Empire Of The Sun by JG Ballard

Empire Of The Sun by JG Ballard

Length: 843 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
What can I say about "Empire of the Sun" other than it is a brilliant book, "Empire of the Sun" is not about the end; it's all about the journey. Knowing that's going to happen is irrelevant, it's how things happen that's important and how people react to the events.
The novel tells the story, in a fictional account, of the author's experiences as a young boy in Shanghai at the outbreak of the Second World War. Jim, the third person narrator of the novel, is separated from his parents when the Japanese invade Shanghai at the end of 1941. The first part of the novel tells of his adventures on the streets of Shanghai, trying first of all to find his parents, then to give himself up to the Japanese. When even that fails, Jim's life becomes a simple battle for survival, first of all in Shanghai and then at the hands of the Japanese in a staging camp, where he is effectively sent to die.
The second part of the novel moves on three years to the internment camp where Jim has spent the war. It is the middle of 1945, and the novel tells of the last days of the camp as the rations run out and the Japanese realise that they are about to lose the war. The fascination here is to watch how the people behave as the war reaches its inevitable conclusion: seeing who keeps going and who gives up. The second part ends with a "death march" as the Japanese move the exhausted and starving prisoners out the camp and march them towards Shanghai.
The final part of the novel tells of the anarchy of the days immediately after the end of the war and ends with Jim being reunited with his parents. Again, the fascination is with the people and how they react to their new found freedom.
What is so brilliant about this novel is the absolutely compelling way that it portrays the world through the eyes of a young boy. Jim was 11 when the Japanese seized Shanghai and 15 when the war ended. Throughout the novel, everything is seen as Jim sees it. It is his interpretation of the confusing events that is given, along with his strange thoughts about the war. The "real" knowledge of adults is not allowed to intrude and there is no attempt to preach a particular morality or make any specific point.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Empire Of The Sun by JG Ballard." 123HelpMe.com. 14 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=161330>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Empire of the Sun by J.G.Ballard

- Empire of the Sun. J.G.Ballard J.G Ballard, is a book that presents war in many different ways. Jim’s parents, the Japanese Soldiers and Jim itself can be considered as the individual expressed in the book however I will focus mainly on Jim. Thus the author shows the reader war through Jim’s eyes. The perspective of this depends in his state of mind and through the situations he finds himself in, the portrayal differs depending on Jim’s surroundings, which often diverse from each other. As soon as war starts J.G Ballard portrays war as something that will change Jim’s life forever “Like everything else since the war, the sky was in state of change”[1]....   [tags: English Literature]

Research Papers
1589 words (4.5 pages)

The Sun Also Rises and Empire of the Sun Essay example

- Essay Rough Draft In a world of chaos and conflict the value of society is often demeaned. Warfare affects the difficulty of coping mechanisms and leads to isolation and abandonment. Both in Earnest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” and in J.G.Ballard’s “Empire of the Sun” the protagonists are distraught and torn by warfare. “The Sun Also Rises” follows the journey of Jake Barnes a post-World War one veteran whereas “Empire of the Sun” follows the journey and maturation of a young boy during the time period of World War two....   [tags: War, Character Development, Literary Analyses]

Research Papers
1099 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about Irony in Ballard's Chronopolis

- Irony in J. G. Ballard's Chronopolis J. G. Ballard gives us a good idea of the irony in 'Chronopolis' from the very beginning - the actual name 'Chronopolis' - city of time - is an ironic name for a city that has no time Throughout the story Ballard's view of time acts as a focus to the story, around which the plot revolves. The central point of the story is a world without time, without which the story would have no point - none of it would have happened, and it would be just like our world. The impression of time we are given at the beginning of the story is an ironic one, because it seems that time is important, but not really understood; we are told that Newman is in prison for underst...   [tags: Ballard Chronopolis Essays]

Free Essays
1988 words (5.7 pages)

Obtaining Cultural Intelligence in The Empire of the Sun Essay

- Everything flows perfectly in the rhythm of life. Some people are born with 300 bones, some are more creative than others, others with fears, others with talents, we are all different in every way there could be. But we are all born with some sort of knowledge. As you are growing you go creating your own cultural knowledge, some more extent than others. This is when you generate your own “custom made” cultural knowledge; meaning what you want to learn and perceive. Cultural knowledge is basically the skills you take possession of through education and experience....   [tags: knowledge, adulthood, soldier]

Research Papers
711 words (2 pages)

Essay about Gladiator and Empire of the Sun

- Gladiator and Empire of the Sun Gladiator and Empire of the Sun are both historical films. Gladiator is set at the height of the Roman Empire and moves from Germania at the very beginning of the film to North Africa and then finally to Rome for the end of the film. At the start of the film the central character and hero, Maximus, an officer in the Roman army is in battle. At the battle is the Roman Emperor who Maximus has a close relationship with. It is the betrayal and murder of the emperor by his jealous son and the killing of Maximus' family that set the events of the rest of the film in motion....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
735 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Mongol Empire And The Roman Empire

- The Mongol Empire VS.The Rome Empire Throughout ancient years, there have been many empires that have impacted culture, politics, religion, and people. The Mongol empire and the Roman empire both had their ways of growing their empires, administering their empires, having successes and failures, and legacies. As the empires began to take shape, expand, and become more complex, they will important in the lives of people. To administer the Mongol empire, what Genghis Khan did was set up a capital city at Karakorum....   [tags: Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan, Roman Empire]

Research Papers
727 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about The War Of The Roman Empire

- Following his opposition to the edicts persecuting christians. Constantius Chlorus set and invasion of Britannia into motion as a way to expand his, as well as the empire 's territory. Upon this invasion, a young Constantine fled the imperial palace to join his father 's campaign, as well as take hold of his governorship upon death. With the initial campaign going successfully Constantine began winning the respect of the soldiers as he led numerous successful military actions. In the year 306 Constantine’s forces we 're on the cusp of victory in the campaign however Constantius Chlorus fell ill, quickly dying from disease the same year....   [tags: Roman Empire, Christianity, Constantine I]

Research Papers
1684 words (4.8 pages)

The Light Of The Sun Essay

- As I lay on the minute golden grains of sand, I looked up at the brilliant sky, adorned with flashes of pink and orange and purple, mirroring the colours of a flawless seasoned apricot. The goddess-like sun’s face is being embraced by the demure navy fingertips of the skyline. The dull light of the sun somehow manages to kindle my senses in a way I had never seen or felt before. Everything felt like it came to a standstill and the effect of the light made the scene look like one in a painting. The waves break gently into white foam on the black beach....   [tags: Sun, Light, Sky, Sunrise]

Research Papers
1183 words (3.4 pages)

Sun Tzu's The Art of War Essay

- Sun Tzu's The Art of War      The translation of the “Sun Tzu: The Art of War” ancient Chinese text has been given by many different writers. Samuel B. Griffith, Brigadier General, retired, U.S. Marine Corps; is a proven strategist that studied the English commandoes war fighting skills as a Captain. As a Major, Griffith was hand picked to serve as Executive Officer under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Merritt Edson of the 1st Raider Battalion, one of the battalions that perfected the amphibious landings during World War II....   [tags: Sun Tzu Art War Essays]

Research Papers
2159 words (6.2 pages)

The Sun Essay

- The Sun      The sun is the largest object in the solar system. It is a middle-sized star and there are many other stars out in the universe just like it. Even though it is only a middle-sized star it is large enough to hold over 1 million Earth’s inside if it were hollow. The temperature on the sun is far too much for any living thing to bear. On the surface it is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit and the core is a stunning 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t worry we are over 90,000 million miles away, the sun could never reach us, at least not yet....   [tags: Sun Solar Power Solar System Essays]

Research Papers
1656 words (4.7 pages)

The harrowing events that Jim describes do that more eloquently than any authorial voice ever could.
The novel opens with Shanghai still a free city, seemingly dominated by Europeans at the expense of the native Chinese who live in the most part in grinding poverty. It also looks back at the bloody invasion of China by Japan and the subsequent brutal war. What struck me most about the novel was its descriptions of life under Japanese rule and the dreadful interment camps. Although I have read a lot about the holocaust, in comparison to the Nazis, the Japanese seemed governed by indifference interspersed with casual, brutal violence, rather than an ideological desire to exterminate whole races of people. The one thing that I did see in common with both parties was an inability to see the people that they were exterminating as human beings.
Before I read "Empire of the Sun", I knew very little about the Second World War in the Far East or about the Japanese in general. It is an subject area that I really ought to find out more about. The one thing that did strike me was the very alien nature of both Japanese and Chinese society when compared to European society. In particular, I am fascinated by how Japanese society could end up breeding such indifference towards other human beings, both Chinese and European alike.
Not that the Europeans come out of the novel in a much better light. Colonial overlords of a poverty stricken Shanghai, they do not cope well with their collective fall from grace, and by degrees, a selfish, every-man-for-himself attitude takes over. Jim realises this early on, with his child's uncomplicated view of the world, and does what he needs to survive. Of the adults in the book, only Dr Ransom, the idealistic camp Doctor, and Mr Maxted, an architect turned entrepreneur, actually manage to uphold the ideals of civilised society in the face of an enemy whose every action works to dehumanise. Most of the adults show selfish indifference, but the worst of the lot, in my opinion, is Basie, an American criuse-line steward who does whatever he has to to survive, including using others when it suits him and dropping them in an instant when it doesn't.
Overall, this is a brilliantly written book. It tackles a very difficult subject matter head on and in an uncompromising fashion, but without ever trying to preach, which makes its message all the more powerful. Despite this, it is incredibly easy to read, with short, focused chapters which always leave you wanting more. If you haven't already, you really ought to read this book.
Return to 123HelpMe.com