I researched the context of the novel and presented about the temporal and spatial backgrounds of Kitchen. During the 1980s, the time frame in which the novel was written, Japan’s economy was booming. This was due to the fact that Japanese industry imitated that of Western nations and produced goods that attracted a lot of customers. This could be seen in the novel when the Tanabes buy expensive Western products such as a juicer and a word processor. In addition, the characters in the novel are often unconcerned about money, which conveys Japan’s strong economy during the 1980s. During the discussion, I realized that Mikage being forced to move out of her apartment could be related to the late 1980s of Japan, when real estate prices increased rapidly.
Prior to the presentation, I was unable to comprehend why characters did not blame anyone for the death of their loved ones which is often seen in other literature works. Through the discussion, I gained an understanding of Japanese literatures which explained my previous curiosity. One characteristic of Japanese literature is the lack of antagonist in the plot because the antagonistic factors and environments are accepted rather than being opposed by the protagonist. In the novel, both Mikage and Yuichi show the process of overcoming and accepting antagonistic features such as despair and grief.
I also learned that shoujo manga is aimed particularly towards shoujo or young girls and focuses on character development and romantic relationships. I found it interesting that elements of shoujo manga and light novel were presented in the novel. Before the discussion, I was unable to understand why the novella had less focus on plot development and did not have a ...
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...Eriko’s loneliness. The cold portrays the period of time after Eriko loses his wife where Eriko felt despondent and hopeless.
Through the novel, Yoshimoto utilizes warmth and cold imagery to emphasize the characters’ emotions, represent the importance of human interaction and show the process of overcoming despair in the characters. The use of warmth and cold allows the author to investigate the characters’ feelings and develop their character by exploring the different means by which they overcome their inherent grief. In addition, the author constantly emphasizes the significance of family atmosphere and human interaction through characterization. Yoshimoto chooses to use many literary techniques in order to effectively structure the novel.
Word Count: 1350
Yoshimoto, Banana. Kitchen. Trans. Megan Backus. New York: Grove, 1993. Print.
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