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leighvmewithmyimagination
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

Oe uses lots of descriptions involving animals.  Why?

The calf's liver mouths

The lobster claw of fatigue

A dead rat for his stuff about Africa

Abrubtly as a badger

Examining an octopus in a water tank

A voice like the whine of a mosquito

Like a circus tiger ready to leap

There are tons and tons.

 

Why did Bird give up his job so easily?  Is he wanting to give up everything because he cant' live his African dream?  It would have been so easy for him to lie and the students were willing to back him!

 

There's a lot of suicide in Bird's life:  the madman he found hanging, his father, and now people are thinking he might kill himself.  What's the significance?

 

And again with the homosexuality.  Himiko now admits she's been with her friend from time to time.  She keeps proving to the reader that she's lost her morality like she claimed early on.

__________
See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see...out of fear, conformity, or laziness. See the whole world anew each day.
~Patch Adams~
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mwinasu
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

You ask really good questions and I am not sure I know the answers to these,  but I will try. This book was written in Japanese and I think that those wacky phrases were Oe's way of  trying to blend two very different languages.  It is sort of like Wasabi mayonaise or avacado ice cream; it is different but not bad whenyou get used to it.  You are right about him using animal symbols.  I had not realized it .  Thank you.  I will give that some thought.

I believe that all of these people  were involved in Oe's life at some point. Himiko is probably another author; and ,although I have a good idea of who he meant  I want to keep that to myself.  Himiko is quite the hippie chick isn't she?  She helps Bird get over his impotence and gives him a safe place to hide. Again, the sex is actually about politics.  I have to go now,  but can you see how he used sex to describe how polar opposites become reconciled?  Think about how republicans must be feeling right now and how they are reacting to their own two headed baby.

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leighvmewithmyimagination
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

What significance does the international incident with Mr. Delchef have?  It's a theme spanning several chapters.

 

Are the big lady's fond feelings for Mr. Delchef supposed to relate to Japan's feelings for America?  And what of Delchef's relationship with a girl who can't understand him?  Two cultures trying to get along?

 

The quote from Kafka must have been quite a blow to Bird.  "The only thing a parent can do for a child is to welcome it when it arrives."  Bird couldn't even respond to his friend. 

__________
See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see...out of fear, conformity, or laziness. See the whole world anew each day.
~Patch Adams~
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leighvmewithmyimagination
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

In chapter 11 I think Bird finally figures out that what he thought he wanted isn't turning out to be so great.  The idea that the grass is always greener on the other side, comes to mind.

 

I found it slightly humorous that throughout the whole book Bird doesn't care about the baby....let it starve to death, calling it a monster, etc.  Then, when he's taking it to be killed he concerned that the baby might be getting rained on.  Why?  It was weird that he would care so much about something that wouldn't matter if he really wanted that baby dead.  We are finally seeing that he has a heart, a caring soul in all that wretchedness.

__________
See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see...out of fear, conformity, or laziness. See the whole world anew each day.
~Patch Adams~
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leighvmewithmyimagination
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

In the first of chapter 12 the color green seems to be very important.  Why?  I was guessing it went along with my idea of "the grass is always greener...."  but that was pure speculation.

 

There seems to be a recurring theme of abandonment:  Bird's father abandoned Bird, Bird abandoned Kikuhiko, Bird abandoned the baby, and Bird abandoned his wife.  Does this have something to do with the government abandoning the people of Japan in a time of need?

 

Bird seemed to have a string of bad luck on his way to kill the baby....

The car tire is stolen

He hits his ear on the roof of the car

Seeing the dead bird in the road

Then hitting a pothole

Hitting his hands on the dashboard

Getting lost on the way to the clinic

Could this all be a sign from a higher being telling him not to go through with it?  Is Bird a religious man?  Are any of the characters?  I don't remember reading about it if they were.

__________
See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see...out of fear, conformity, or laziness. See the whole world anew each day.
~Patch Adams~
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leighvmewithmyimagination
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

There is a notion of fear in chapter 13:  Kikuhiko is afraid and then Bird is afraid of death (or was).  Why does this topic come up? 

 

As I was reading the last chapter, I found myself feeling sorry for Bird (even though I hate him).  He is 27, and has so much to be responsible for.  I'm younger than Bird and I can't imagine having so much to juggle.  It's no wonder he's lost it.

 

Before I read the father-in-law's statements about Bird becomming a man I was thinking it.  This was his coming of age, he began the story as a boy (using his nickname from childhood) and he ends the story as a man.  His trials with his son turned him into a decent man, one who will take responsiblity in years to come. 

 

__________
See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see...out of fear, conformity, or laziness. See the whole world anew each day.
~Patch Adams~
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mwinasu
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

Sorry, it has been pretty hectic here but now things are looking good and I can concentrate a little better. 

First, you know how people in AA are expected to take responsibility for their actions and apologize for the things they have done while drinking?  Although it is not certain whether Bird will lose his job, he takes responsibility for his behavior and apologizes to the Head of the school.  It is an acknowledgement that our behavior has significant impact on the way our world is created.  Everything we do should consistently focus on creating a harmonious world no matter how unhappy we may be with the way things are.  That means everyone doing what they can to improve the little piece of reality that they inhabit. That is why Bird finally grabs hold of himself and stops being so  self destructive.  Extremism only leads to unhappiness.

 

I read somewhere that in the west people kill themselves because they are mentally ill,in Japan they kill themselves for honor, and in China they kill themselves for revenge. Since Bird sees himself as the baby and he is trying to kill the baby then I think it is OK to assume that Bird is suicidal.  What does that mean?  I am not sure, but I wonder if we should consider Nathan Hale a suicide .

 

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mwinasu
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

I do not know the significance of Mr.. Delchef.  I suspect he is supposed to represent Khrushchev only because Oe has a habit of playing with names.  It could be a reference to the communist party in Japan but I just do not know for sure.  It is the same with the references to the Nuclear testing.  He might have been talking about a different nation.  American, Chinese, Russian I do not know.  If you want to know, try doing a little research and see if you can come up with something.

  I wanted to talk about Bird's wife for a moment.  She represents Bird's better half, his moral center and self worth ,and the Grapefruit was his realization and acknowledgement  that he was wrong.  The color green usually shows rebirth or healing or a new beginning.  I have had a great time.  Thank you.

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leighvmewithmyimagination
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

I really enjoyed this book! I'm so glad you recommended it! I thought it was better than The Lake by a long shot.

 

I'd love to read and discuss another book, but I'm reading Our Lady of the Forest right now and then I've promised my boyfriend that I'll read Les Miserables next, so it might be awhile before I'm done with that monstrosity (I guess I read slow, he started reading a book two days ago and finished last night and has already started something else. I sit around all day long every day and can't finish a book that quick.) But....if you want we can pick another book and then if we need to find it we'll have time.

 

What kind of books do you enjoy reading and discussing? I'm pretty much up for anything. Even if it's terrible I'll finish it.  I've got close to 900 books so chances are good that I'll have a certain book.  For fun and entertainment I read Nicholas Sparks, Janet Evanovich, Stephen King, Tim LaHaye, Dean Koontz.  Recommended by others and the books that are real thinkers I have Jerzy Kosinski, most of the Oprah book club selection, most all of the popular classics, and John Steinbeck that I borrowed from my grandpa.

 

If you want to do this again just let me know....I hope to get better with the analytical thinking part of it.  I was always such a slacker in school and so I never developed that part of the process, but I think with time and practice I'll get better.  It helps discussing with someone else, it makes me think of things I hadn't and then I can go back and see it from a different point of view!  It's very theraputic.  So....suggest another and we can get after it!

__________
See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see...out of fear, conformity, or laziness. See the whole world anew each day.
~Patch Adams~
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mwinasu
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Re: Kenzaburo Oe: A Personal Matter

Of all the writers you mentioned I have only read Stephen King.  Back inthe day I thought he was pretty hot stuff.  Now I read books that most people never heard of.  I like the exotic.  I would like to discuss another Nobel Winner if you do not mind.  But since I picked the last maybe you should pick this one.  I am open to anything you choose to do.