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Working from nonfiction data, Jeanne and James Houston recreate nonjudgmental pictures of California citizens terrorized by an enemy attack on the Hawaiian islands. A serious theme imbedded in the furor and insecurity resulting from the bombing of Pearl Harbor consists of three questions: A vast number of internees have relatives and ties with Japan.
Farewell to Manzanar is Jeanne Wakatsuki's memories of her experiences at Manzanar an interment camp for Japanese and Japanese-Americans in Owens Valley.
During Word War II Japanese-Americans were relocated in Manzanar for their own protection but as the people in Manzanar said "if this is for our protection then why do they surround us in barb wire fences" they relocated Japanese-Americans because President Roosevelt singed a order which authorizes the War Department to remove people considered to be threats to national security.
Mama, who was intended as the bride of a farmer, exacerbates his autocratic streak by eloping with him and raising children remarkably similar to their parents in individuality.
Jeanne, no less a challenge to Ko's authority than Woody or Kiyo, cultivates friendship with Radine, the stereotypical blond, flirtatious all-American miss who flourished in the 1940s.
Against the backdrop of incarceration, separation from father and, later, brothers and sisters, and enrollment in a school where the teacher pointedly ignores her, Jeanne experiences the usual insecurities and challenges that mold young children into sturdy adults.
Resilience and self-sufficiency, both major factors in her success, inspire numerous methods of passing time, coping with deprivation, and learning to live in crowded conditions with a severely dysfunctional family.
Content with Asian features, Jeanne comments, "I never wanted to change my face or to be someone other than myself.
What I wanted was the kind of acceptance that seemed to come so easily to Radine." The only route to an acceptable level of social acceptance was through defiance of Ko and emulation of Radine.
Her role models reveal incremental steps toward assimilation.
Granny, who speaks no English, treasures Japanese valuables.