Farewell to Manzanar: Novel Summary:chp 7-12
Chapters 7 and 8
Jeanne recalls Papa’s interview before he is imprisoned. He is interrogated by an American official, who, amongst other things, wants to know what Papa was delivering in his boat. Papa reassures him that he is only transporting equipment that is needed for the purposes of fishing.
The interrogator pursues his line of questioning even more aggressively. He is trying to get Papa to concede that he is a spy and that his loyalty is to his native land of Japan. Papa turns the investigation around and begins to interview him and ask a series of rhetorical questions upon which the interviewer becomes annoyed by this tactic.
Now that Papa is back, the family’s cubicle is even more crowded than before. Mama and Papa argue more frequently. On one such occasion, Jeanne hides under the bed and Kiyo, her brother, attacks Papa while coming to Mama’s rescue when Kiyo assumes that Papa is going to strike momma with his cane.
Fearing his father’s retribution, Kiyo flees and stays with one of his married sisters for two weeks. He eventually returns and asks for his father’s forgiveness. Papa forgives him, but he continues to drink, abuse his wife and appear disconnected from his family.
This interview flashback reveals Papa’s tenacity and intellect. Knowing that he has done nothing wrong, he turns the tables on the interviewer and tries to make him empathetic towards his plight. He questions the logic and rationale behind the accusations and even suggests that if the interrogator where in the same situation, he would have behaved just as Ko did.
As Papa reunites with his family and settles into life at Manzanar, he and his wife begin to argue more frequently and violently. Ko takes out his frustrations and anger on the very people whom he loves. Unwilling to watch his father strike his mother, Kiyo engages in an act of bravery and physically attacks his father.
After hiding for two weeks, he returns and is able to seek his father’s forgiveness. Yet, Papa doesn’t really change. This chapter illustrates the emotional toll that his imprisonment has taken on him. Papa is unable to deal with the new reality of his life, especially being powerless. Although the family is reunified, they still struggle to create and maintain stability within the household.
Chapters 9 and 10
Papa barely speaks and it is becoming even more noticeable that he is a changed man. Jeanne recalls the riots in Manzanar that are the result of the unfair treatment of a Japanese detainee. Papa believes that such rioting and protesting is foolish and will result in their being sent back to Japan.
The authorities, Military Police, are called into the camp and lob tear gas in order to disperse a growing crowd. Several people are injured and two are killed.
Jeanne recalls her brother-in-law Kaz, who works as a foreman for maintenance. One evening, he is accosted by MPs who are armed with weapons. Assuming that Kaz and his fellow crew members are doing something suspicious, they yield their guns. Kaz tries to plead his case. He insists that they are just working and that the ax handles are simply a part of their work detail. The MPs refuse to believe them.
The riots that take place in Manzanar reveal that Japanese-Americans did not idly accept their unfair treatment. There were many who were vocal and willing to fight in order to receive their due rights as American citizens. Some even paid the ultimate price with their lives, namely the two who died.
Papa’s views reflect those who believe that such resistance can lead to additional harm and punishment. He does not believe that such methods of protest will help the greater good.
Similarly, the incident with Kaz and the other workers reveals that tensions are high in the camp. A simple act is misinterpreted as being hurtful, when it was just an innocent mistake. It also shows how much distrust there was between the detainees and those charged with watching over and protecting them.
Woody and Papa enter into a heated discussion about Woody’s desire to enlist as an American soldier in World War II. Papa cannot understand why Woody wants to fight. Woody reminds him that he is an American citizen. They come to a compromise. Woody promises not to enlist, but he will serve if drafted.
Anti-Japanese-American sentiment is starting to escalate and some believe that with the introduction of second-generation Japanese-American fighting units, these attitudes will shift and people will stop questioning their loyalty. Others believe that it will not make a difference.
Many in the camp do not agree about the best way to improve the public’s perception about Japanese-Americans so they decide to have a meeting. Heads of the households are invited to the meeting and a vote will be taken in order to reflect Manzanar’s stance on the issue.
At this meeting, Papa is verbally attacked and called a dog by another attendee. Papa proceeds to physically attack the man. A sand storm ensues and the meeting ends abruptly and unceremoniously.
Shortly thereafter, Papa begins a job pruning and caring for trees. The family relocates to a new Block, Block 28, where the family doubles its living space. Manzanar slowly starts to unfold into a different community.
What it means to be an American is called into question in these chapters. Woody believes, as did some others, that the best way to prove their allegiance and loyalty to America is via fighting and possibly, dying for one’s country. As such, Woody is committed to enlisting.
Papa, conversely, reflects the school of thought that believes that doing so proves nothing and will simply lead to the death of many innocent Japanese-Americans. Implicitly, their discussion also raises the question of what it means to be loyal to one’s culture of which Woody clearly identifies himself as an American.
During the meeting, Papa speaks vehemently against all Japanese-American fighting units. He is verbally insulted and he results to violence. This incident further shows Papa’s levels of frustration and rage about his quality of life and inability to serve as the head and voice of his household.
As the chapter concludes, the family is giveh a new living space. Much larger than the previous one, it is not lost upon young Jeanne that it is still Manzanar, not her real home.