22 and 23 Lecture Notes (Obasan Study Guilde)

22 and 23 Lecture Notes (Obasan Study Guilde) - 1 CLT 122...

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CLT 122 SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY: STUDY GUIDE FOR JOY KOGAWA’S OBASAN title: Obasan author : Joy Kogawa type of work: Autobiographical novel genre: collective autobiography narrator: Naomi Nakane point of view: first person tone: sad (elegiac), poetic, reminiscent setting: Canada, in 1972 and during World War II protagonist : Naomi Nakane major conflict: Naomi struggles to understand her past and the experience of her family/community during World War II. rising action: Naomi’s Uncle dies leading to a series of recollections. climax: Naomi discovers why her mother never returned from Japan. falling action: Naomi returns to the coulee. themes: the short term and long term effects of silence on an individual and on a community; social (in)justice; memory; cross-cultural encounters… symbols: the attic in Obasan’s house, chicks and chickens Plot Overview and Study Questions: 1
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On 9 August 1972, Naomi Nakane and her Uncle make their annual visit to the coulee near Granton in Alberta, Canda. Q: What is the significance of this date? Chapter 2: On 13 September 1972, Naomi teaches a class of primary school children and is informed that her Uncle has passed away. After school, she leaves for Granton to visit Obasan (her aunt). Q: What do we find out about Naomi in this chapter? How does Kogawa characterize Naomi? Q: Why is Naomi NOT looking forward to seeing her aunt? Chapter 3: Naomi arrives at Obasan’s house. Obasan describes what happened that day. Naomi describes Obasan. Q: What is the significance of the loaf of bread that Naomi sees at Obasan’s house? Q: What do we find out about Obasan in this chapter? How does Kogawa characterize Obasan? Chapter 4: Naomi describes a family photograph and the people in it. Q: What do we find out about Aunt Emily in this chapter? How does Kogawa characterize Aunt Emily? Chapter 5: Obasan and Naomi visit the attic and Naomi ponders the objects in the attic. Obasan is unable to find what she is looking for. Q: What is the significance of the quilt? What emotions does it inspire in Naomi? Chapter 6: Naomi has an unsettling dream. After she wakes up, she finds a package from Aunt Emily. Obasan shows her the box she was looking for in the attic. Q: What is the significance of Naomi’s dream? How does it foreshadow later events in the book? Chapter 7: The package from Aunt Emily contains a scrapbook, a folder, an envelope and a journal. Naomi recalls Aunt Emily’s attempts to crusade on behalf of Japanese Canadians. Q: What issues of social (in)justice are raised in this chapter? Q: How does Obasan react to these issues? How does her reaction differ from Aut Emily’s? Chapter 8: Obasan saves the string from Aunt Emily’s package and Naomi wonders why Obasan saves everything. Naomi realizes that the scrapbook in Aunt Emily’s package contains letters from Emily to Naomi’s mother. Obasan shows Naomi a photo of Naomi’s mother and Naomi as a toddler. Q: Obasan repeats “Everyone someday dies” throughout the book. What does this mean? How
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2010 for the course ACCOUNTG 221 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at UMass (Amherst).

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22 and 23 Lecture Notes (Obasan Study Guilde) - 1 CLT 122...

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