What is the importance of the issue of motherhood in Kogawa's "Obasan"?

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"Obasan " means "Aunt" in Japanese. Motherhood is represented by the titular character of Aya, and the significance of it is shown in the impact of Aya on the main character, Naomi Nakane. Aya is a stoic aunt to Naomi, yet it is clear that she loves her after all. Despite Aya's silent nature, her actions more than demonstrate her love and concern for Naomi. This is demonstrated when it is revealed that Aya hid the truth about Naomi's mother's disfigurement...

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One of the interesting facets of motherhood in Obasan is that we see very few babies in the novel.  Joy Kogawa has not responded to this query, but has noted that she refuses to write about her own children.  Motherhood is also viewed as selflessness.  Naomi's mother refuses to return to Canada in order to protect her children from  her disfigured face and maggot-strewn body as a result of the bombing in Nagasaki.  Motherhood is also shown in a frantic light of loving perhaps too much as the mother hen pecks her chicks to death in several scenes throughout the novel.

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