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    The Stance of Arrival at Manzanar Essay

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    That was when it was all made painfully clear to me. When you are a child, there is joy. There is laughter. And most of all, there is trust. Trust in your fellows. When you are an adult… then comes suspicion, hatred, and fear. If children ran the world, it would be a place of eternal bliss and cheer. Adults run the world; and there is war, and enmity, and destruction unending… A comic book writer, novelist and among other things, Peter David mentions this of adult and childhood that seems to be truer and wild as the fact our sun is a star. One of the questions that arises is of innocence and how does one be and act so pure?

    In Shikata Ga Nai or Arrival at Manzanar a woman by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and her husband James, combine a described experience when Jeanne was a child and was forced to live out at Owens Valley due to WWII and the Executive Order 9066. In this narrative is an ingenuous seven year old girl explaining what was happening to her and those she knew and cared for all around her by using her feelings, how she defines certain events and the precise words being used in the text that she gives in a level of manner that hints the virtuous of her experience.

    Children’s feelings are very alike to adults, the major difference is as one grows older their feelings can be rationalized and controlled over. Jeanne’s feelings are spotted throughout the text, one that stood out was when she mentioned about the final location she was finally going to arrive to she described she, ” ¦was full of excitement, the way any kid would be, and wanted to look out the window. ? In this I see how she uses her feelings to give her point of view of how like any innocent child, was curious of new things such as where they were going and what adventures were up ahead.

    She then mentions when they finally arrive at their destined location, “But inside the bus no one stirred. No one waved or spoke. They just stared out the windows, ominously silent. I didn’t understand this. Hadn’t we finally arrived, our whole family intact? ? Jeanne’s goes at it again of how curious and decency she was and remembers and tells us of how a seven year old was thinking. Some certain situations that Jeanne went through are very descriptive in a child’s point of tone, when she mentions “I didn’t mind at all at the time. Being youngest meant I got to sleep with Mama.

    And before we went to bed I had a great time jumping up and down on the mattress. The boys had stuffed so much straw into hers, we had to flatten it some so we wouldn’t slide off. ? Jumping up and down the beds, almost all children do so it shows enjoyable easy entertainment but as well as innocent. Jeanne uses a couple of similes and in those similes they appear to be childlike, “Mama’s first concern now was to keep the family together; and once the war began, she felt safer there than isolated racially in Ocean Park. But for me, at age seven, the island was a country as foreign as India or Arabia would have been.

    It was the first time I had lived among other Japanese, or gone to school with them, and I was terrified all the time. ? This passage has a simile but also some feelings aside from it the way she used the simile is quite drastic like a child’s point of view. The most convenient ways for one to show their innocence through a narrative are the way the writer expresses their feelings in a present sort of tone, the way they had reacted to what had happened to them and the specifics of their words through what they experienced, thus this shows how moments of childhood virtuousness gives its point of view in this certain manner.


    Wyrick, Jean. Arrival at Manazar. Steps to Writing Well. 12th ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2014. 676-80. Print.

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