Dream Stuff

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Dream Stuff, and Postmodern Narratives of Cultural Shame College

If cultures are considered unifiable by way of shared stories, it is not inconceivable that cultures may be connected through distinguishable but ultimately similar histories of shame. Whether or not these histories force upon cultures the role of “persecutors” or “victims”, it is more than possible that such societies may become attached to others by way of such shared histories and stories of culpability, infamy, and remorse. Such traumatic history becomes an essential element within Haruki Murakami’s 1995 novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which explores Japan’s lingering but ignored sense of guilt over wartime atrocities committed before and during World War II. Likewise, history becomes just as important in Australian writer David Malouf’s short story collection, Dream Stuff, which quietly illuminates Australia’s guilt in participating or enabling the persecution of aborigine peoples. Using a range of postmodern literary technique, Murakami and Malouf each seek to unearth the buried sense of shame within their respective societies. This essay will first explore the postmodern and historical credentials of each text before continuing onto a joint discussion of the novels as examples of international literature.

Of the two...

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