2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Things Incapable of Communication: Ambiguity and Absurdity in Post-War Japan
Janna E. Langholz
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

There are many things that are shown and not told in Kenzaburo Oe's "The Silent Cry". On page 18 of the novel, Oe writes, "that it is precisely because of the things incapable of communication that the deceased has chosen death," in reference to the unusual suicide of the Mitsusaburo Nedokoro's close friend. The question I ask is why emotions such as anger and feelings of detachment cannot be communicated in any other way except through actions that border on the absurd. It is perhaps only within the emotional confines of the society the characters inhabit that these kinds of emotions are rendered absurd, preventing them from being validated as human and necessary. My paper will explore the idiosyncratic ways that emotions such as these manifest themselves in the world that Oe creates as well as how these expressions are reflected by Japanese society and the post-war environment of the early 1960s.

Keywords: Kenzaburo Oe, The Silent Cry, post-war Japanese literature, ambiguity, absurdity

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 39-2
Location: VH 1408
Time: 3:00

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