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feel no malice toward this girl. I don’t even envy her. Watching,
I am simply emptied, and in the dream I want to cry out, because
she is something I can never be, some possibility in my life that
can never be fulfilled.
In Chapter 21,
“The Girl of my Dreams,” Jeanne explains the recurring dream she
has had ever since witnessing Radine’s sudden rise in popularity
in high school. The girl in the dream is beautiful and blonde, admired
by all, and represents Jeanne’s desire for acceptance. Jeanne too
wants to be admired, but she does not envy or hate the dream girl,
just as she does not hate Radine for her successes. Jeanne’s lack
of envy and hate shows a remarkable maturity but also reflects the
resignation and sadness of realizing that her dreams can never come
true. She says her inability to achieve her goals makes her want
to scream, but she does not cry out, which shows the extent to which
she has accepted prejudice against those of Japanese ancestry as
a simple fact of life. Even though she is hurt when her friends’ parents
exclude her, she never speaks out in protest; instead she blames
herself for being different. As a teenager, she is less troubled by
being treated differently than by having to watch others achieve what
she cannot. It is not the dream girl herself that she resents, but the
window that lets her look but not touch. This frustration leads to
resignation, and the collective weight of five years of resignation eventually
turns the image of her dream girl into a grim reminder that leaves
her “emptied” of hope that things will ever change.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Farewell to Manzanar!