Reconsidering the Past History and Postmodernism in "Obasan"

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Zaid Mir


Those in power often use carefully constructed historical narratives to justify past injustices. Nevertheless, with the rise of postmodern literature, including historiographic metafictions, fiction authors have challenged traditional historicism while problematizing historical justifications for past injustices. Joy Kogawa uses postmodernist literary devices in her novel Obasan, presenting her novel as a work of historiographic metafiction. However, the political, social, and historical contexts in which Kogawa uses such devices reveal that Obasan’s historiographic metafictional qualities self-reflexively evoke a reconsideration of the official historical accounts that attempted to justify Japanese Canadian internment.