Coming Of Age In A Wartime Environment

1122 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

Jeanne spends most of her adolescence trying to distance herself from her Japanese side in attempts to become accepted. Jeanne is very embarrassed because when her father bows, Jeanne is immediately singled out as different and strange. At this time in Jeanne’s young life, Jeanne is not confident enough or self-assured of who she is. Jeanne does not necessarily wish she is not Japanese, but that she is accepted for who she is.
Jeanne struggles with who she is as well as her personal identity. On Jeanne’s coronation night as carnival queen, Jeanne is very self-conscious and regretful about her humble dress. The other girls are wearing strapless gowns, while Jeanne chose a frilly, concealing dress. As Jeanne completes her processional walk, she begins to doubt herself. “It wasn’t the girl in this old-fashioned dress they had voted for. But if not her, who had they voted for? Somebody I wanted to be. And wasn’t. Who was I then?” (181-182) Jeanne is very confused concerning who she is and as well as what she has become. Jeanne comes to the realization that while trying to become accepted, she loses herself and her identity. Jeanne tries to quiet her Japanese side in attempts to please her peers, but she recognizes that she is unhappy with the result.
Growing up, Anne Frank struggles with her identity as well as figuring out who she is and what type of person she wishes to become. Anne Frank was confined to the Secret Annexe for the last two years of her life. In the Secret Annexe, Anne confided her many conflicting thoughts and changing feelings in her diary. Anne often writes of how she wishes the other members in the Annexe would take her seriously, and discontinue the childish manner in which they condemn her to. Anne enters the Annexe at the age of thirteen and is viewed as a foolish, comical girl. By the age of fifteen, Anne’s character and identity have transformed in to a young woman’s.
Anne was always chided and treated like a girl when she arrives at the Annexe. Anne was not considered to be one with thoughts and opinions of importance. Anne cared only about shallow things such as boys, appearance, and materialistic things. Anne also came off...

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