Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Chapter 15

By Margi Preus

Chapter 15

New Bedford and Fairhaven

  • Ready for Part 3? It's "The New World."
  • Setting: May 7, 1843 (14th Year of Tempo, Year of the Hare)
  • The John Howland finally returns home (it's been over three years).
  • By now, Manjiro's sixteen-years-old and it's been two years since he's seen Japan.
  • Nothing compares to the port in New Bedford—not even busy, colorful Honolulu—and everything's swell until a few white guys start making fun of Manjiro's Asian-ness.
  • All of a sudden, America doesn't seem so great to him.
  • But then an old, white guy comes to his defense.
  • Manjiro's thrown—why would a random guy stick up for him?
  • Captain Whitfield asks him why not. Why shouldn't a stranger stand up for a guy getting picked on? It's the right thing to do, after all.
  • The two of them head to the Captain's house in Fairhaven.
  • But the day just keeps getting worse: The Captain's house looks like it's completely abandoned, and no one's been taking care of it in his absence.
  • Good thing the Captain has awesome neighbors—Mr. and Mrs. Aken—who take the two in.
  • One day, Manjiro overhears a conversation between the Akens and the Captain.
  • The Captain wants to give Manjiro a good upbringing, which—to him—means a farm, a horse, and a mother.
  • So the Captain tells Manjiro one day that he's going off to New York for "business."
  • Manjiro asks if that's where wives and mothers are found—the Captain chuckles and figures out that Manjiro was eavesdropping.
  • Then he tells Manjiro that there is a special someone in New York who he hopes to make his wife.
  • Manjiro tells him that he'll try to get along with whomever the captain decides to make his wife.