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Collage and Gothic Writing in Margaret Atwood’s The Journals of Susanna Moodie

By Susan Yu-yan Lin
REAL: Review of English and American Literature [Yingmei wenxue pinglun]

This paper is a study of the textual strategies used by Margaret Atwood to imbue her poetry with new ideas for Canadian cultural identity. This study focuses on analyzing Atwood’s creative use of collaged pictorial illustration and Gothic narrative techniques in her famous poetic series—The Journals of Susanna Moodie (published in 1970). Atwood’s poetic series contains 27 narrative poems, rewriting the most well-known immigrant life story of Susanna Strickland Moodie (1803-1852). In terms of Susanna Moodie’s three different stages of settling herself in the Canadian wilderness, Atwood’s poetry relates and reexamines the nineteenth century English Canadian settler history. Atwood’s writing throws light on Canadian postcolonial imagination as Atwood traces the change—the growth and development—in Moodie’s response to the land.

The Genealogy of Childhood in Joy Kogawa’s Obasan

By Li-chung Yang
REAL: Review of English and American Literature [Yingmei wenxue pinglun]

    Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, now a highly acclaimed literary text of the uprooting of the Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, is interspersed with the narrator’s childhood memories and presented significantly through the point of view of the child narrator. This paper aims at reading Obasan in the cultural and historical matrix of North American ethnic literature by taking Kogawa’s negotiation between fictional childhood and official history as its major issue. It explores how the childhood memories are deeply implicated in the fluctuations of history, and how the idea of the child makes speakable personal trauma of the internment experiences, and activates, in Michel Foucault’s words, forms of “counter-memory” in Kogawa’s writing.

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