Farewell to Manzanar Men and Masculinity
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Men and Masculinity
It's so misleading. You read that Farewell to Manzanar is an autobiography written by a woman who went through internment, so you figure that the book is going to be all about a Japanese-American girl's experiences at Manzanar. And while you do get that story, the book is actually so much more about how internment affected the lives of Japanese-American men, especially the writer's father. So what you actually get is a really in-depth look at how Japanese-American masculinity develops (or doesn't develop) under internment.
Questions About Men and Masculinity
- The narrator calls camp life emasculating for the men. Is that true, or can camp life empower men as well?
- How does the relationship between Papa and Jeanne compare to the relationship between Papa and Woody? Who would you say is Papa closer to? Who is more like Papa?
- What is the purpose of Woody's character in the book? What kind of masculinity does he present to us?
- Is Papa's reliance on old-world Japanese values empowering for his masculine identity or are they disabling?
Chew on This
There's no excuse for Papa: his emasculation is a result of his own character flaws, not his internment.
Internment makes it impossible for Issei men to be men.
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