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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
CHAPTER 7: Fort Lincoln: An Interview
This is a fanciful chapter, composed entirely in Jeanne Wakatsuki's imagination. In it, a guard interrogates her father at the Ford Lincoln prison. Ko is questioned about his past life, his family and his intentions toward America. He is then asked which side he would prefer to win the war. He cleverly replies, "When your mother and your father are having a fight, do you want them to kill each other? Or do you want them to stop fighting?"
This chapter reveals some of the education and training of Jeanne Wakatsuki, not as a daughter or as a writer, but as a sociologist trying to come to grips with her father's experiences. She knows only the facts of Ko's imprisonment, but she uses her knowledge of him as a person to come to terms with what it must have been like for him. In this imaginary interrogation, the author answers the questions posed by the prison officials just as she believes her father would have answered.
It is obvious that Jeanne views her father as a thoughtful, compassionate and wise man. The reply she has him give to the officials is very astute and reveals the real pain of the war on Japanese-Americans. Not only are they unfairly accused and humiliated by imprisonment, they suffer because their allegiance is split between their native land and their new country.
CHAPTER 8: Inu
With his arrest, the good life that Ko had built for himself in America is gone. He loses everything, including his home on the California coast. More importantly he loses face. He is not imprisoned for long, for the authorities cannot find evidence to prove he had done anything wrong. When he returns so quickly to Manzanar, however, the Japanese in the camp believe he must have turned informer in order to gain his freedom; they want nothing to do with him. In other words, Ko is damned whether he is in prison or not.
As a result, Papa Wakatsuki's pride and ambition are destroyed; he becomes a recluse, cut off from the outside world. He stays drunk most of the time, having lost his sense of potential and ability. He often threatens Mama and sometimes abuses her. When she tells her husband about what the other Japanese in camp are saying about him, he attacks her in a drunken rage. Kiyo, Jeanne's brother, jumps out of bed to defend his mother, striking his father. For two weeks after the incident, Kiyo lives with his sister in another barracks. When he finally returns to apologize to his father for hitting him, he realizes that Ko respects him for his courage.
The title, "Inu", is a Japanese word that means both "dog" and "informer;" both meanings apply to Ko after his release from prison. When he comes to Manzanar, he is a broken man. No longer proud and ambitious, he becomes a coarse, angry beast. As his frustration mounts, he often erupts and takes his pain out on his family. He is particularly infuriated when he learns that his Japanese peers in camp call him "inu." He begins to drink heavily, trying to drown his problems. His drunken state only exacerbates his anger, which he often turns on his wife. Ko's emotional and physical abuse of Mamma alienates him from his children, leading to a further collapse of the family.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version