Analysis Of Obasan By Joy Kogawa

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In Obasan, Joy Kogawa explores a woman’s past through conflict, themes of silence and prejudice presenting her traumatic story in an unthreatening manner suggesting it is possible to heal from trauma. Obasan is a powerful novel written through the perspective of Naomi Nakane, who is the protagonist of the novel. The novel’s core is based on the memories and experiences of Naomi. The setting is Western Canada and the novel goes back and forth between 1972 and World War II during the internment of Japanese-Canadians. Kogawa presents Naomi’s story in an unthreatening manner as a way to bring recognition of the horrific events in Canadian past as Karpinski argues that, “Obasan deliberately presents itself as unthreatening …Constantly facing the risk of provoking a potentially defensive and hostile reaction among white Canadian readers” (54). Obasan centres around the conflicts of the Japanese Canadian internment and the emotional, physical, and hardships that fell on the Japanese during and after the war. Kogawa conveys that past events can impact an individual's life due to the traumatizing memories and cause them to feel conflicted, but it is possible for them to heal from such trauma. For instance, one of Naomi’s earliest traumatic memories was when she was molested by Old Man Gower, a family friend of hers. When she recalls the vivid images of Old Man Gower sexually abusing her, she claims that it was “unthinkable to be held by [such] force” (67-68). Naomi cannot even bear

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