Manzanar Experiences in life can change us forever. If you were in a fire at some point in life, you would be scared of fire or cautious around it. It would change you. Pearl Harbor got bombed on December 7, 1941. After that, the U.S. took horrible and drastic measures. They gathered all Japanese-Americans and put them in internment camps, One of those camps was Manzanar, the place the Wakatsuki family briefly called home. Being in Manzanar changed the Wakatsuki familyl Whether for the better or worse, their whole experience in the camp affected their life from there on out.
No matter how hard they tried to stay the same, some Changes were inevitable. Little things changed first. Their eating habits were some of the first to be affected. In Jeanne Wakatsuki’s Farewell to Manzanar memoir, she states that the changes “began in the mess hall”, Not only was the food different, but the time and place.
Before Manzanar, they would gather around the table and eat together as a family Jeanne remembers that “mealtime had always been the center of [their] family scene”.
Dinner was something that brought them together, but in Manzanar they drifted apart. They would eat at separate tables and even different mess halls to eat with their friends, They “stopped eating as a family” and they couldn’t stop it. It inevitably changed the Wakatsuki family. Minuscule things like mealtime were only the beginning of horrible changes to come, After Papa’s ordeal with the government, he became sad and bitten Over time in Manzanar, Papa deteriorated.
He became violent and with every passing day he got worse. Papa was a “dark, bitter, brooding presence”, as Jeanne recalls. He became a drunk, concocting his own wine or brandy with things he made Mama bring from the mess hall.
Prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Papa was happy and occupied with his jobs and hobbies, He didn’t get much of a chance to be sour and violent. With all the problems after Pearl Harbor and with nothing to occupy himself with, he changed, He was a changed person affected by the hardships of internment. The Wakatsuki family was happy and carefree. They weren’t concerned for their life on a daily basis In Manzanar, they were in constant fear of being hurt The family, especially the younger ones, now understand the dark side of the world, They are exposed to malice and will never view life the same. While the effect was mostly negative, they now treasure life more than before after it was threatened. Manzanar had mentally changed them, Few argue that after Manzanar, the interned families could go back to the way their life was before, and that they did try to While that may be true, not many succeeded in bringing their life back. To add to that, they may be able to go back to their schedule, but they will always be emotionally changed. Knowledge they unfortunately gained at Manzanar can’t be given back, It will stay with them forever, their view of the world changed. No matter how hard they try to be the same as before, they can’t change the subconscious effects on them. Manzanar changed them, even if they try to go back. Claiming otherwise would be invalid. Whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or any other, Manzanar affected the Wakatsuki family. Their habits changed, as did their behavior and outlook on life. While it’s not a pleasant thing, they are different coming out of Manzanar than they were going in.