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Fragmentary Identity and Survival

Fragmentary Identity and Survival

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Fragmentary Identity and Survival

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  1. Fragmentary Identity and Survival In Obasan Part II Kate Liu

  2. Image source: http://canada.gc.ca/canadiana/map_e.html Map

  3. 1972 | | 1954 Chap 1: 8/9 1972 --1954Granton —1951(the bombing of Nagasaki) — Chap 2:9/13, 1972 Uncle’s death Chap 3:back to Obasan’s house, question about the mother Chap 4:memories of the family (stone bread) Chap 5: Obasan in the attic, memory as spider Obasan: Time Line & Plot (1)

  4. 1972 | | 1941 Chap 6: nightmare Chap 7: Emily’s package—her last visit and the question if Naomi wants to know “everything” Chap 8: Obasan lady of the leftovers Chap 9:starts to remember-from the photo to memories of the house p. 50 — Chap 10:Momotaro Chap 11: episodes of the white chicken and Old Man Gower Obasan: Time Line & Plot (2)

  5. 1942 train to Slocan Chap 12: —separation starts—the mother first; Chap 13: preparation to leave; Chap 14: bath with Obasan; Emily’s diary (-110) Chap 15:leaving for Slocan Chap 16: the trip to and arrival at Slocan, Stephen’s reaction Chap 17: Nomura-Obasan, Goldilock Obasan: Time Line & Plot (3)

  6. 1942 | 1943 (attend school) Chap 18: Grandma Nakane’s death, wake and cremation, Chap 19: Uncle back, questions about the father, Stephen out of his cast Chap 20: back to school, vegetable garden, Rough Lock Bill, Kenji and the red insect Chap 21: Naomi’s drowning Obasan: Time Line & Plot (4)

  7. 1943 | 1945 1945 to Alberta Ethridge, and then Granton, Barker Farm-- Chap 22-- experiences of hospital and deaths (chicken, kitten) Chap 23-- bathing Chap 24-- father back Chap 25 -- prayer before departure; Chap 26 -- leaving Slocan Obasan: Time Line & Plot (5)

  8. Historical Reconstructions • Three ways of dealing with memories: • Obasan: ancient woman who stays in history • --can be consumed, • --can make use of the leftovers • Emily: “The past is the future” p. 42 • Naomi: “Crimes of history . . . Can stay in history” p. 41

  9. Main topics: • children’s responses to racism and sexism, • their influence on Naomi’s sense of identity, • survival • Question 1: • How does Naomi start to remember? • What does she remember about the Vancouver house?

  10. The Past in Naomi’s memory: • Chap 9: Photograph • two languages; • two spaces -- home and outside • The house and life in Vancouver • bathing -- burning but relaxing water; Grandma’s resourcefulness • a collage of images • Mother, father and Stephen Naomi and goldfish

  11. Sexual Abuse and Racism • Question 3: • Is Naomi completely defenseless in her experience with Old Man Gower? • What does she feel about herself while being molested and afterwards? • How is Old Man Gower related to racism against the Japanese? Chap 12

  12. Question 2: the significance of the story Momotaro? • The other fairy-tales: • Snow White: end of Chap 11 • Humpty Dumpty end of Chap 15; • Goldilock chap 17, • All revisions of the fairy-tales show the child’s way of apprehending racism and displacement • the chicken episode Chap 11

  13. The Children’s responses to racism (1) • A riddle: end of Chap 12; fear Chap 13; • Naomi: sense of guilt; end of Chap 11 • Naomi’s nightmares: chaps 6; 11; 35 • Naomi as a victim, • like a red insect chap 21,p. 140, 142 King bird • little chicken chap 22 • Naomi’s experience of death

  14. The Children’s responses to racism (2) • Stephen (and the butterflies): end of Chaps 15 & 16 • Kenji, his raft and his glasses • The boys’ Chap 22 violence against the white Chicken • Stephen, Sho and the other boys

  15. Survival • Beginning of Chap 15 “We are the hammers and chisels in the hands of would be sculptors, battering the spirit of the sleeping mountain. We are the chips and sand, the fragments of fragments tha fly like arrows from the heart of the rock. We are the silences that speak from stone. We are the despised. . . We are those pioneers who cleared the bush and the forest with our hands, the gardeners tending and attending the soil with our tenderness . . .

  16. The Adults’ adaptation • Rough Lock Bill Chap 21 slow can go p. 146 • The uncle’s garden Chap 20 • Local community Chap 23: • stores, • public bathhouse “like a hazy happy dream” (internal discrimination) • The return of the father

  17. Conclusion • From dis-member • to remember • to re-member

  18. —1948— 1949 Father about to die— 1950 Father’s death; two bedroom house in town-- 1951, Penny Barker 1954, Emily’s first visit ”Kodomo no tame” “they should be told” Chaps 27- 31 experience at Granton: fly, dust, school, the swamp, missing the father, raising a frog Chap 32: moving, starts to talk about the mother Chap 33: Emily’s first visit Obasan: Time Line & Plot (6)