Farewell To Manzanar: Research Paper Essay, Research Paper
Farewell to Manzanar Research Paper
Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatuski Houston, is a book about the author?s personal experience before, during, and after her internment at Manzanar. This research paper will provide a brief description of the publication of the book, a brief synopsis of the novel, and give a critical evaluation of the novel.
The San Francisco Book Company first published this book in San Francisco, in October 1973, nearly thirty years after the author?s experience. Condensations by Newsday Magazine were published in January of 1974. The new Bantam edition was then published in November of 1974. This was Jeanne Wakatuski?s first publication, and her co-writer for the book was her husband James D. Houston. She and her husband have since gone on to write many other books together such as, Between Battles and A Native Son of the Golden West.
The book Farewell to Manzanar is about Jeanne, a Japanese girl, who was taken to Manzanar an internment camp in California. It describes the affects the experience had on her and her family. ?She describes its devastating effects on her family, friends and herself.? (The New York Times Bk. Reviews, pg. 31) Her mother, Granny, and family members were placed in a single one-room barrack at Manzanar. They lived there for close to four years, in a place described as, ?a crowed, makeshift, unsanitary, degrading camp that not only destroyed her families pride, she says, but broke the vital link with the past that had kept the family together and preserved a sense of Japanese culture even in California.? (New York Time Bk. Review, Pg.31) After Jeanne and her family were freed from the interment camp, Jeanne Wakatuski goes on to describe how the family had no place to live. She and her family went to live in a ghetto town called Cabrillo Homes, a housing project in West Long Beach, where many Japanese families were forced to live after they were freed from the internment camp. Then she continued her high school. The last move Jeanne made with her family was when her father decided to make one last effort at making a business. The whole family moved to a farm. This is where her father and mother lived and worked until their deaths in the book. Jeanne becomes the first member in her family to go to college, and marry out of her race. She had two children and continued to live in California. Her story ends by telling how she took her children to visit the internment camp where she had lived as a child.
One of the first publication companies to evaluate this book was The New Yorker on November 5, 1973. The New Yorker writes that, ?In this book a particularly ignominious chapter in our history is recounted with chilling simplicity by an internee.? (New Yorker, p.186) They comment on how the book strips a father of his dignity, but that the younger people were too naive to know any better. The New Yorker ends their review by saying, ?Jeanne tells it with great dignity.? (New Yorker, p. 187) She assigns no blame and does not appear to write with anger. The New York Times printed a book review on Farewell to Manzanar, January 13, 1974. Their review discussed ?the devastating effect it has on her family, friends and herself.? (New York Times Bk. Review, pg. 31) The family lost all their possessions. Her father was never emotionally well again, and friends deserted her. They also comment on how the ?deeper political and social implications of Manzanar are largely ignored.? (New York Times Bk. Review, pg.31) These issues are ignored because she concentrated on her personal experiences at Manzanar. An interesting point the reviewer mentions is how the co-author James D. Houston played an important part in the making of this book. ?The co-author Jeanne?s husband, is a novelist, and their book provides an often vivid, impressionistic picture of how the forced isolation affected the internees.? (New York Times Bk. Review, pg. 31) The overall evaluation of the book by New York Times was ?All in all a dramatic, telling account of one of the most reprehensible events in the history of America?s treatment of its minorities.? (New York Times Bk. Review, pg. 31) The Nation printed another book review, published November 9, 1974. The article describes the author?s experience during that period in history, and how she felt ignored when she tried to tell someone about those experiences; how everyone tried to act like, ?it never happened.? (The Nation, pg.469) This review tells how Jeanne goes into very specific descriptions of the time before they moved from their home into Manzanar, and the things her mother sold and did. ?Jeanne tells this striking anecdote about her mother. The family had been given forty-eight hours to leave their home, and the predators were closing in. A second hand dealer ?prowling around for weeks, like?(a wolf),? offered $15 for a ?fine old set of china, blue and white porcelain, almost translucent.? There was no possibility of taking it along.? (The Nation, pg.469) The reviewer was amazed that someone could survive those events. ?Books on the subject were few and never sold well. It was as though the victims themselves felt ashamed of their persecution, never mentioning it and seldom writing about it. Perhaps that undefined, unexamined shame kept me from reading much on the subject until I picked up Farewell to Manzanar.? (The Nation, pg. 469)
This book was one of the most in depth and interesting books I have ever read. I learned about an event during World War II, which I had not known about before. This book was very well written, and I would recommend to anyone to read this book. After reading this book I am ashamed at what our country put these people through. And I wish we could do something to make it up to them.