Kenzabur e Summary
by Kenzaburō Ōe

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Kenzabur e Summary

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

By giving events in his own life universal significance, Kenzabur e broadened the scope of the autobiographical novel. In so doing, he defied Japanese literary tradition, which insisted that personal narratives be straightforward and factual. The main reason this approach works for e is that his heroes are self-aware and never self-pitying. They can even be unreliable narrators at times, a device e admires in Western writers. e has two themes: the loss of innocence and the acceptance of responsibility. e’s heroes are very modern; they begin by deceiving themselves and trying to make bargains with fate. Eventually they discover that avoiding truth is a kind of madness. Learning how to outgrow this madness becomes, ultimately, their purpose in life and their salvation.