An analysis of joy kogawa s obasan
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An Analysis of Joy Kogawa’s Obasan. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein. Theme.

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An Analysis of Joy Kogawa’s Obasan

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An analysis of joy kogawa s obasan

An Analysis of Joy Kogawa’s Obasan

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

-Albert Einstein


Theme

Theme

Without letting go of the oppressive past people and communities will be weighed down by it preventing them from moving forward into a more prosperous future.


Techniques

Techniques

  • Loose sentence structure

  • Simple sentence structure

  • Periodic sentence structure

  • Sensory Imagery

    • Animal symbolism

    • Fruit Symbolisms

  • Repetition

  • Metaphor


Loose sentence structure represents the power of the past

Loose sentence structure represents the power of the past

  • Line 2: “Behind us lies a salty sea, within which swim our drowning specks of memory-our small waterlogged eulogies”

  • Line 5 “We are going down to the middle of the Earth with pick-axe eyes, tunneling by train to the interior, carried along by the momentum of the expulsion into the waiting wilderness”


Repetition emphasizes the identity loss the japanese underwent due to their oppressive past

Repetition emphasizes the identity loss the Japanese underwent due to their oppressive past.

  • Line 10: “We are chips in the sand, the fragments of fragments”

  • Line 18: “We are sent to Siloam, the pool called “Sent”

  • Line 13: “We are the despised rendered voiceless”


Metaphor

Metaphor

  • Line 18: “We are sent to Siloam, the pool called “Sent”

  • Line 9: “We are hammers and chisels in the hands of would-be sculptors, battering the spirit of the sleeping mountain”

  • Line 11: “We are going down to the middle of the Earth with pick-axe eyes, tunneling by train to the interior, carried along by the momentum of the expulsion into the waiting wilderness”


An analysis of joy kogawa s obasan

Animal Symbolism alludes to the future lifestyle of the Japanese Canadians after being uprooted from their life by an oppressive government.

  • Line 51-53: My red umbrella with itsknobby clear red handle sticks out of a box like the head of an exotic bird.


Animal symbolism

Animal Symbolism

  • Lines 60-64: A few seats in front, one young woman is sitting with her narrow shoulders hunched over a tiny red faced baby. Her short black hair falls into her birdlike face. She is so young, I would call her “o-nesan,” older sister.

  • Lines 53-59: In the seat behind us is a boy in short gray pants and jacket carrying a wooden slatted box with a tabby kitten inside. He is trying to distract the kitten with his finger but the kitten mews and mews, its mouth opening and closing. Can barely hear its high steady cry in the clackity-clack and streamy hiss of the train.


An analysis of joy kogawa s obasan

Japanese style/diction shows how the evicted Japanese people will depend on each other for the future if they want to remain notable in their oppressive nation.

  • Joy Kogawa uses Japanese words for family members to address the strangers on the train in order to emphasize the loss of a community that she addresses on line 27. O-nesan, Kawaisao, ojisan, obasan, obasan, kuniko-san.


Fruit symbolism illustrates the future of renewed life through the community

Fruit symbolism illustrates the future of renewed life through the community

  • Line 46: The train smells of oil and soot and orange peels and lurches groggily as we rock out way inland.

  • Line 86: Obasan hands me an orange from a wicker basket and gestures towards Kuniko-san, indicating that I should take her the gift. But I pull back.

  • Line 93: She shakes open a furoshiki…and places a towel and some apples and oranges in it.


Simple sentences reveal the dream like state of the painful ordeal

Simple Sentences reveal the dream-like state of the painful ordeal

  • Lines 29-31

  • “The memories are dream images.”

  • “A pile of luggage in a large hall. Missionaries at the railway station handing out packages of toys.”


Periodic sentences reveal the growth and the closeness of the community

Periodic sentences reveal the growth and the closeness of the community

  • Lines 43-45: “Not one uncle or aunt, grandfather or grandmother, brother or sister, not one of us on this journey returns home again.”


First person pov gives the distant tone of the author next to her surrounding community

First Person POV gives the distant tone of the author next to her surrounding community

  • Line 33-38: “I am a small child resting my head in Obasan’s lap. I am wearing a wine-coloured dirndl skirt with straps that criss-cross at the back. My white silk blouse has a Peter Pan collar dotted with tiny red flowers. I have a wine-coloured sweater with ivory duck buttons.”


Connection

Connection

Joy Kogawa’sObasan, she reveals the theme for letting go of the oppressive past in order to build a future. In Lincoln’s second inaugural address, he also alludes towards this theme as he encourages the people who are angered about the war to accept what God gave them and to move on in a unified country.

Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. ….Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh."


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