Chapter Analysis From The Farewell To Manzanar

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

In Chapter 7, “Fort Lincoln: An Interview” of the novel Farewell to Manzanar, the author, Jean Wakatsuki Houston, uses a metaphor to express the difficult position that many Japanese Issei were in due to the Japanese – American war. The question was brought up by Papa when an interrogator at Fort Lincoln questioned him about being in contact with his Uncle who happened to be a Japanese general. This scene portrayed the conflict that many Japanese-American Issei faced when having to choose sides between two opposing countries that have been their home. Many of the Issei, who had left their home in Japan to find greater opportunities offered in America, still had strong relations to their Japanese ancestry and Japan. On the other hand, the Issei saw America as their adopted home, and even though they were not considered American citizens, they valued the opportunities that citizenship brought for their Nisei children. The war placed the Issei in an impossible situation since they were unable to declare loyalty to one country without threatening their relationship to the other. Papa’s question symbolizes how difficult things such as the Loyalty Oath and the accusations of a military interrogator affected him and many other Issei. This is a struggle for the Issei because they want to keep good relationships with both countries, yet they are being treated unfairly by both. The Issei can’t go back to Japan; if they do, they will be seen as failures. In addition, many would not be welcome back home. However, the Issei have been horribly treated by America; the internment camps, the inescapable racism, and the propaganda all over the news spreading hate about the Japanese. Houston uses a metaphor comparing the war to two parents fighting to make the internal conflict that the Issei faced relatable to the reader.

Houston’s quote allowed readers to relate to Papa on a different level because it allowed us to see how isolated the Issei felt when they had nowhere to turn to during the war between their two homelands. The war placed the Issei in multiple positions that could have jeopardized their relations with both countries. These Japanese-American internment camps and the unfair treatment that Papa and other Issei faced are similar to the situations that many Muslim-Americans experience to this day. People coming from countries with Muslim communities have recently been banned from immigrating to the United States, mirroring the way Japanese-Americans were treated during the times of the Japanese-American war.  

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