Farewell to Manzanar

by: Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Chapters 12–13

Analysis—Outings, Explorations

Jeanne’s mild fear at venturing outside of camp shows that even though the camp is a prison to her, it provides a security that puts her at peace with herself. Her first timid attempts at discovering her true self result in disappointment, as she is uncomfortable exploring beyond what is known and certain. The camp is her entire world, and there are enough things for a young child to explore in the camp without the complication of venturing outside. But the limited scope of her explorations and her choice of such non-Japanese activities as ballet, baton twirling, and religious study suggest that in discovering her own identity, Jeanne will eventually have to reconcile these American tendencies with her Japanese ancestry. She gravitates to American activities because being American is all she has ever known. But when she is finally pushed out of the comfort of the camp, she has the deeper realization that in order to understand her identity, her definition of herself must go beyond simply being Japanese or American and must address what it means to be both at the same time.