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Farewell To Manzanar Lessons and Ideas

Activities
 http://www.historynow.org/06_2008/lp3.html Use this site as a source for an excellent lesson with
interactive teacher modeling and visual archives.
 http://memory.loc.gov/learn/lessons/99/fear/intro.html Full unit on how events were related to each
other and led to Japanese concentration camps.
 Create MovieMaker of Powerpoint presentations using facts and photos about an aspect of the novel.
Include the works cited in the credits. (can use Google Docs for cooperative learning and ease of use)
 Create a report, scrapbook, powerpoint or poster about people who are having their civil rights
disrupted in today’s world. Students draw comparisons between the past and present.

Discussion Questions /Journal Topics


 Who made the decisions about the Japanese-Americans?
 Where were the relocation camps located and what were the conditions?
 Is there a significance to the geographical location of these camps?
 How were the families selected to go to the location camps and what happened to their property?
 How were these people treated in the relocation camps and who was responsible for their welfare?
 What can citizens do to right the wrongs committed by the U.S. government?
 Much of farewell to manzanar deals with Jeanne’s struggle to discover her identity. How does her
Japanese identity conflict with her American identity? How does her experience with prejudice help
her to reconcile the two?
 What is the role of non-Japanese characters in Wakatsuki’s memoir?
 Which of people's rights should be protected by law?
 Under what conditions, if any, might it be justifiable to violate a citizen's legal rights?
 What should people do if they feel that the government is violating their rights? What if they feel that
the government is violating the rights of others?

Suggested Essay Topics


 There are three semifictional chapters in Farewell to Manzanar. Why does Wakatsuki combine
fictionalized elements with the nonfiction of a memoir?
 Discuss the generation gap between Issei immigrants and their Nisei children. How are they different?
What characteristics do they share?
 Upon returning from Manzanar, Jeanne finds that the hatred she must face is very different from the
“dark cloud” she imagined would descend on her. What are the different forms of hatred depicted in
farewell to manzanar, and how do they manifest themselves?
 Wakatsuki never seems bitter about her experience in Manzanar and never directly condemns the
relocation policy. Why does she choose not to pass judgment?
 How does Jeanne’s view of Japanese Americans change throughout the work?
 How does Wakatsuki develop Papa as a tragic figure? Why does she make him so central to her story?
 What are the chief differences between Woody and Papa? How are they similar?
 Wakatsuki gives almost no information about the war in the course of the memoir. Why does she
choose to leave the war out of her story for the most part?

Resources
 http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/manzanar a resource for chapter summaries, theme, etc.

www.EnglishTeachersFriend.com
 http://www.janm.org/collections Japanese American National Museum contains lots of great articles
and historical materials. Check out the letters to Miss Breed, a librarian who wrote back and forth to
children in the camps.
 http://www.asianamericanmedia.org/jainternment Another great site for tons of interactive materials.
 http://www.children-of-the-camps.org captures the experiences of six Americans of Japanese ancestry
who were confined as innocent children to internment camps by the U.S. government during World
War II. Resources page has even more links for further exploration.

www.EnglishTeachersFriend.com