|Farewell to Manzanar Discussion Questions
1. Describe Papa’s personality.
2. Why did the fishing boats all come back shortly after they left the dock?
3. What happened to Papa? How did he react to the situation?
4. What does shi-ka-ta-ga-nai mean? How does it affect the Japanese Americans’ response to the internment?
5. Put the following cities in the order in which the Wakatsuki family lived and briefly describe each.
6. Describe the difficulties people experienced at Manzanar in the following areas:
food housing living arrangement
7. With Papa gone, who became the leader in the family? How did he/she handle the new role?
8. More details of the conditions at Manzanar are given in this chapter. Describe them.
9. How did the condition affect the Japanese Americans?
10. What began to happen to families once they moved to Manzanar? Why?
11. When Mama and Papa were distracted with worries, to whom did the author look to for attention? What did she get involved in? Why couldn’t she continue?
12. When Papa finally returned to his family, how had he changed?
13. What kind of family was Papa from? Why did he leave Japan?
14. Why was he humiliated when he first arrived in the U.S.?
15. What was Mama’s family’s opinion of Papa? Why?
16. Name the kinds of work Papa did.
17. Was Papa able to succeed in anything? Why or why not?
18. On what charge was Papa arrested?
19. Did Papa feel any loyalty toward Japan? How did he feel about the war? Which country did he want to win?
20. When Papa joined his family at Manzanar, he isolated himself. What was the real reason for his rage and seclusion?
21. How did his violent behavior affect his family?
22. How did the charge of disloyalty affect Japanese American men? Why?
23. How did the riot start? Discuss the events in the order they occurred.
24. What does the incident at the reservoir shack show about America’s sentiments toward Japanese?
25. What was the purpose of the Loyalty Oath? Why did the government issue it?
26. Why did the Loyalty Oath create such a hostile debate among Japanese Americans? What would “no, no” answer mean? What would “yes, yes” mean?
27. How did the oath change many Japanese Americans’ attitude toward America?
28. How did Papa and Mama spend time while in camp?
29. Did Papa enjoy puttering in camp? Give reasons for your opinion.
30. In what ways did Manzanar have the semblance of a normal world?
31. Discuss the classes and activities that the author got involved in while in camp.
32. Which ones did she quit? Why? Which ones did she stick with? Why?
33. Why didn’t Papa allow the author to get baptized a Catholic?
34. What was the author longing for at this stage in her life?
35. What had happened to Eleanor?
36. What happened to Tom Doboshi? What did Papa mean when he said, “He was already in jail”? (p. 122, 3) What happened to Woody?
37. What started happening to Jeanne’s family?
38. What were the three key court cases that finally freed the Japanese Americans?
39. For what 3 reasons were the Japanese Americans fearful of leaving camp following the announcement that all the internment camps were to be closed?
40. What kinds of rumors did they hear from the “outside world”? How did they make Jeanne feel?
41. Where did the young members of the Wakatsuki family decide to go? Why? Why didn’t Papa go with them?
42. What California law passed in 1943? How did it affect Papa and other Isseis?
43. What happened on August 6, 1945? How did Papa react to the event? Why?
44. What were their concerns as the camps started closing?
45. Why was Woody in Japan?
46. What did Woody realize by visiting his family in Japan?
47. How did the society receive the Japanese Americans returning home?
48. Where did the family settle?
49. Who began to support the family? How?
50. What did the author become aware of once she returned to school?
51. How did she respond to the prejudice?
52. What important realization did she get by being a majorette for the Boy Scouts?
53. What happened to Papa once Woody returned from Japan?
54. How did the author feel about her Japanese heritage?
55. Why was Papa’s dignified bow at the awards dinner so humiliating to the author?
56. What changes occurred in the family as a result of the internment?
57. What differences did Jeanne see between Radine and herself as they moved up to high school?
58. How did Jeanne react to the differences in opportunities given to them?
59. When Jean was told that the administration was stuffing the ballot box, she reacted with indifference, saying, “I already sensed, though I couldn’t have said why, that I would lose either way, no matter how it turned out.” (p. 175) How would she lose either way, whether she became queen or not?
60. Should Jeanne have protested when she found out that the administration was trying to fix the voting? Why or why not?
61. How did Jeanne’s parents react to the news that she had won the contest?
62. During the procession on coronation night, Jean thought, “It wasn’t the girl in this old-fashioned dress they had voted for. But if not her, who had they voted for? Somebody I wanted to be. And wasn’t. Who was I then? (p. 181-182) Whom did she want to be? Why couldn’t she be that person?
63. As a result of Manzanar, how was Jeanne’s adult life? How were her self-esteem, self-worth and self-identity affected by the internment?
64. What was the purpose of revisiting the campsite?
65. As Jeanne was about to leave Manzanar, she recalled the image of papa bringing a car to camp just before their departure. Why would this be important to her in finally breaking away from Manzanar and all that accompanied it?
66. What are some major themes in this book?