Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Given that Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) is Kenzabur e’s favorite American book, how do the themes of exploration and moral courage appear in his novels?

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, e quoted the Danish philologist Kristoffer Nyrop: “Those who do not protest against war are accomplices of war.” How do e’s views about Hiroshima, nuclear disarmament, and the peace movement show up in his novels?

Describe the circumstances of the birth of e’s son, Hikari, and how his relationship with his son figures into two different works. Would e have achieved fame without Hikari’s unusual development and career?

How does e’s interest in people at the peripheries, marginal groups, and nonnative ethnic people influence the style of his fiction?

What topics in e’s novels have been most controversial in Japan, and why?

In what ways do e’s novels celebrate Japanese culture, and how do they undermine or challenge it?