Farewell To Manzanar Character Development

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In the novel, Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D Houston, the main character is put through a lot of devastating, circumstantial situations that causes her overall development to be quite different from others. Seeing as she is telling the story, readers get to know Jeanne tremendously throughout the plot. Jeanne is a very family oriented person, and needs that support to get through the rough patches she hits after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. When Jeanne and her family were first forced to Manzanar, Jeanne is at a very prime and impressionable part of her life. Her family and friends she meets at Manzanar help to shape who she will grow up to be as a person. Even though the story is told in less of an emotional…show more content…
Jeanne’s mother was a very reserved, traditional Japanese-American woman. She couldn’t even bare to use the latrines the camp provided. The novel states “My mother was a very modest person, and this was going to be agony for her, sitting down in public, among strangers (Houston and Houston 32).” Mama was also a very family-oriented woman. Her beliefs were those of a traditional Japanese-American. For example, before entering Manzanar they had dinner together every night and stayed a close knit family that depended on the patriarch of the family. Once the bomb hit and all Japanese were moved to Manzanar, she tried her best to keep that culture alive. Jeanne took notice of this. For example, during dinners in the mess hall Mama tried everything she had to keep the family sitting and eating together. But despite her yearning, it all started slowly tearing the family apart. Jeanne states “Mama tried to hold us together for a while, but it was hopeless (Houston and Houston 36).” Mama was also a very strong, hard worker and worked multiple jobs in the camps for a while. We can see this strength and perseverance in Jeanne as she grows up. When she starts to feel the pressure and pain of prejudice that exists against her race, she doesn’t let people walk all over her, yet she doesn’t let it bring her down either. If she was discriminated against in one of the activities she took part in, she moved right on to the next one and tried equally as hard to be recognized for the talent she has. Because of growing up observing her mother go through all of the troubles she experienced in Manzanar and how she got over them with dignity, Jeanne is a very emotionally strong and confident person by the end of her
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