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Life on the outside is very difficult for Jeanne. She is denied admission into the Girl Scouts because of her heritage and many parents object to their children's friendship with her. To compensate, she tries to become as American as possible. The more Jeanne tries to portray herself as a typical girl from the United States, the more her father wants to draw her toward her Japanese background. The two opposing forces tear at her, leaving her confused and frustrated. The result is the "double impulse" she speaks of in the title of the chapter. On one hand, she wants to shrink away and be unnoticed so as not to be rejected. On the other hand, she wants to prove her worth; as a result she overachieves, becoming an excellent student and baton twirler. Her father is not so successful. His plans for the cooperative, as well as his attempts at drying seafood, fail miserably.
Jeanne's re-introduction into a normal American classroom is full of anxiety and unhappiness. The other students discriminate against her. They are surprised to find out she can actually speak English, which shocks Jeanne. The alienation continues with her exclusion from groups and friendships. Jeanne blames herself for these rejections and resolves to overcome them by proving herself. She pushes herself to excel in her studies and in baton twirling.
The pressures that she puts herself under, coupled with the discrimination that she feels, transform Jeanne from a happy, energetic child into a self-conscious young girl who would like to become invisible in order to escape the disapproval of others. In an effort to fit in, Jeanne finds herself trying to deny everything Japanese; her denials make her father push her more towards her Japanese heritage.
Eventually, Jeanne's skill in baton twirling gives her some acceptability. She is chosen as the leader in the drum and bugle corps and becomes friends with one of the girls who was surprised that she could speak good English.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Farewell to Manzanar".
. 09 May 2017