Farewell

Farewell

Basically, the study of history relies on both primary and secondary sources. Both primary and secondary sources are valuable since they provide readers with a very valuable information concerning the history and it is hardly possible to estimate that either source is more valuable. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the abilities and experience of a researcher or learner of history, it is possible to distinguish primary sources as more valuable than secondary sources.
First of all, it should be said that primary sources are focused on the depiction of events or historical facts that were witnessed by the author of the source. Obviously, such historical evidences are very useful for learner because the primary source helps to construct a vivid picture concerning the specific period in history. For instance, it is possible to refer to “Farewell to Manzanar” where the author depicts her personal experience of being a prisoner at the Manzanar concentration camp in the USA during the government’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Due to the author’s witnesses it is possible to learn in details the life of Japanese Americans in concentration camps, uncover the violation of their civil rights and injustice of the official policy of the US to Japanese Americans during World War II.
On the other hand, this source cannot be absolutely reliable because the author provides her own, personal vision of her experience during World War II. What is meant here is the fact that the major problem of primary sources, such as “Farewell to Manzanar” is the high degree of subjectivity. It proves beyond a doubt that authors of primary sources are affected by their environment. For instance, they may sincerely support the dominant ideology, such as fascism, and they will justify the policy conducted in terms of this ideology, though, objectively speaking, such ideologies as fascism are characterized by the violation of human rights and crimes against humanity. In such a situation, it is very important for a learner or researcher to clearly distinguish the personal, subjective view or opinion of the author of the primary source and the factual information that is the most valuable in primary sources.
In this respect, secondary sources are quite different from primary sources. For instance, “In the Strawberry Fields” is focused on the same epoch and problem that “Farewell to Manzanar” but this work represents the evaluation of historical events that took place in the past. It is important to underline that authors of secondary sources provide learners and researchers with processed information, which they have already analyzed and evaluated. However, their interpretation is not always correct because the analyze history in retrospection. Hence, their view of history may be affected by the contemporary historical context, existing beliefs, stereotypes and biases. Consequently, a learner cannot totally rely on secondary sources.
Thus, unlike primary sources, secondary sources provide learners with information that has been interpreted and analyzed by the author and, therefore, it is more difficult for a learner to make a definite conclusion concerning the extent to which the information presented in the secondary source mirrors the actual historical situation.


References:
In the Strawberry Field.
Wakatsuki, J. Farewell to Manzanar. New York: Laurel Leaf, 1972.