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Coming of Age in a Wartime Environment

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 03:19 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.9 
  • Words: 1092
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Growing up in a wartime environment affects the identities, confidence and coming of age process for many young adults. For Jeanne Wakatsuki-Houston, World War II had a negative impact on Jeanne’s confidence and appreciation of her Japanese heritage.   For Anne Frank, World War II precipitates Anne’s precious maturity and coming of age process.   World War II consequently forces Anne to grow up and mature much sooner than expected.   Both girls’ identities are also affected and they struggle to find who they are.   These young teenagers, at the height of the war, were at a very important and delicate part of their lives.   Anne Frank and Jeanne Wakatsuki-Houston were each affected greatly by the war, but in different ways and in different scenarios.  

Jeanne Wakatsuki-Houston often felt very unaccepted and self-conscious about her race.   During and after World War II, there was a very negative and cruel attitude towards Japanese-Americans.   Although Jeanne was too young to completely understand the reasons for her family’s internment, on perhaps a subconscious level, it greatly affects how Jeanne grows up and the way she views her heritage.   When she begins to try various activities offered in her internment camp, she shies away from Japanese related hobbies.   Instead, she turns to all-American things such as baton twirling, in hopes of becoming accepted.  

Throughout her adolescence, Jeanne was ashamed of her heritage.   At Jeanne’s scholarship award dinner, her father and mother humiliate her, by creating a palpable diversity between the Wakatsukis and the other families.   “He was unforgivably a foreigner then, foreign to them, foreign to me, foreign to everyone, foreign to everyone but Mama, who sat next to him smiling, with pleased modesty.   Twelve years old at the time, I wanted to scream.   I wanted to slide out of sign under the table and dissolve.” (168) Through this quote, Jeanne shares with the reader her utter mortification from her father’s...

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