Farewell to Manzanar

by: Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Woody

Characters Woody

Woody is a foil to Papa: his attitudes and personal qualities contrast with and thereby accentuate Papa’s. Woody, for example, is always sure of his identity as an American and his responsibility to his family, unlike Papa, who has a complicated identity and who does not always act in the best interest of his family. Wakatsuki uses the frequent arguments between Woody and Papa to highlight the differences between the two men. Their discussion about the idea of Woody fighting in the war on the U.S. side exemplifies these differences. While Papa believes that fighting for the United States would mean fighting for a country that imprisoned him, Woody believes that it is his duty as a U.S. citizen to fight for his country. Having citizenship allows Woody access to jobs, licenses, and other opportunities that are closed to Papa, and he feels that service to his country is the price he must pay for the freedom he enjoys. Papa’s experiences during and after the war, on the other hand, disillusion him about his place in America.