crazy, Destroying our youth and making us lazy.” The prisoners are starting to feel hopeless, they feel of not working and having loss everything they had prior to being imprisoned. The children not understand a hard days work and what the benefits are for it. “We know we’re punished–though we’ve committed no crime, Our thoughts are gloomy and enthusiasm damp,” The Japanese Americans know that they are being locked up for something that they have now control over and they are not citizens of the country that bombed Pearl Harbor, but because their heritage was Japan they are paying the highest price. “To fight for our country, and die, perhaps; But we’re here because we happen to be Japs.”
Again the writer was reiterating that although their heritage was Japan, they were American citizens and they were willing to fight for the freedoms and rights that they come to America for. But in typical American fashion, we passed judgement without due cause. In the video the Japanese Americans are expressing their loyalty to the country of the United States by still fighting in the war while President Teddy Roosevelt put in a new law called “Executive Order 9066”. The law was repealed eight months before Japan surrender in World War II. The families from the internment camps were sent home to there ruins and 43 YEARS later the US paid the Japanese American survivors a total of $1.6 Billion for their home ruins. What was seen as a necessary act by one President was deemed no longer needed to its Japanese American citizens by another. To bad it took them so long to do right by the people that suffered through this.