Farewell To Manzanar Questions and Answers
by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, James D. Houston

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Symbolically, what might the broken china dishes mean in Farewell to Manzanar?

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With a novel based on a true story, like Farewell to Manzanar, we should use caution when interpreting actions and objects as symbols. The events in the story really did happen to the author, so it's not as if she was sitting around with her typewriter dreaming up good symbols for the meaning she intended to convey.

Still, the broken china is very meaningful to the plot and could be interpreted as a representation of both the high value and the fragility of human autonomy and dignity.

In Chapter 2, when the government gives Jeanne's family only two days' notice to leave their home on Terminal Island, Jeanne's mother is in a rush to sell her valuable possessions, knowing that she has no way of...

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