Thoughts, observations, comments, and concerns regarding our readings and classroom discussions.
posted by annes @ 7:28 AM
What is the point of chapter 18?
Is there a way that Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have a positive impact on Japanese Americans?
What is your reaction to chapter 18? What does it tell us about Ko's family?
So what was up with going back to Hiroshima? Why was Woody there and why had he been putting it off for a long time?
In what way, Zach?
emily,Chapter 18 was kind of showing the heritage, and where papa comes from.
I was wondering the same thing Zach. After seeing the effects of the atomic bomb, I was curious if it would generate sympathy for Japanese Americans.
erin, Woody was in Japan with the army, and he had leave, so he could go visit his relatives, but he put it off because he didn't know how they would react to an American.
Erin- I think that Woody was there for a learning experience to help him understand more about his father.
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I think he was putting it off because he didn't really know anything about papa's family. He wasn't sure of the conditions papa left under so he didn't know how he would be recieved as Ko's son. I think it must have been a very awkward first meeting.
I think this was to provide a link between two "opposing" cultures, perhaps to show that although people are enemies in a war, ultimately they are still people, who in general do not much enjoy the experience of having their brains bombed out.Did anyone else notice the reference to Papa's eyes?
hannahs- I think it shows is how much they really cared about their son, or Papa in this book. They made a burial place for him and when they found out that he was still living, they were so happy.
Zach- I think that the bombings were a positive factor because it was a huge victory for the Americans. The US knew they were going to surrender and they probably didn't feel the need to keep Japanese Americans detained.
Were you surprised how Woody was so accepted by the family that Papa left? Would it be different if it was Papa?
Hannah, it may have gained them sympathy, but is the sympathy worth all of the lives that were lost?
If I were a Japanese American when the bombs were dropped, I kind of would have felt guilty. I would have felt that I had escaped something that maybe I wasn't supposed to escape. I would have felt like I was very disconnected from them and felt like I couldn't help.
laura,I think that Papa would have gotten a hero's welcome, much more than Woody. It's like the prodigal son.
Do you think Woody should have asked those questions about his father? Why didn;t he ask the questions? Do you think he ever wondered those before?
Hannah- Would that sympathy decrease the racism towards Japanese Americans or would it continue based on Pearl Harbor?
Zachf,I think this is a very difficult subject. I think that the bombings of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima were a major shock to the Japanese people in Japan, as well as the Japanese Americans in Japan. For the Japanese Ameicans, I am sure that the bombings caused confusion and mixed emotions. Most Japanese Americans were sure that they were American but at the same time, they want to keep some of their Japanese culture in their lives. After the bombings, the Japanese Americans probably felt that this even has helped to end the war and to help get them out of the internment camps, but it also probably came as a shock because their relatives and friends in Japan (or even just their fellow Japanese people) were hurt and even killed. Also, it was most likely confusing to Japanese Americans because they feel that they are American, but they might feel bad that the Americans killed thousands of innocent Japanese people in Japan.
I think that Woody was welcomed because his family had missed Ko so much. I think they were so excited to have some of their family home.
I think that within ch. 18 it shows that those in Hiroshima were ALSO facing hardships, such as the lack of sugar, and the whole Watkatsuki family was facing trouble on opposite sides of the sea.
i like what sarah said, that it was showing where papa came from. It also made me see the transformation papa has undergone. He used to be this kind, gentle person whos family loved him. However, now he is so distant form not only his family in Japan, but his family in America. His entire persona has changed form what it once was; he used to be this honorable Japanese samurai and now he is a prisoner of the one country he thought could help him grow into an even greater man.
Zach: I think that Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have had a positive impact on Japanese Americans because the events caused them to not be as hated in the world. Of course, they were still not looked on fairly, but the tension wasn't as strong. There isn't any more doubt in the Japanese Americans' mind how they will end up, if they will be taken into another camp, or whatever. They know that they will not be persecuted forever, that they will be forgiven, even though they weren't responsible for Pearl Harbor in the first place.
I was listening to the conversation in the inner circle and Kenna was talking about human nature. Is the book trying to say something about human nature and what humans do under less than favorable situations?
I want to know why papa's great ambition is suddenly gone. He had always jumped from thing to thing and always managed to know what to do. So how did his internment change his ability to take care of his family and always know what to mve onto.
I don't think I would feel guilty if I was a Japanese-American, but it would be more difficult to live in America. Like Papa said--it's like his parents and he doesn't want one of them to die, just stop fighting. So if I was a Japanese-American when the bomb was dropped, it would impose numerous different feelings.
Karib- I agree, and I think Japanese Americans would feel pain. This connects to The Chosen, when Danny's dad mourned the Jewish people murdered in Europe. He didn't know them personally, but he felt pain because of what happened to his people.
I don't think they would have treated papa that different than Woody because like Erin said they still have a love for him nad missed him so much.
Kari: I agree with you. If I were a survivor, or I had escaped before everyone else did, I would feel a great amount of guilt about it. That is a really good point.
Kari what exactly do you mean?
In response to the references to Hiroshima and Nagasaki:Isnt it kind of ironic how by killing millions of innocent Japanese people in Japan, many Japanese American people in the United States were set free?
Kari--Ya I think I would feel the same way. It would be mixed feelings. In one way, I would feel bad for my country destroying...my other country. Relating back to the quote Papa said about his mother and his father fighting (pg 64), it would be just a wierd feeling, like you wouldn't know which country it is right for you to root for.
lane-maybe there is a point which a person just loses his/her drive. Think if you had to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" and work hard to establish a great life and dignity, and then all lost by being interned by your country, would you have energy or drive to start all over again?
zach: i think that the racism would continue solely based on Pearl Harbor. As we saw in the book, not many people knew what Pearl Harbor was, all that they knew was the Japanese bombed it. because of this, i dont think that many people would not feel hate towards the Japanese because of this because thats all they know. They only know that the Japanese bombed it, so whats to stop the Americans for hating them for this.
Zach- I think that the bombings could be benefitial to Japanese Americans in the way that Hannah said they would. The reactions in America were very mixed immediately after the bombs were dropped. Most Americans felt justified in that the world's worst war was now officially over because of the bombs. There were plenty of Americans, however, who saw the bombs as unneccessary and overly destructive. These people would be the most likely to gain sympathy for the Japanese Americans, and these people would be the ones that ex-internees would get the most help from.
lane,I think that when they arrested Papa, they disgraced him so much, that his spirit was broken, just like Michelle just said.
Lane, I think Papa's ambition is gone becasue of his interrogation becasue it said the government didn't trsut him.
That's an interesting perspective, Madison. I guess this leads back to the liberty vs. security discussion (see earlier blogs for juicy details). Although we're sacrificing some people's security for others' liberty.
I could see how Woody would feel guilty in that the United States just bombed Japan and he would feel responsible for the people that are suffering.
Annad- Looking back in history, did the bomb help Japanese Americans? Were they spared of the discrimination and racism?
Lauraf,I agree with what you said about people losing thier 'drive' or their inspiration to keep them going. Sometimes, people feel that they have worked for all their life and no matter what they do, their work doesnt change anything. Sometimes people feel that no matter what they do, nothing can change their sittuation. This is not often the reality of things, but it is a feeling that occurs in some people when they feel they have hit rock bottom.
If Papa didn't want to go back because of his dignity and pride, and that's why he left, is that also what is holding him back from returning? Also, do you think that Woody's visit will encourage Papa to return?
Why does Papa use alcohol as a crutch?
Anna: I agree with you. I think that in some ways the bombs were good for the Japanese internees because, as you said, the anti-war people would feel sympathy for the thousands of Japanese-Americans and would probably be willing to help them. It is kind of like in hurrican Katrina how lots of people went to New Orleans to help the people there. The sympathy in the anti-war population would be beneficial to the Japanese.
erin--true, but at the same time the US just charged him with disloyalty. we were talking about how on pg 72, disloyalty was pretty much a slap in the face to someone raised in Japan. Japanese culture is built so strong on loyalty and honor.
Tom, do you think that the Japanese Americans were glad that the bombings happened because it helped them re-gain status in the United States; helped them to be freed and in some ways re-accepted?
I think it depends on how removed you are as a japanese american from japanese culture. I'm sure the people that just immigrated from japan would feel very guilty to have escape a fate that their people are experiencing. But jeanne is so removed from her culture she is scared of the other "brutish" acting people in the camps. She wouldn't really feel guilty to have escaped the bomb for she has no attachements to japan.
Lane- I think that the alcohal had something to do with Papa losing his ambition. When you drink that much all the time, you kind of lose your desire to do...anything.
zach,It's the same reason why anyone uses drugs as a crutch: to have an escape.
I agree with everyone when they say that his spirit was broken and his honor crushed. He was embarrased and treated so horribly, that he has no honor and nothing to hold onto anymore, except his family.
lauraf- I don't think Woody's visit will encourage Papa to return. If Papa wanted to return, I think he already would have done it. I also think he is very independent and does what he woul dlike. He wont let others actions influence the way he thinks.
Zach- well, obviously alcohol is addictive. But also, people who are depressed or are going through a hard time turn to alcohol because, as I see it, it kind of makes them feel better and they can just get away and not have to think about the hardships of life. I think that since Papa has gone through so much double double toil and trouble he needs something where he doesn't have to worry and can just get away.
This is changing the subject a bit, but what is the role of irony so far in Farewell to Manzanar? The saddest part about the Japanese internment, in my opinion, was the fact that most of the internees were as patriotic as other American citizens. Isn't it ironic that these people should be proud of a country that treats them like animals? Where have there been other examples of irony throughout the book?
Sarahc,what is an escape? What would define it? Isnt it just a way to distract yourself from the way things really are? A way to create an alternate reality?
laurab-If his family was so important to him, why did Papa abuse them in the internment camps?
zachf- I think Papa uses alcohol because he feels that is th eonly thing he can turn to. It doesn;t mention his friends and he doesn quite have a strong relationship with his family members.
Lauraf-I think that Papa didn't go back because it would be meaning defeat. And his honor WILL not allow him to admit defeat.
madison, yes, that is all an escape is. Papa drinks to distract himself from the situation.
Ty- i think exactly the oppoosite. I think that he started drinking because he lost his desire to even go out of the house. He had no will to do anything at all anymore, so he started drinking to try to escape form this feeling of being uneeded.
Anna: I think that one of the biggest ironies of Farewell to Manzanar and internment camps in general is that the Japanese people are such a proud people but are forced to be treated like animals. The Japanese people take great pride in their heritage and it is such a huge blow to them that so many people in America hate them at the time and frown upon them.
Madison, I think they probably harbour some resentment after being thrown in camps towards American. They are probably thankful for the freedom, but darkly embittered by the experience. I imagine they're not all that pleased by their kinsmen, who many of them have a deeper connection with than other Americans and their native cultures, were murdered by their NEW countrymen.
mphair-how is returning to visit a sign of defeat?
In response to what Smith said, I think that some people are like that and some people are not. With some people, life is black and white and there is no middle ground. With others, they are more open to that middle ground. The American government and President Bush are definetly black and white.
laura, I think that Papa abuses his family because he is addicted to alchohol, and we all know that addicts are often abusive.
Emily--I was actually wondering about that. If he is built so strong on honor, why does he drink alcohol so freely, especially because that seems dishonorable.
Lindsey, if that is the case, what made him lose his desire to do anything and start drinking?
Lauraf-I think that abusing his family was Papa's way of asserting authourity over people. He needs to be able to controll something. And, as he can't controll his future, living conditions, or much at all. He takes refuge" in "controlling" his family.
I think alcohol is Papa's way of challenging the system. I think the interrogation turned him sour and his feelings about the government changed. Also, I think there is a difference between America and "the government" in his eyes. Drinking, which they are probably not supposed to do, is his way of sticking it to the man. That ties nicely with last semester.
laura,I think that by returning to visit, Papa is showing that he is not a loner, but that he feels that he has connections to his family, or that he is dependant on his family for acceptance and support.
Ty- I think he started to drink heavily when he was imprisoned. Imprisonment made him lose ambition.
Good guy vs. bad guy: I think that today in society we almost always have one good side and it is always the same side. The Japanese will always be bad, and there isn't anything about them that could be considered good. For instance, in Letters from Iwo Jima, the movie by Clint Eastwood, the story is told from the Japanese point of view. There are movies out there that are like it, but not a lot. Those movies are so different that we as Americans go away seeing them saying, "Wow, I didn't think about that, maybe all of them weren't bad"-esque thoughts. We are so unaccustomed to see those ideas that we are unaware of them.
Tom,do you think this causes any second guessing by the Japanese Americans who really feel that they are American? Do they feel that they have chosen the wrong country to side with? Do you think that they just are to proud to admit that they may have made a wrong decision? Or do they truly believe that they really want to be American?
Great point, Dan! I noticed that too. At some point in time (correct me if I'm wrong) I think that Jeanne mentioned that the internees were not as worried about remaking their lives and their homes after they leave the camp as they are about having lost their pride and respect.
To what Michelle just said in real life: I think we stereotype to make ourselves feel better. Lots of time people are jealous of other people so they make judgements or discriminations to make themselves feel better. If that isn't the case, then I think we stereotype people because it is just in our nature to put down other people who we think are different than us or weird, even if there is no reason to do so. I also think that even if everyone was the same we would still stereotype based on social status, etc. because as it has been said before, it is human nature.
Laurab--What if you are one of the "evil" guys? Looking at it from that perspective, then the "good guys" suddently seem bad and everything switches it around. It's like when something goes wrong, humans tend to blame it totally on someone else.
This is from the inner circle's discussion about not realizing you are different: From kindergarden through second grade, my best friend was named Madalyn Maxey. I could see that she was black but I didn't actually realize it. She was Madalyn, not Madalyn who is black.
zach- or did he start drinking heavier because he was trying to get through his improsenment? Maybe he didn't lose his ambition, drinking helped him put his ambition to the back of his mind so he could get through his imprisonment.
riley,Or was he trying to forget that he had lost his ambition?
Madison, I'd say they're torn between whether they're really Japanese or American at heart.
Lauraf-In returning, Papa is admiting that he COULDN'T regain the family's honor, and fortune. That is what he set out for. Remember, he wouldn't even contact his family in Japan until he "made it."In returning, Papa would be saying-"Hey, I couldn't make it in America, accept me, the failure"
what makes you think he lost his ambition sarah?
I think Papa is using alcohol as his crutch. He can't manage it on his own so it he used alochol.
tom,I think that the Japanese are also divided among themselves because the American-born are American at heart, and don't understand why their parents, who are Japanese-born, are having trouble with loyalty.
riley, The fact that Papa sat around the barracks for a long time and drank shows that he at least lost his ambition for a little while. He didn't know what to do.
Michelle- Asked a while ago...Why are we stereotypical? It is like asking why did we separate the Japanese? We did it to feel safer and for securtiy and if we label people then it is easier and more comfortable to us.
Exactly Maria, I wasn't sure how to finish my thought. The perspective changes everything: Who is bad, and who isn't. Which goes back to 1984, when we were talking about if the book was put so that O'Brien was narrating the book, as opposed to Winston. The key is perspective.
I think we see more of a generation gap in the camps. Like Sarah said it's split between the young and the old the citizens and immigrant citizens. The kids aren't aware that they want different things than their parents but the parents do understand this so it makes for an even bigger split.
sarah-but don't some of the Japanese-American children feel loyal to Japan because it is part of their history?
If you study the Japanese language, you'll find that there are a bazillion words used to address someone based on very specific class and rank. The Japanese society is based on honour, which if anything, causes the biggest conflict with their love of their newfound swingin' American lifestyle.
Sarah,I dont know if I completely agree. For example, many African Americans were mistreated in America, and their parents had reasons to protest and feel anger. However, many African American people I have encountered in our modern world still feel anger towards white people, even though they arent mistreated in todays society.
lane-I agree. I think that is why Papa had such a hard time seeing his kids going to serve in the war because Japan is really his home country, but he is still loyal to America
sorry, that last one didnt really make sense:I meant that African American people today's parents who were mistreated compared with their children who were not mistreated.
laura,Some might, but it is a small number. The majority wanted to be accepted because they had had a good, comfortable life, and they lost it when they went to the camp, so they realize that to get their old life back, the Americans have to accept them.
Sarah, I agree with the fact that he lost his ambition. That goes back to the idea that "he was too old to start over". He figured his life was pretty much over and was not willing to travel outside his cucoon in order to make it better.
Tom, that is interesting. It seems hard to believe that there is stereotyping dating back to the origins of the Japanese Language.
Tom--good point and great language :) By calling Papa disloyal, it was like the government that he felt like he was serving was stripping away his honor.
Shelby- I think we resort to stereotyping people because we naturally do it to ourselves. From a very young age, as Ms. Smith mentioned about Emma, we begin to separate ourselves into our own groups. If anything I think it's a protective manuever. It's kind of the idea of power in numbers. These stereotypes, however, breed animosity between the different, opposite groups.
madison, that goes back to generations of slavery. The Japanese had one major incident of prejudice against them.
sitting around in the barracks doesn't mean he lost his ambition sarah. It means he's lost. He still has his ambition on hold in the back of his mind. He's still drinking. Have you ever felt lost? Not known what to do on the weekend? Just sit around and done nothing? Do you have no ambition? No. You still have band. You're just not doing band right that second. You're sitting around and doing nothing. Why?You need a break. You've had marching band all day long and you need a break. You've just been through a very tough ordeal. Now, he may be to old to start over. But that doesn't mean he has lost his ambition.
About the culture and stereotypes, this reminded me of a newscast I saw a couple of nights ago, when the military investigated an all Hispanic regiment in the National Guard for gang activity. Sure, Hispanics, not to mentioned whites and African Americans, participate in gang activity, but not all do. The officials were being stereotypical, even if it was/was not true. That was just a connection I had.
Laura F,I think the first generation of Japanese have a lot more loyalty, then the later genrations. The later generations grow more like Americans.
Madison: I agree with you. In many instances the hates etc. of parents are passed on to their children simply because they grow up with them for the first few years of their lives and parents obviously have a HUGE influence on the thought processes of their children. So an example of this in FTM is how Papa forced into Jeanne's mind in Manzanar that she shouldn't be Catholic because Catholics are... I don't know what exactly he said but you get the point. So are kids steretypical because they learn it from their parents?
Why do we focus more on negatives than positive in our media?
Emily--Are you saying the American culture lacks loyalty? In a way I kind of agree, especially because of the position they put the Japan-Ams in
Sarah, well couldnt that be looked at in the same light? The Japanese went through a time of mistreatement, just like the African Americans went through a time of slavery.
Riley, his honor was really low in HIS OWN PEOPLE. This took away his ambition to do anything accept brew his beer.
I can see how this connects back to 1984 with how the media controls information. The United States was still ignorant about racism. The media was like "the Japanese are bad" and people believed it. People have still not learned that the media is a huge lie.
The Japanese time was shorter, though, and they also were protected. Outside the camps, people were hurting Japanese americans, so they cold see the camps as a protection.
Shelbyb-After thinking and hearing other people talk:I think we are stereotypical because of the media. The media (movies are a prime example) presents stories, and we don't know the entire truth, so we believe just what is given to us.Propaganda also gave the stereotype of Japanese during WWII, which was a cariticutre (spl?) of Tojo, the military leader of Japan during the time.
Maria:I am NOT saying that. I am saying that their loyalty changes.
sarah-he ran away from his own people. Why did he come to the U.S.?What do you think was his ambition?
Zach, nice stories about how fluffy bunnies shared their candy with the squirrels are not exciting and violent. Gang shootouts and car accidents are both exciting and violent. Besides, isn't conflict the essence of entertainment?
Danh,I agree with what you are saying: children are strongly influenced in opinion by the opinions of their parents. Like I was saying, many African Americans feel that they do not like white people because their past generations of family members were mistreated, even though they personally have not been mistreated.
erin,Are people ignorant of the fact that the media lies, or do the people just not care about the lies?
Sarah,why does it matter that the time the Japanese were treated was shorter? Wasnt it just as cruel? Werent the Americans just as wrong in mistreating the Japanese as they were in treating the African Americans?
Riley,His ambition was to make it in the world and provide for his family.He came to the US because he felt that his family was in disgrace and that the US was a land of opportunity.
Emily--Good point. Do you think Papa and his family's loyalty has changed?
Zach: In the media, they definitly focus more on the negative as opposed to the positive. I don't remember the last time when I watched something good on the news. Also, it depends on the "state of the union". If the country is having good times, then the stories will be good, if it is having a bad time, the news will be bad. The media feeds off everyone's feelings to make their stories. Just my thoughts.
zachf- Good question. I dont know the answere to that. In what ways do you think that relates to this book?
Yes madison, but the Japanese had a love for America before the war, while Blacks were slaves from the beginning and hated Americans from the beginning.
so sarah- you think he has completely given up on his family? He's lost that ambition?
Madison--What about the other internment camps? Like the Italian and few German camps? Were they as bad as the Japanese interment camps?
Sarah, I think people are ignorant of the fact that the media lies because they have never seen them not lie.
Sarah,but the Black people came to the United States to be Americans not to be slaves. Some blacks were brought to the US without choice, but didnt other Black people come intending to be Americans? After all, they didnt leave after they were freed; they stayed to be Americans.
Sarah- That the thing that bothers me. People believe it, and I don't know if they know its real or not. i know that I don't watch the news because it annoys me, and that I don't like they there is always bad and sad stories. I think that my parents know that the media lies, but they watch it anyways.
no, riley, he hasn't given up on his family, but he has lost hte ability to do what he wants, so he lost ths want to try to fight the system and take care of his family.
Tom I agree violence sells, I was talking about from a war stand point... for example if a we raid Baghdad and kill 15 insurgents but hit 5 kids too, what is the media going to show?
Madison, to get to the bottom of the Black story, you have to go back to the origins of the slave trade where blacks were all brought against their will, save a few.
I think media rarely says complete lies. I think it cuts the things that it doesn't like.
Maria,I think that racism is always bad, and is equally bad, not to belittle the sittuations that were obviously more serious than others, but they are still just as morally bad. Just like saying all sin is sin: All racism is racism.
anna,The media used to tell the truth, a long time ago...
But still, just as Maria was saying: Isnt mistreatment of people all the same? Mistreatment of slaves is the same as mistreatmen of any person: Mistreatment is mistreatment. Cruelty is cruelty.
Just so you all know: We have officially passed Period 2's number of posts.
yes, but the DEPTH is the key. The LONGEVITY of the mistreatment is key.
Why does the time the mistreatment was indured make it any different? Why is it any different at all? If someone hated someone for a day, wouldnt they be just as upset as if they knew someone had hated them for a week? People are hurt when they are discriminated against, it doenst matter for how long.
Madison, is mistreatment of a mass murderer the same as the mistreatment of Gandhi? Or a baby?
Madison, the LONGEVITY effects how long it will take to FORGIVE.
Tom and Sarah, I am not saying that every mistreatment is 'the same' in the sense that the punnishment should be the same or they should be treated the same afterwards, but back to the main point: the mistreatment of the Japanese was just as severe as the African Americans in the sense that it was wrong, and it was morally unjust.
Let's get this party... ENDED! (For the rest of our freshman year sniff sniff)And don't forget, we have 4 school days till finals.And 70 days till HPDH.And 62 days till OotP.For the last time ever, this is Dan signing out. Remember me always.
no, it wasn't as severe. The blacks were whipped and beaten, the Japanese were just put into camps, and the camps eventually became livable.
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