Study Guide

Farewell to Manzanar Part II, Chapter 12

By Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

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Part II, Chapter 12

Manzanar, U.S.A.

  • Just in case you're wondering, Manzanar means apple orchard in Spanish.
  • And if you're into history, narrator Jeanne gives a small account of how Owens Valley (where Manzanar is located) turned from lush, green land to total desert. (Hint: It was all about Los Angeles.)
  • By the time her family moves to block 28 at Manzanar, there are only a few pear and apple trees left. Papa ends up tending to those trees.
  • How did they move to block 28 anyway?
  • Jeanne's mother finagles them into those barracks once another family relocates, and it's a total score for the family: their living space doubles, there are real ceilings, and they even have tiled floors.
  • Adding to the improvements is the fact that even though Papa still brews his own alcohol, he's not drinking as much.
  • Instead, he's got hobbies now, like hiking (they're allowed to go outside of camp by this point), woodcarving, creating rock gardens, and painting.
  • Papa especially likes to paint the mountains surrounding them—you know, because they're inspirational and all that.
  • In fact, camp in general turns out a lot better than before.
  • People create and tend to all types of gardens, and there's even a farm right outside of the camp that's cultivated to provide food for the camp's occupants.
  • Plus they have Boy Scouts, beauty parlors, all sorts of clubs, movies, tennis courts… it's a bit like suburbia.
  • Papa and Woody make peace about the war, agreeing that Woody won't volunteer but will wait for the army to draft him.
  • In the meantime, Woody works at the general store.
  • Kiyo waits for sandstorms so that he can find and sell arrowheads to the old men in the camp, and Ray is in a football league.
  • Jeanne's sister Lillian's a singer in a band, and Bill leads a dance band. There are tons of dances.
  • The camp even issues a high school yearbook.
  • One yearbook has a picture of a woman with her dogs; in the background are the Sierras and a bare, winter path. Jeanne can't decide if the landscape looks like it's swallowing the woman and the dogs, or if the woman and dogs are floating in the landscape. Metaphor?

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