Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Classic Literature vs. Modern Japanese Literature

The interns, Jill and Chelsea here! We thought we would do a collaboration to bring together two factions of literature that come from opposite sides of the globe, classic Western novels and modern Japanese fiction.

Here are the 6 novels we found similarities between:

1984 is a classic dystopian novel by George Orwell, depicting the futuristic 1984’s collectivist society. This novel inspired Haruki Murakami, whose latest novel, 1Q84, is a play on words that makes its title equivalent to 1984. Murakami references Orwell’s work while telling his own story of the years leading up to 1984, introducing the strange yet normal characters that he is famous for using in his signature style. Fans of literature and modern fiction alike should enjoy this literary re-working.

Lord of the Flies is a classic English novel about a group of young boys who are stranded on an island, and through a series of events show the deterioration of the human condition into barbarian acts. Battle Royale is quite similar. The plotline is basically the same, but the children are chosen and put on the island so that they can kill each other on TV as a scare tactic for futuristic fascist Japan. Both novels show how children put in dire circumstances resort to cruelty in unspeakable acts.

The parallels between The Secret Garden and Goodbye Tsugumi lie in the characterizations and overall themes of these novels. Tsugumi and Mary are both introduced to the reader very early in their respective stories as unpleasant young women. Both novels build on the themes of family and growing up while exploring the strength of relationships between cousins.

If you are a classics lover, don’t forget to attend our “Revival of the Classics” night on April 15th at 7:00 pm!

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