Jeanette Nadeau English 2630 Essay #1 Creation of Community in Citizen 13660 In Citizen 13660, Mine Okubo very often portrays the lack of privacy – whether personal body space or privacy in her own room. The lack of privacy is mentioned several times throughout the book, and also appears in her drawings. On page 76, the lack of privacy is very obvious. She mentions before this page that the women were, at first, very timid about showering in such a public area, but after a while they got used to it (75).
Privacy is an important privilege, but in Okubo’s graphic memoir one is able to see how the absence of this privilege leads to the almost paradoxical creation of a closely knit community. Throughout her book, Okubo talks about several different areas where privacy was seriously lacking. She mentions how it was a common sight to see the older women using pails, dishpans, or tubs to wash in (76), and on page 140, she says, “Those who wished privacy went into the wide open spaces. ” While this statement seems like a contradiction, these situations were fairly normal in the internment camps. Everything that should have been private was not.
Things such as bathing, using the restrooms, and even sleeping were all done in places where there was no privacy. Privacy in the internment camps was almost impossible to achieve. But because these people were forced to live so closely together, a strong sense of community was created. The experiences they were going through were shared – none of them were private because they were all in it together. These shared emotions and feelings formed a powerful impression of togetherness. An example of this “togetherness” is portrayed in pages 180 and 181 where an elderly resident is shot and the people gather for a memorial service.
When you think of a gated community, what comes to mind? Probably things like safety, security, exclusivity, expensive homes, and more. But what else lies behind those gates? Privacy and Security Gated communities provide a lot of benefits to the residents that live within them. The number one reason people choose to live in gated communities is likely the security element. Because gated ...
The women even go so far as to make wreaths out of paper flowers for this resident – a person many of them probably didn’t even know. This sense of community made through the lack of privacy seems like another contradiction, but the things the evacuees were able to achieve together expressed this communal environment. A movement for self government was started by them and this continued on for a while until the army dissolved all self-government bodies (91).
Even with their forms of government being dissolved, they went on to create schools, and Okubo herself taught several classes (92).
Some of the things established and some of the activities enjoyed by those interned might have seemed odd to those outside the camps, but the acts that brought the evacuees together made for a strong society. They were, as a whole, unwilling to give up on the lives they had had to leave outside the camps. The teachers came together to teach, and those with other skills used them to create things – even putting together small art and hobby exhibits (169).
Yet others used their skills to organize gatherings, to beautify their dingy surroundings, and to create victory gardens. These people refused to despair in the face of adversity and hatred.
Instead, they did what they could to improve their existences in the squalid conditions they found themselves living in. When Okubo left the Topaz internment camp, she felt afraid. “Here I was, alone, with no family responsibilities, and yet fear had chained me to the camp. I thought, ‘My God! How do they expect those poor people to leave the one place they call home? ‘” (209) The lack of worldly goods, the lack of human rights, and even the lack of privacy had tied these people so closely together that, for Okubo and probably many others, the thought of leaving was almost terrifying.