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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS
Chapter 22: Ten Thousand Voices
By this final chapter, some thirty years have passed since Jeanne was at Manzanar. Her life has been happy, ambitious, progressive and successful. She graduated from college, the only Wakatsuki to do so. She is also the only person in her family to marry a white, rather than an oriental. At the time she returns to Manzanar to come to grips with her past, she has three children of her own. The return to Manzanar is the beginning of a journey that will end with the publication of the memoir.
During her visit to the old camp, Jeanne realizes many things about Manzanar. First, it is an experience she has long tried to forget and diminish in importance. In fact, there were times in her past when she tried to convince herself that Manzanar had only been a dream.
Now that she bravely faces the reality of the camp and her own unique Japanese-American heritage, she realizes it is cathartic, much like Woody's journey back to Hiroshima. She watches in amazement as her children wander around the deserted campgrounds, bored and restless. She returns to her children and says that they are right, Manzanar is "no place for kids." In the security of her husband and her own family, she leaves Manzanar behind forever.
This chapter tells of Jeanne's trip back to Manzanar when she is an adult, approximately thirty years after she left the camp. In it the author tries to come to terms with Manzanar in her life and to give a final summary of the events she has woven together throughout the memoir.
It is a finely wrought chapter full of poignant memories. As she sees the places where her childhood was spent and smells the fragrances that she has carried from there through life, she accepts that she must deal with the reality of Manzanar throughout her existence; but she is determined to make it a less painful experience. As a result, she writes the memoir, with the help of her husband, as her final catharsis.
It is her own children that really allow Jeanne to put Manzanar in the proper perspective. As she watches them wander restlessly through the deserted campgrounds of her youth, she decides that Manzanar was no place for children. She is then able to bid a final physical and spiritual "Farewell to Manzanar."Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version