Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Chapter 17

By Margi Preus

Chapter 17

Fitting In

  • Everything's going great with the new family except for one thing: church.
  • Manjiro doesn't mind church, but he notices that people stare at him and seem bothered by him.
  • He doesn't know quite why until the Captain brings him to another church, and he realizes people just aren't used to the way he looks.
  • At one point, he notices the Captain upset while talking to two church officials.
  • When he gets back to Manjiro and Mrs. Whitfield, he tells them that the argument was over where Manjiro should sit—the church elders think Manjiro should sit with the "colored people."
  • One day, Manjiro fakes an illness so he won't need to go to church.
  • Mrs. Whitfield quickly figures out that he just wants to skip church, though, so Manjiro explains that he doesn't want to upset people; if they want him to sit with "colored people," he will.
  • Mrs. Whitfield tells him that having separate facilities for "colored people" is nonsense to begin with, especially at church where everyone ought to be equal under God.
  • Then Manjiro asks about women's rights, which gets Mrs. Whitfield to go on about how the world is changing and that they—including Manjiro—need to be part of the change.
  • At church, Manjiro thinks deeply about his conversation with Mrs. Whitfield and wonders if it would be possible for him to be an agent of change.