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

PART II

CHAPTER 18: Ka-Ke, Near Hiroshima: April 1946

Summary

Woody travels to Hiroshima in April of 1946 to find out about the extended family of the Wakatsukis. Having been born in America, he meets several relatives that he has never known. Toyo, the aunt who favored Ko's departure for the United States, takes a special interest in Woody. She takes him to see a memorial tombstone honoring his father, who was declared dead in 1913.

The visit to Japan is crucial to Woody's acceptance of himself and his position in the world. He feels a new identify with his past by seeing where his family has come from.


Notes

This chapter is about Woody, who travels to Hiroshima to meet any surviving relatives of the extended Wakatsuki family. In Japan, he is able to trace his father's past and learn about his great ancestral pride. He witnesses the dignity of the Japanese people in spite of all the damage done to their lives and property by the bomb. The fact that they welcome Woody in spite of his being an American soldier shows the honest and loyal ties of family. In the course of his Japanese visit, Woody establishes his own identity.

Jeanne writes this section with compassion and understanding. She believes that if her relatives in Japan are able to overlook the fact that Woody was fighting against his homeland and welcome him so warmly as one of their own, then all the Wakatsukis in America will somehow be able to find the strength to survive the changing face of their own lives. Structurally, this chapter provides some relief for the rising tension of the Wakatsukis in Manzanar. By transporting the narrative to another time and place, Jeanne provides perspective, change of scene, and a welcome reassurance that everything will be all right.

CHAPTER 19: Re-entry

Summary

This chapter returns to the Wakatsukis in Manzanar. Ko's pride is piqued when it is time to leave the camp; he declares his family will not leave on a bus. Against Mama's better judgment, he buys a car and makes three trips across California to take his family back to the coast. They settle in a housing project in west Long Beach, after discovering that the warehouse in which they had stored their essential items has been robbed. Jeanne's mother finds an opening for work in a fish cannery while her father pursues his futile dream of making a co-operative housing project for the Japanese- American internees.

Notes

This chapter reveals some of Mama's character, which has been overshadowed in the past by Ko. She is probably the most balanced character, dealing with all that assails her family calmly and coolly. She is always the steady breadwinner for the family, whether working in a cannery or as a dietician. Whether Ko is drinking himself into oblivion or dreaming impossible dreams, Mama is working to provide for the children. Difficult situations make her silent and brooding, but she never loses her composure. Ko, for his part, is too proud to face his present situation of destitution. Rather than face his situation and possibly take a menial job, he becomes absorbed in dreams and allows his wife to bear the burden of survival alone.

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