"Horror Written On Their Skin": Joy Kogawa's Gothic Uncanny

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



This essay takes as its starting point Joy Kogawa's novel Obasan ([1981] 1985), which revolves around what Scott McFarlane has called "arguably the most documented instance of ethnic civil rights abuse in Canadian history", namely the internment of the Japanese Canadians during and after the Second World War and their subsequent dispossession and exile (1995b, 401). It also takes as one point of intersection the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement - the decision of the Brian Mulroney government on 22 September 1988 to offer an apology and restitution to the Japanese Canadians for their suffering and unjust treatment.1 More specifically, this reading is located in the way Sigmund Freud's analysis of "The 'Uncanny'" ([1919] 1965) - and a Gothic modality more widely - can be brought to bear on an understanding of these events.

ISBN: 9781554580545


Unsettled Remains: Canadian Literature and the Postcolonial Gothic and this chapter may be accessed from the publisher here

Unsettled Remains: Canadian Literature and the Postcolonial Gothic may be accessed as a Google Book from the National Library of Australia here

The Author:

Professor Gerry Turcotte