Study Guide

Farewell to Manzanar Part II, Chapter 19

By Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

Part II, Chapter 19

Re-entry

  • Right before they leave Manzanar, Papa gets all proactive and decides that they'll leave before their scheduled day; he even goes off and buys a used sedan even though they could just take the bus provided by the government (which would have only taken a day).
  • To get all the kids and all their stuff to Long Beach, Papa ends up making three—yes, three—trips back and forth.
  • The whole move takes four days.
  • Jeanne goes with her dad on the first trip to Los Angeles, which ends up being kind of a wild ride since he's drunk most of the way. By the time they hit the city though, Papa is tense and sober—they all are because they're fearing the worst.
  • But nothing happens.
  • The streets are pretty much the same and the people are indifferent to them.
  • Not everything is the same though.
  • Turns out all the reports are true: California is really short on housing because not only are all the Japanese-Americans returning, but there's also this huge population boom.
  • Jeanne's family is luckier than most because the American Friends Service helps them out.
  • The AFS helps them find a 3-bedroom apartment—with its own inside toilet—in a Long Beach housing project called Cabrillo Homes.
  • It's not until Jeanne gets into high school that she sees Cabrillo Homes for what it is: an unfinished, unmaintained, army-style set of barracks.
  • Mama's able to pick up some stuff she stored with neighbors pre-Manzanar, but that storage room she rented? "Robbed."
  • Papa's car and boats? Repossessed or just plain gone.
  • They're back at zero.
  • Papa never really recovers from this trauma, but he still tries to be active and there's that co-op housing plan he's still trying to get off the ground (even though chances for success are low).
  • Mama takes a job at a cannery again, and her salary becomes super-important because Papa's not bringing any money in.
  • Cannery jobs are beneath Papa, and Mama would be even more ashamed if Papa had to deal with one of these low-end jobs too.
  • So every morning she puts on her good face and goes to the cannery with a bunch of other Japanese women.
  • Jeanne's fears also die down once she gets into a routine, especially listening to the radio.