What is the meaning of the book's title, "Farewell to Manzanar" by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tend to see the title of Houston's work as a statement about her own consciousness in the world.  The fact that she is writing the book, bringing out her own experiences through the intense pain of internment at Manzanar might be a fitting way to say "farewell" to such a horrific experience.  Her "farewell" is not a rejection or a pretending that these instances are over, but rather a way for her to fully understand how the implications of her experience play a role in her identity and to place it in its proper context.  "Farewell" might be a statement of more psychological condition than anything else.  At the same time, perhaps there is a socially redemptive message to the title.  Through bringing out her own experiences at Manzanar and life after it in America as a young Asian woman and a woman of color, perhaps Houston is wishing that through her narrative, others might not have to endure or inflict others to endure the same experiences that she did.  In this way, she is bidding "farewell" to her experience of Manzanar through others' narratives.

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Farewell To Manzanar

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