An experience of loss can last over periods of time and can lead its recipients to endure post-traumatic symptoms. A major part of physical and emotional damages is communicating and expressing the emotions one has concerning the loss. In Huang Chunming’s “The Fish,” Ah Cang experiences a loss that he cannot properly explain to his grandfather. In Kazuo Ishiguro’s A Pale View of Hills, Etsuko faces a loss that she cannot quite cope with. In both cases, the characters involved are not able to address their problems, debilitating their relationships. Ah Cang and Etsuko feel guilt and regret towards the things they have lost which causes their inability to come to terms with what they have done, crippling how they communicate.
In “The Fish,” Ah Cang is introduced as a young boy with a strong desire to bring a bonito fish to his grandfather. Ah Cang is struggling with working as an apprentice and finds relief when he visits his grandpa. Huang shows that they have a strong relationship in the beginning of the story when the boy visits for the first time and his grandfather is comforting him. They are able to communicate in a comfortable and casual way. When he is finally able to bring back the fish he promised, he is very excited and proud to show what he has accomplished. For Ah Cang, bring back a fish represented his progress as a carpenter because he was able to afford the fish and it represented physical proof of some success he could give to his grandfather. However, when Ah Cang brings the fish back, but drops it, he is devastated and genuinely horrific for Ah Cang. He feels so guilty and when he tells his grandpa, he is so bewildered by his guilt that he misunderstands his grandfather’s acceptance. This leads to th...
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...t up and suddenly change direction. When Ah Cang and his grandfather are talking about the bonito, Ah Cang is initially remorseful, but towards the end of their conversation both he and his grandfather are frustrated and mad. At some point, they misinterpreted each other and their emotions were complicated.
Etsuko and Ah Cang face events that create substantial damage, physically and emotionally. They are overwhelmed by their guilt and regret and those feelings cloud their judgments throughout their life. They are put in situations that cause great distress and their ability to cope is compromised by their inability to acknowledge their problems and communicate with those around them. Huang Chunming’s “The Fish” and Kazuo Ishiguro’s A Pale View of Hills exemplify that experience loss is traumatizing and the emotions evoked are not always easy to comprehend.
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