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The memoir Farewell to Manzanar, by authors Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and her husband James Houston, is set in the aftermath of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, an event that launched Americans into the fighting of World War II. Both Japanese immigrants and first-generation Japanese-Americans suffered as they were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, much like the Nazis rounded up the Jews. The first half of the novel details the author Jeanne's experience with her family in the Manzanar internment camp in Owens Valley, California.
By chapters 12 through 14, two years after the Americans entered World War I, some of the restrictions placed on Japanese immigrants, especially first-generation Japanese-Americans, have been lifted, and many of the families held in Manzanar start to relocate, emptying out the barracks. However, for those who remain in the camp, schools and a hospital open.
In Chapter 13, Jeanne spends a great deal of time describing how normalized their lives at Manzanar had become once a stable school system had been established. Before the system stabilized, everything was "makeshift and haphazard." But, as she describes, two years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, "Now a teaching staff had been hired. Two blocks were turned into Manzanar High, and a third block of fifteen barracks was set up to house the elementary grades" (p. 104). Things became so stable that their school yearbook titled Our World "came out in June of 1944" and "commemorated" both stable school years of 1944 and 1943.
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