Whether you’re reading Joy Kogawa’s Obasan for the first time, or teaching the novel for the umpteenth time, the CanLit Guides chapter “Joy Kogawa’s Obasan“ by Farah Moosa is a great resource to supplement learning.
Joy Kogawa’s novel Obasan (1981) is a powerful narrative about a woman’s attempt to understand her familial past and the historical and cultural legacies she has inherited as a Japanese Canadian. Decades after its first publication, Obasan still captures the attention of many readers and is widely taught in schools, colleges, and universities in Canada. This chapter serves as an introduction to the novel and some of the scholarly conversations that surround it. In particular, it explores the important and interrelated themes of silence and speech, and memory and history; and it suggests some strategies for close-reading the novel.
CanLit Guides, created and maintained by Canadian Literature, is a open-access collection of learning materials on different topics in the field of Canadian literature. The CanLit Guides 2018 Collection is the result of collaboration between experts in the field and our editorial team. The chapters here cover a range of topics, time periods, and genres, and show the dynamic ways scholars are engaging with literatures in Canada today.