Kōbō Abe Long Fiction Analysis
Human loss, disappearance, allocation of responsibility, anguish, and futility stand out as the main issues that figure in Kb Abe’s writings. At first, Abe treated such matters mostly in a serious way. Gradually, from the underlying absurdity and irrationality of the imaginary situations about which he wrote, a kind of gallows humor emerged, giving a sense of situation comedy, albeit black comedy. Abe recognized, on one hand, that without cohesive units of interdependent people, human life could scarcely exist; on the other hand, he also observed that people everywhere suffer under the pressure to model their behavior on conventionally accepted manners and mores. Abe’s characters’ resistance to such pressures (or perhaps their unconscious wish to suffer) results in their desire to assert their individuality. Ironically, such assertion leads to alienation, creating a Catch-22 situation and a sense of absurdity.
In Abe’s novels, human relationships are shown to be in disorder, partly reflecting the particular quality of his artistic imagination and partly reflecting his own youthful experiences. Except for the case of The Woman in the Dunes, which is set in a remote seaside hamlet, the main action in hisnarratives typically takes place against the urban landscape and amid the impersonalized locations and institutions with which modern city dwellers are most familiar—hospitals, offices, laboratories, department stores, movie theaters,...
(The entire section is 2891 words.)
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