Remembering or misremembering? Historicity and the case of so Far from the Bamboo Grove

Sung-Ae Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A recent controversy in the USA centres on classroom use of Yoko Kawashima Watkins's semi-autobiographical So Far from the Bamboo Grove (1986), a novel focused on the flight of Japanese settler families to Japan after the liberation of Korea at the end of World War II. Taught in a literary and historical vacuum under the thematic umbrella of "courage and survival," the novel has been criticised as an example of "perpetrator as victim" representation. Because of its assumed high "truth value," life-writing positions itself very specifically as a narrative of a "witness" recounting her story. The resultant authentication of suffering may thereby render issues of historicity effectively irrelevant. Diverse interpretative communities may thus read the novel in incompatible ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalChildren's Literature in Education
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

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