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Farewell to Manzanar

Night by Elie Wiesel

—a memoir that focuses on the final year of the Holocaust—a year the author spent at Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp. The Central Question: What is the relationship between our stories and our identity? To what extent are we all witnesses of history and messengers to humanity?

Farewell to Manzanar

by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston—an account of a young girl's experiences at an internment camp in the United States during World War II. It reveals how the time Jeanne Wakatsuki spent at Manzanar shaped her identity—her sense of who she is and what she might become. The Central Question: How do our confrontations with justice and injustice help shape our identity? How do those confrontations influence the things we say and do?


On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, an American military base in Hawaii. This attack effectively started World War II in the Pacific. Early in 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a resolution allowing the War Department to determine war zones in the country and to relocate anyone who might pose a threat to national security. The War Department declared that Americans of Japanese dissent must be evacuated from the West Coast. The government established internment camps inland where many Japanese-Americans were sent. Manzanar was one of these camps.

Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, who wrote Farewell to Manzanar with her husband, James D. Houston, was sent with her family to Manzanar in 1942. She lived there for the duration of the war. Her family had been very loyal to the United States, and Jeanne and her siblings had all been born there. Her parents were not citizens, though, because in 1911, the United States Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization decided that only whites and people of African descent could file for citizenship. Even though Jeanne's parents had been in America for most of their lives, they were not citizens and were declared to be potentially harmful to national security during the war.

In late 1944, the US Supreme Court ruled that loyal citizens cannot be detained by the government against their will. This ruling was the first major step toward closing the internment camps. 1945 saw the Japanese surrender and the closing of Manzanar. As Japanese- Americans poured back into West Coast cities, they typically found their possessions and jobs gone. Further, they faced severe housing shortages. By and large, internees had to start their lives anew upon return.

Farewell to Manzanar documents Jeanne Wakatsuki's passage into adulthood. She writes the book from an adult perspective, with an understanding of her own growth and development. With the knowledge she has gained about herself and her experiences, Wakatsuki paints Manzanar as the place that she began her passage into adulthood. She documents her growth and development as she describes her life there. Then, she portrays the remainder of her adolescence as reactions to her experiences at Manzanar.

Activity for Friday, 3-21-03

3 LetterS from Edo Mita to Estelle Ishigo. 13 August, 1942

[LETTER 1 ]-- [LETTER 2 ]-- [LETTER 3]

read the document carefully ANSWER the following questions:
1)What type of document is this?

2)What does the letterhead suggest about the author?

3)What does the document tell us about the author?

4)Where is the author and why is she there?

5)What does the document tell you about the conditions where the author lives?

6)What has she heard about conditions where Estelle Ishigo is?

7)What does the document tell you about evacuation and relocation?

8)Who was forced to evacuate and who was not?

9)What does the document tell you about the idea that military necessity caused Japanese American internment?

10)What questions are left unanswered about the document?

Activity for 3/25/03


What is a Teenager?

(a) List 10 characteristics of a teenager.
(b) Read Aristotle's definition of Teenagers.
(c) Identify some stereotypes you see in the reading (Find 7)
(d) Fill out the Debating Sheet with your group)
(e) Descriptive Essay
Write a 5-paragraph descriptive essay about a teenager you admire.
(It could be a friend, someone famous in the media, or even yourself.)
Describe why this teenager is admirable and a good role model to others.
(f) Was Elie Wiesel a typical teenager? Why or why not?

Web Design by: Ms. Pantua-Evasco


1. Farewell to Manzanar WebQuest - Evacuation
2. Farewell to Manzanar
3. Questions
4. Facing History and Ourselves
5. The Incarceration of Japanese-Americans
6. The Internment of Japanese-Americans
7. Photographs
9. Historic Manzanar
10. VIRTUAL TOUR-Manzanar
(NIGHT-Elie Wiesel)
11. THE JAPANESE-behavior & customs
***What is a Teenager?
***What is a Teenager? (funny)
Teenager's Guide to the Real World
Aristotle's definition of a
The 5-paragraph essay
The 5-paragraph essay structure (a)
The 5-paragraph essay structure (b0
Diagram of 5-paragraph essay