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Farewell To Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston-Free Study Guide
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

PART I

CHAPTER 3: A Different Kind of Sand

Summary

This short chapter gives details about life in Manzanar. One of the most bothersome things is the sand that blows in from the desert at night, settling all over the inside of their small barracks. Still, it bothers them less than the reality of their present life-style. Mama's painful silence expresses the disillusionment of thousands of the Japanese people in the camp.

With Ko not present, Woody assumes the position of family patriarch. The Wakatsukis also begin making their barracks more habitable. Everyone becomes more accustomed to life in Manzanar, but Mama grows increasingly preoccupied with worry about what the future holds for her husband and her children.

Notes

The different kind of sand that they encounter at Manzanar blows all night and settles itself all over their quarters. More importantly, the dust, a symbol of weariness and decay (often associated with death), settles over the lives of the Wakatsukis. Although they acclimate to life at Manzanar and attempt to make their barracks more livable, Mama worries about the future for herself, her husband, and her children.


The character of Woody comes out more clearly in this chapter, and he is depicted as a positive and likable young man. He smiles through all the miseries he endures at Manzanar, and it is he that starts the search for work around the camp. Woody also attempts to instill some of his kind of optimism in every member of the family, particularly Mama. He is truly an effective patriarch for the Wakatsukis.

CHAPTER 4: A Common Master Plan

Summary

Life continues with great difficulty at Manzanar. The self- respecting, dignified and private Japanese people in camp find it difficult to adjust to their new life of deprivation. It is always crowded; the food is often spoiled; disease is rampant; and required medical vaccinations cause discomfort for young and old. In addition, the toilets are always unbearably dirty, and there are no partitions between them to afford privacy. Dignified women, like Jeanne's mother, surround themselves with cardboard boxes in the bathroom in order to have some privacy. At least the internees get some relief from the cold, for they are issued items of warm army attire, including earmuffs and coats; unfortunately, these articles of clothing are a constant reminder to the Japanese in camp that they are subjects of the U.S. government.

Notes p> This section reveals that the camps serve two purposes. They separate the Japanese-Americans from the mainstream and label them as "aliens." They also force the detainees to live in horrid conditions that strip the Japanese of their pride and dignity. It is obvious in the chapter that the camps are as unprepared for the internees as they are for the camps. The government has not provided enough living space for the residents, forcing entire families to live squashed into a small room and insuring a lack of privacy; there is also inadequate and improper storage, causing many food items to spoil. Additionally, no program to clean the camp has been created. As a result, disease spreads rapidly and the living accommodations stay filthy and unbearable. The Wakatsukis are seen hard at work trying to make their barracks habitable; unfortunately, there is little they can do beyond cleaning to improve where they live.

The government issues the Japanese some surplus army attire, especially earmuffs and coats. Although it helps fight against the cold, the clothing also serves as a constant reminder to the Japanese of their subject status, further stripping them of their dignity. Only the young Jeanne is amused by the situation; the sight of her mother in over-sized khaki military clothes is quite humorous to the young girl.

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