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In the spring of 1943, the Wakatsukis shift to another block in Manzanar. Block 28 is prettier and more spacious; it is also located near picturesque pear orchards that will become Ko's life. Security is also eased, improving living conditions. Ko keeps himself busy carving, painting and making a rock garden. The Wakatsukis, as well as the other internees, have come to accept their imprisonment as a way of life and try to make Manzanar more habitable. Concerts, dances, movies, clubs, and social events create a new atmosphere of "normality" in Manzanar. While some Japanese are now being allowed to leave the camp, others remain simply because it is easier than facing a tense, often inhospitable world that still does not trust them. Woody convinces his family that Manzanar is the best place for them for the present.
At the end of the chapter, Jeanne describes a woman walking by the edge of the camp with her dog. The barbed wires are out of sight behind her. Though they still adorn the camp, they have lost some of their power, especially since some of the Japanese have now gone beyond them. The picture that Jeanne sees is symbolic: Manzanar has lost its confining power.
Through the description of Manzanar in this chapter, it is obvious that the tense and frustrated atmosphere of the camp has become a thing of the past. Life for the Japanese-Americans has become more pleasant and "normal," and Manzanar offers them a safe environment away from a society that still does not trust them. Though some Japanese-Americans have been allowed to leave the camp, the Wakatsukis choose to remain for the present, for the war is still not over.
Ko has come to terms with some of his sense of anguish. He finds some small pleasure in carving, painting and making a rock garden. Jeanne sums up his newfound peace with this description of Mount Whitney, the California mountain that reminds Ko of Japan's Mount Fujiyama. She understands that there are "powerful and inevitable forces that cannot be resisted" and that "remind a man that sometimes he must simply endure that which cannot be changed."
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. 09 May 2017