2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

"A Feminist Reading of Kamila Shamsie's Burnt Shadows"
Madeline J. Watson
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In Kamila Shamsie's novel, Burnt Shadows, the protagonist Hiroko Tanaka is one of few survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki and is left with three bird shaped scars on her back. Birds symbolize spirituality and in feng shui, the opportunities that arise from difficulty. The novel focuses on the disruption that the bombing causes in Tanaka's personal life but also on the ways in which Tanaka is able to adopt new identities. My paper will focus on the protagonist's experiences as a female who is forced to relocate several times and the societal upheaval she encounters. The country's attempt at recovery and the political implications that the attack has on the world will also be examined. I will focus on the novel's theme of personal loss as it relates to larger, worldwide tragedies and the political comparisons that can be drawn between major events in world history.

Keywords: Burnt Shadows, Feminist Criticism, symbolism, loss

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 312-2
Location: VH 1408
Time: 1:15

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