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Theme Of Prejudice In Farewell To Manzanar

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“We all decry prejudice, yet are all prejudiced,” said Herbert Spencer, a famous philosopher. Prejudice is frequent everywhere and difficult to stop. It is very difficult to destroy something in someone’s mind, and it will inevitably be expressed through various methods with different degrees of subtlety. Any expression of this can hurt. Subsequently, in Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, the main theme is that prejudice is everywhere, and can be of varying degrees. In the beginning of the book, Jeanne and her family are forced out of their homes and Jeanne’s father is taken away simply because he is a Japanese fisher with access to a radio on the west coast. “To the FBI every radio owner was a potential…show more content…
She becomes friends with a white girl, Radine, and teaches her baton-twirling, but Jeanne remains better. However, she doesn’t get the same opportunities. She is not even let into the Girl Scouts, a simple and everyday thing. “‘Gee, Jeannie, no. I’m really sorry.’ … Rage may have been simmering deep within me, but my conscious reaction was ‘Oh well, that’s okay, Radine. I understand. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow’” (115-116). This sedate tone is a clear craft move by the author. She specifically makes Jeannie seem resigned and about to give up. Denials of small, everyday, opportunities like this can have a damaging impact on one’s mental health and can create an inferiority complex. For example, Jeanne starts blaming herself and her race for everything that happens to her. “I was told that this inquiry was being made, and my reaction was the same as when I tried to join the Girl Scouts. I was apologetic for imposing such a burden” (122). At this point, the author has clearly manipulated the reader into feeling indignant at Jeanne’s treatment and the various injustices she is bearing. Again, the sedate tone sparks the reader into wanting to act. However, Jeanne just feels sorry. She doesn’t take offense at how she is being treated, she is sorry that she is this way. This is something that she can’t change and is still angry at herself. Because of how other people view Japanese people,
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