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The Waiting years: Enchi Fumiko and the subjugated voice of the mother.

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Hartley, B (2006) The Waiting years: Enchi Fumiko and the subjugated voice of the mother. HECATE, 32 (2). pp. 34-57. ISSN 0311-4198

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Abstract

Enchi Fumiko (1905-1986) was one of post-war Japan's most prominent women novelists, Her novel entitled The Waiting Years (Onnazaka, 1949-1957; 1957; tr. 1971) is set in early modern Japan and spans the four or so decades leading up to the end of the First World War. It is a narrative of feminine constraint loosely based on the life of the author's maternal grandmother. The protagonist, Tomo, lives her life subject to the intransigence of the discursive construct of good wife and wise mother (ryosaikenbo), the sole normative role permitted to women of the era. This role demanded silent acquiescence to a set of maternal and wifely duties designed specifically to promote the expansion of Japan's Imperial project, a project which largely negated the independent subjectivity of women. Thus when Tomo speaks in public she can only do so in a subjugated voice that confirms her ontological marginalisation. Even her private voice passes largely unheard except in brief solipsistic monologues she delivers at various points throughout the narrative.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: HECATE
Page Range: pp. 34-57
ISSN: 0311-4198
Additional Information: Originally published in Hecate 32/2
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2009 23:17
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:54
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/8172
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