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Article
History, narrative, and trauma: writing war crimes in Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture life
Theses and Dissertations
  • Ying-bei Wang, University of Iowa
Document Type
Thesis
Date of Degree
2010
Degree Name
MA (Master of Arts)
Degree In
Comparative Literature
First Advisor
David Wittenberg
Abstract

This thesis examines how Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture Life (1999) represents the issues of war crimes. Writing the comfort women issue, Lee handles the bitter history of the Second World War in a postmodernist way. Against the modernist perspective on war history that draws on a simple and moral conclusion, Lee's writing underscores the function of narrative and the influence of trauma in the representation of the war crime. It offers a literary approach to the issue that complicates the role of the perpetrator and the victim, thus distances itself from the common understanding of war crimes. I argue this literary representation of the history of war crimes could be more powerful than historical writings, because it will ultimately challenge the concept of war itself.

Keywords
  • Modern Novel,
  • Narrative,
  • The Comfort Women Issue,
  • Trauma,
  • War Crimes (WWII),
  • War Memory
Pages
iv, 60 pages
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 59-60).
Copyright
Copyright 2010 Ying-bei Wang
Citation Information
Ying-bei Wang. "History, narrative, and trauma: writing war crimes in Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture life" (2010)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/yingbei/1/