2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

"A Psychoanalytic Reading of Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask"
Madeline J. Watson
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Yukio Mishima's novel, Confessions of a Mask, is a story about a closeted homosexual living in Japan under an extremely conservative government. According to queer theorist Judith Butler, "disavowal and prohibition of homosexuality are highly productive activities that simultaneously produce and contain homosexuality by suppressing it." In Mishima's novel, the protagonist, Kochan, struggles to assimilate to his oppressive society and therefore adopts an outward appearance as a heterosexual. In my paper, I will examine the psychological impacts that this masked lifestyle has on the protagonist's sexual identity and mental health. Using Butler's idea, I will analyze Kochan's feelings toward the need for suppression of his sexuality and possible reasons for why he denies, but ultimately accepts, his true identity. Society's reactions to homosexuality during the time period, according to the novel, will also be a focus point in my paper, along with a discussion about the role of Kochan's family.

Keywords: Queer Theory, Psychoanalytic Theory, Confessions of a Mask, Japan, Homosexuality

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 212-3
Location: VH 1408
Time: 10:00

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