21 ene. 2015
15 sept. 2013
Canada's History through the Eyes of the Untold/Unofficial stories of marginalized characters in Miuchael Ondaatje's "In the Skin of a Lion" &sw Joy Kogawa's "Obasan"
When talking about Canada as a country and its own History, we get to know that Canada has long been characterized by a diverse ethnic composition. Diversity is one of its main characteristics. According to Prof. Sandra Fadda in "Canadians in Canada", "The process of peopling Canada can be divided into five phases: 1) From its origin to the end of the 19th century, 2) From 1896 to 1914, 3) From the end of WWI until 1929, 4) the post-WWII period, 5) The 1950s and 1960s". Taking this into account, what Marta Dvorak states holds true in Canada: "...a large part of literature in Canada has long been generated by first-generation or second-generation immigrants coming to term with displacement and relocation...". This is why the evolution of literary works according to Dvorak: "...reflects a shift from 1867 to the beginning of the twenty-first century when... (immigrants)...account for one-third of the population with a high proportion of Asians...". Among these minority writers there are the ones who started writing and using historiographic metafiction so as to open up the gaps for the reconstruction of Canada's History through the eyes of the marginalized characters. Linda Hutcheon was the first one to coin the phrase "Canadian Historiographic Metafiction" to describe the emerging literary genre that focuses on the act of writing about Canadian History and identity by fictionalizing its historical past.
In the case of Kogawa's novel, we can see a clear identification of the suffering of Japanese-Canadians prior to and after WWII and the Pearl Harbor bombing. Kogawa's historiographic metafictional novel weaves together three different fragmented stories: Naomi's childhood, the official documented versions of events in Canada, and experiences before and after the war as they are described in Emily's diary. That is how Kogawa, through the process of reconstructing the discursive history of Naomi as the narrator of Obasan, makes her learn the importance of giving voice to those who were left aside. There is a need to compensate for the stories of those Japanese Canadians whom Canadian story omitted. In her novel, Kogawa is ready to reject the assumptions of Western historicism in order to challenge the previous tradition by telling her side of the story and denouncing different mistreatments. This is stated even before she begins writing her novel: "Although this novel is based on historical events and many of the persons named are real, most of the characters are fictional...” Through Obasan, Kogawa intends to show those stories behind the official one of Canada; she denounces mistreatments of Japanese people through the character of Aunt Emily. For instance, Aunt Emily states: "... The Japanese American were interned as we were in Canada, and sent off to concentration camps, but their property wasn't liquidated as our was (...) we never recovered from the dispersal policy" (Page 35). Throughout the novel, this idea of Japanese Canadians being stripped of their possessions affected a large percentage of them, including Naomi's uncle: "...uncle was too taken away, wearing a shirt, jacket and dungarees. He had no provisions nor he did have an idea where the gunboats were heading him and the other Japanese fishermen in the impounded fishing fleet" (Page 22). And also, as Ondaatje presented in his novel, it is a way of making her character aware of the importance of giving away their stories, the value of voicing and exploring.
11 sept. 2010
10 abr. 2010
In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, the character of Iago is a complex one who has a very deep psychological insight as well as a great capacity to manipulate people. In Othello, Iago is the Villain who brings about the final destruction of the Hero – Othello. Iago personifies the traits of deceit and revenge and is presented as the embodiment of Evil. The development of Othello centers around the rising jealousy of the antagonist as the vehicle which produces Othello’s downfall. Moreover, Iago possesses a powerful intellectual capacity to manipulate the other characters. However, Iago acts with the most perfect indifference to good or evil, or with a preference for the latter. He is nearly as indifferent to his own fate as to that of others characters; he runs all risks for a doubtful advantage. From the beginning of the play, Iago makes it clear that his goal is to destroy Othello by any means possible. Consequently, it is important to notice that there no apparent and/or defined reasons to do so; however, we can say that Iago has been moved by hatred of good and delight in causing pain, marital and professional jealousy, overwhelming ambition, and perverted intellectual amusement.
Considering the fact that Iago seeks for hatred of good and delight in causing pain, we can say that he was willing to make anyone’s life miserable by taking revenge on them at the slightest provocation and enjoys the pain and damage he causes. This can be seen throughout the whole play which ends tragically since Iago’s hatred poisoned everyone’s mind, setting the characters against each other. For instance, by attempting to help Cassio, Desdemona’s credit was undone in Othello’s eyes generating an uncontrollable feeling of hatred and jealousy. This eventually, turned up as the cause of Iago planting the seed of doubt in Othello’s mind about his wife being adulterous. However, as the play unfolds, Emilia becomes suspicious of Othello’s development of jealousy and finally finds out the truth and reveals Iago’s plot to Othello, but too late, when their fate is already written. This is yet another vicious act to show the true evil Iago represents but Othello finally realizes after being fooled into murder: “I look down towards his feet – but that’s a fable / If that thou be’st a devil, / I cannot kill thee” (Act V, Scene II( and Iago replies: “I bleed sir, / but not killed” which his final statement that truly shows openly his belief in evil. That is the destruction of all that is good: Hell over Heaven and Black over White. Iago, as a representation of evil, has one major motivational factor that leads him to lie, cheat, and commit crimes on other characters. This motivation is the destruction of all that is good and the rise of evil.
As regards professional jealousy, the first and most obvious reason for Iago’s desire to undermine Othello is the fact that he was passed over for pa promotion to be a lieutenant. However, the motivations of Iago are quite ambiguous and seem to originate in an obsessive delight in manipulation and destruction which stems from his overwhelming unhappiness. Othello is the Moor of Venice who has just married Desdemona (a senator’s daughter) and he has just promoted Cassio to the position of lieutenant, which provokes anger in Iago. Such anger seems to stem from the fact that Cassio was passed over for the position of lieutenant, whixh arises Iago’s jealousy: “In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, / Off-capd to him; and by the faith of man / I know my price, I am no worse a place / But he, as loving as his own pride and purposes, / Evades them with a bombast circumstance / Horribly stuffed with epithets of war, / Nonsuits my mediators; for “certes” says he; / “I have already chose my officer”.” (Act I, Scene I). Considering marital jealousy, we can exemplify it with Act I, Scene II, in which Iago states his belief that Emilia (his wife) committed adultery with Othello: “It is thought abroad that “twixt my sheets / He has done my office” (Act I, Scene III). These suspicions are raised again when Iago explains that he lusts after Desdemona as part of his plan to get even with Othello “wife for wife”: “The Moor – how be’t that I endure him not - / And I dare think he’ll prove to Desdemona / A most dear husband. Now I do love her too, / Not out of absolute lust” (Act II, Scene I). However, these suspicions do not fully explain the story behind Iago’s hatred for Othello, nor do they give him motivation for destroying the other characters. Besides, another fact that it is important to take into consideration is the jealousy that had aroused in Othello’s eyes because of Iago, and the fact that he had warned Othello: “O, Beware, my lord, of jealousy / It is the green-eyed monster / which doth mock the meat it feeds on” (Act III, Scene III), telling Othello that jealousy can take over and make things appear differently that they are in reality. Also, Iago reminds Othello that Desdemona deceived her father in marrying him and she could do the same to him. And to make things looks worse, Iago tells Othello to “look for his wife, observe her well with Cassio” (Act III, Scene III) since Iago wanted Othello to look deeper into the relationship of Desdemona and Cassio, where the whole plan of constructing and illusion on the part of Iago, began. As a result of Othello’s trusting nature in Iago’s ideas, Iago could penetrate into Othello’s unsuspecting mind and therein warp his thoughts and actions throughout the course of the play.
Taking into account Iago’s overwhelming ambition, we can say that it is Iago’s talent for understanding and manipulating the desires of those around him that makes him a powerful character who is ready to fulfill his thirst for ambition. We can see this, when he took the handkerchief from Emilia and told Othello about it knowing that he will not doubt him: “I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin, / and let him find it. Trifles light as air / are to the jealous confirmations strong / As proof of holy writ. This may do something / The Moor already changes with my poison. / Dangerous conceits are in their nature” (Act III, Scene III). Through actions like this, Iago inspires trust upon the characters. This shows Othello’s tragic flaw, at this point he is already susceptible to Iago and the jealousy within him begins to lead to the demise of others. By this actions, Othello has isolated himself from everyone except from Iago. This gives Iago the perfect opportunity to complete his course of action. Considering Iago’s desire and ambition for money, Iago’s scenes with Roderigo show his manipulative abilities. Iago tells Roderigo that he needs more money to take Desdemona away from Othello in Act I, Scene II, “Put money in thy purse / Follow thou the wars / defeat they favor with an usurped beard / I say, put money in thy purse / It cannot be long that Desdemona should continue her love to the Moor / Put money in they purse” (Act I, Scene III). He does so, because he says that that is the only way Roderigo can get Desdemona. This may show that one of Iago’s motives could be his ambition for money since he insists that Roderigo needs to give him more money.
If we take Iago’s perverted intellectual amusement as one of his motifs, we can say that by false aspersions and by resenting the most revolting images to Othello’s mind, easily turns the storm of passion from Othello against Desdemona, and works him up to a trembling agony of doubt and fear, in which he abandons all his love and hopes through the construction of an illusion. For instance, in Act III, Scene III: “Now do I see ‘this true / Look here, Iago / All my fond love thus do I blow to Heav’n – ‘Tis gone / Arise, black vengeance from the hollow hell; / Yield up, O love, thy crown and hatred throne / To tyrannous hate! Swell, bosom, with thy fraught, / For ‘tis of aspics’ tongues” in which Othello’s love turns into pure hate. Another intellectual movement performed by Iago van be illustrated in Act IV, Scene I where Othello falls into trance after falling victim to one of Iago’s malicious lies concerning the details of the imaginary affair between Desdemona and Cassio: “Lie with her? Lie on her? We say “lie on her” / Fulsome! / Handkerchief –confessions- handkerchief. To confess and be hanged for this labor. First to be hanged / and then to confess! (…) / Noses, ears, and lips? / Is’t possible? – Confess? – Handkerchief- O devil!” –then Othello falls down on a trance. The lethargy of Othello followed by his physical collapse shows his final capture by Iago and the point where the tragic hero becomes irreversibly cast into a tumult of sin.
Iago’s motives are not clear cut but instead they are a related combination of many things. He is jealous, he has a hatred for good and takes delight in causing pain. He feels and overwhelming ambition, and presents a perverted intellectual amusement. This leads to the tragic ending of the play: Desdemona is murdered by her husband who in turn commits suicide. Emilia is killed by Iago because she revealed the truth. Cassio is the only character that lives to see Iago’s fate.
12 feb. 2010
"The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of being I had created, I rushed out of the room and continued a long time traversing my bedchamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep".
6 feb. 2010
“…—El mundo es eso —reveló—. Un montón de gente, un mar de fueguitos.
Cada persona brilla con luz propia entre todas las demás.
No hay dos fuegos iguales. Hay fuegos grandes y fuegos chicos y fuegos de todos los colores. Hay gente de fuego sereno, que ni se entera del viento, y gente de fuego loco, que llena el aire de chispas.
Algunos fuegos, fuegos bobos, no alumbran ni queman;
pero otros arden la vida con tantas ganas que no se puede mirarlos sin parpadear, y quien se acerca, se enciende.”
30 ene. 2010
18 dic. 2009
Metafiction is a term given to fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality. In providing a critique of their own methods of construction, such writings not only examine the fundamental structures of narrative fiction, they also explore the possible fictionality of the world outside the literary fictional text. (Waugh 2).
Spectrum: Metafiction is thus an elastic term which cover a wide range of fictions. There are those novels at one end of the spectrum which take fictionality as a theme to be explored whose formal self-consciousness is limited. At the center of this spectrum are those texts that manifest the symptoms of formal and ontological insecurity but allow their deconstructions to be finally recontextualized or 'naturalized' and given a total interpretation . . .Finally, at the furthest extreme that, in rejecting realism more thoroughly, posit the world as a fabrication of competing semiotic systems which never correspond to material conditions, ...(Waugh 18-19)
Patricia Waugh makes us point out the similarities among a selection of quotations and she lists three things readers would say:
NOVELS EXPLORE THE THEORY OF FICTION
THROUGH THE PRACTICE OF WRITING FICTION.
Metafiction pays attention to particular conventions of the novel by which the process of its construction is displayed. Novels attempt to create alternative linguistic structures or fictions which imply the old forms by encouraging the reader to draw on his or her knowledge of traditional literary conventions when struggling to construct a meaning for the new text.
A well-made plot
Authoritative omniscient narrator
Atmosphere of certainty
The process of constructing the world is more important than the plot
Unimportance of sequence & details
Plurality of voices
Non rational connections
Atmosphere of uncertainty
17 nov. 2009
Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text (1975)
19 oct. 2009
Beside the armchair where the packet of cookies lay, a man sat down in the next seat, opened his magazine and started reading. When she took out the first cookie, the man took one also. She felt irritated but said nothing. She just thought: “What a nerve! If I was in the mood I would punch him for daring!”
For each cookie she took, the man took one too. This was infuriating her but she didn’t want to cause a scene. When only one cookie remained, she thought: “…What will this abusive man do now?”
Then, the man, taking the last cookie, divided it into half, giving her one half. "Ah! That was too much!" She was much too angry now! In a huff, she took her book, her things and stormed to the boarding place.
When she sat down in her seat, inside the plane, she looked into her purse to take her eyeglasses, and, to her surprise, her packet of cookies was there, untouched, unopened!
She felt so ashamed!! She realized that she was wrong… She had forgotten that her cookies were kept in her purse.
The man had divided his cookies with her, without feeling angered or bitter…while she had been very angry, thinking that she was dividing her cookies with him. And now there was no chance to explain herself…nor to apologize.”
There are 4 things that you cannot recover:
The stone…after the throw!
The word…after it’s said!
The occasion…after the loss!
The time…after it’s gone!