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SYNOPSIS AND NOTES
CHAPTER 14: In the Firebreak
Jeanne's oldest sister, Eleanor, joins the Wakatsukis for the last months of her pregnancy and is showered with attention. Her husband, Shig, is away, fighting for the United States in Germany. Suddenly Jeanne, who has been spoiled as the youngest Wakatsuki child, realizes that she will no longer receive all the family's attention.
Since the hospital at Manzanar is not a well-equipped one, the Wakatsukis are nervous for Eleanor. One of Jeanne's sisters-in-law miscarried and bled to death in that hospital. Fortunately, all goes well for Eleanor. When the baby arrives safely, Mama and Ko embrace in a rare moment of tenderness and togetherness. Jeanne watches them from a distance, detached yet curious. Jeanne realizes that she is growing up. No longer will she be the youngest child around, and no longer will she receive all the attention.
Jeanne feels her first pangs of separation from her parents in this chapter, though the separation is not physical. For most of her childhood, Jeanne is showered with attention since she is the youngest; but she is growing up and can no longer expect to be pampered. When the new baby arrives, she feels a sense of adulthood, of individuality, that is strange and exciting. With a new sense of maturity, Jeanne quietly observes her parents supporting each other and also sharing the happiness of the safe delivery of the baby.
CHAPTER 15: Departures
With the increasing relaxation of anti-Japanese American policies, more and more families begin to leave Manzanar. Even some of Jeanne's family departs. Shig has returned from the war, and he and Eleanor move to Reno. Woody is called to fight in the war. Ko tells his son that he should refuse to report; after all, twenty-six boys from Tule Lake refused to go to war and a judge in San Francisco ruled in their favor. Woody, however, refuses to listen to his father; he is willing to prove his American loyalties and departs to enter the war. The Wakatsukis worry about leaving Manzanar themselves. They fear that life outside the camp will be hostile. They are also concerned because they have nothing left; everything was lost when they were interred.
Deeply hurt by the attitude of the Americans towards the Japanese- Americans, most young men in Manzanar join the 422nd Combat Regiment, made up of second generation Japanese-Americans; they all want to prove their loyalty to their new country. When Woody is drafted into the war, Ko tries to encourage him not to go; Woody, however, is ready to prove his loyalty. His departure is depressing for the entire family, but they conceal their worries under brave, encouraging smiles.
More and more families are leaving Manzanar, including Shig, Eleanor, and the baby. In truth, there is uncertainty for the future of all the detainees. Three Japanese-Americans have challenged the legitimacy of detention camps. Two fail to win, but the third challenge is triumphant. A judge rules that U.S. detention of American citizens, whether of Japanese ancestry or not, is illegal.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version