Farewell to Manzanar
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Much of farewell to manzanar deals with Jeanne’s struggle to discover her identity. How does her Japanese identity conflict with her American identity? How does her experience with prejudice help her to reconcile the two?
2. What is the role of non-Japanese characters in Wakatsuki’s memoir?
3. Upon returning from Manzanar, Jeanne finds that the hatred she must face is very different from the “dark cloud” she imagined would descend on her. What are the different forms of hatred depicted in farewell to manzanar, and how do they manifest themselves?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. There are three semifictional chapters in Farewell to Manzanar. Why does Wakatsuki combine fictionalized elements with the nonfiction of a memoir?
2. Discuss the generation gap between Issei immigrants and their Nisei children. How are they different? What characteristics do they share?
3. Wakatsuki never seems bitter about her experience in Manzanar and never directly condemns the relocation policy. Why does she choose not to pass judgment?
4. How does Jeanne’s view of Japanese Americans change throughout the work?
5. How does Wakatsuki develop Papa as a tragic figure? Why does she make him so central to her story?
6. What are the chief differences between Woody and Papa? How are they similar?
7. Wakatsuki gives almost no information about the war in the course of the memoir. Why does she choose to leave the war out of her story for the most part?
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!