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DIJ History & Humanities Study Group


Looking Through the Flower: Vision and Voice in Ōba Minako’s Novels

17.06.2009 | 18:30

Daniela Tan, Zürich University


Most narrative theories differentiate strongly between author and narrator, but only a few distinguish clearly between voice and vision, i.e. the instance telling the story and that seeing the elements of the story.

Based on Mieke Bal’s assumption of focalization – which she defines as the relationship between the agent that sees and the focalized object that is being perceived –, this paper aims at discussing the problem of the focal point in various texts from Ōba Minako. While in earlier texts the shifting of the point of view is striking, in later novels Ōba tends to keep the focus fixed on one protagonist. To let the reader take part in other angles of her narratives, she has to apply different writing techniques.

In discussing the problem of the point of view in earlier and more recent novels by Ōba Minako, this paper approaches her texts with narratological methods and presents ways of depicting a protagonist’s mind.

Daniela Tan is a PhD candidate in modern Japanese literature at Zürich University. She having studied at Zürich University, the Kyōto University of Foreign Studies and the Ōsaka University of Foreign Studies. She now works as teaching and research assistant at the Japanese Studies Department of Zürich University.

Koordination: Peter Backhaus; Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt


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