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postgraduate thesis: The Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore (1941-1945) : narrating trauma and memory in 21st century Malaysian novels in English

TitleThe Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore (1941-1945) : narrating trauma and memory in 21st century Malaysian novels in English
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Ho, EYL
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Goh, C. F. [吳殷輝]. (2013). The Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore (1941-1945) : narrating trauma and memory in 21st century Malaysian novels in English. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5204924
AbstractThis study focuses on four 21st Century Malaysian novels about the Japanese Occupation, written in English, and explores the representations of trauma, narrative and memory in these novels in relation to trauma theory and Malaysian Literature in English. Trauma studies take as its point of departure the idea that an overpowering event, powerful enough to break the shield of consciousness, can return as symptoms of compulsive and/or repetitive behaviours after a period of latency that brings the traumatized victim back to the event. However, trauma is seen not as, or as the result of a single, isolated event, but as a condition that repeats itself across different temporalities. This argument is taken up in the analysis of four novels that use the Japanese Occupation as a theme and/ or setting, which examines the attempts of reconstructing the traumatic events of the Occupation in narrative, as well as the narrative strategies that display the breakdown of temporality in trauma. This thesis consists of 5 chapters. The introduction of this thesis, which forms the first chapter, establishes the groundwork for the rest of the dissertation, and situates the study in its historical, literary and theoretical contexts. It provides the background of earlier scholarship on Malaysian Literature in English, the historical scholarship on the Japanese Occupation and its relation to this analysis, and the theoretical background that informs the argument of this study. Chapter Two explores Tan Twan Eng‟s The Gift of Rain, and discusses the significance of using the first-person, autobiographical style when writing about trauma, as well as the role that narrative features such as flashbacks play to show a sense of the dual temporality of trauma. It also examines the need for the presence of a listener-as-witness when narrating trauma, in relation to the novel as a survivor narrative. Chapter Three focuses on the relationship between history and memory, as well as remembering and forgetting, in relation to Tan‟s second novel, The Garden of Evening Mists. It explores how trauma can fragment the self and collective identities of traumatized subjects. It also explores the difficulty of incorporating trauma into a meaningful life-narrative. Chapter Four analyzes Vyvyanne Loh‟s Breaking the Tongue, and explores the significance of using the second-person narrative when narrating trauma, which can be seen as a strategy to represent the dissociation that comes with trauma. It also analyzes the significance of the delay in the temporal structure in the narratives of traumatized subjects, and explores the importance of dreams and nightmares in these novels. This chapter also examines the crisis of witnessing that the characters are confronted with in the face of trauma. Chapter Five explores Rani Manicka‟s The Rice Mother, a family saga. This chapter examines the notion of transgenerational trauma and postmemory, and how trauma can be transmitted through silences from one generation to the next. It pays close attention to the different forms of media used in the transmission of trauma, and also discusses the issue of replacement children who are born after traumatic loss.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
Dept/ProgramEnglish
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/198824

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorHo, EYL-
dc.contributor.authorGoh, Cheng Fai-
dc.contributor.author吳殷輝-
dc.date.accessioned2014-07-10T04:10:18Z-
dc.date.available2014-07-10T04:10:18Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationGoh, C. F. [吳殷輝]. (2013). The Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore (1941-1945) : narrating trauma and memory in 21st century Malaysian novels in English. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5204924-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/198824-
dc.description.abstractThis study focuses on four 21st Century Malaysian novels about the Japanese Occupation, written in English, and explores the representations of trauma, narrative and memory in these novels in relation to trauma theory and Malaysian Literature in English. Trauma studies take as its point of departure the idea that an overpowering event, powerful enough to break the shield of consciousness, can return as symptoms of compulsive and/or repetitive behaviours after a period of latency that brings the traumatized victim back to the event. However, trauma is seen not as, or as the result of a single, isolated event, but as a condition that repeats itself across different temporalities. This argument is taken up in the analysis of four novels that use the Japanese Occupation as a theme and/ or setting, which examines the attempts of reconstructing the traumatic events of the Occupation in narrative, as well as the narrative strategies that display the breakdown of temporality in trauma. This thesis consists of 5 chapters. The introduction of this thesis, which forms the first chapter, establishes the groundwork for the rest of the dissertation, and situates the study in its historical, literary and theoretical contexts. It provides the background of earlier scholarship on Malaysian Literature in English, the historical scholarship on the Japanese Occupation and its relation to this analysis, and the theoretical background that informs the argument of this study. Chapter Two explores Tan Twan Eng‟s The Gift of Rain, and discusses the significance of using the first-person, autobiographical style when writing about trauma, as well as the role that narrative features such as flashbacks play to show a sense of the dual temporality of trauma. It also examines the need for the presence of a listener-as-witness when narrating trauma, in relation to the novel as a survivor narrative. Chapter Three focuses on the relationship between history and memory, as well as remembering and forgetting, in relation to Tan‟s second novel, The Garden of Evening Mists. It explores how trauma can fragment the self and collective identities of traumatized subjects. It also explores the difficulty of incorporating trauma into a meaningful life-narrative. Chapter Four analyzes Vyvyanne Loh‟s Breaking the Tongue, and explores the significance of using the second-person narrative when narrating trauma, which can be seen as a strategy to represent the dissociation that comes with trauma. It also analyzes the significance of the delay in the temporal structure in the narratives of traumatized subjects, and explores the importance of dreams and nightmares in these novels. This chapter also examines the crisis of witnessing that the characters are confronted with in the face of trauma. Chapter Five explores Rani Manicka‟s The Rice Mother, a family saga. This chapter examines the notion of transgenerational trauma and postmemory, and how trauma can be transmitted through silences from one generation to the next. It pays close attention to the different forms of media used in the transmission of trauma, and also discusses the issue of replacement children who are born after traumatic loss.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.titleThe Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore (1941-1945) : narrating trauma and memory in 21st century Malaysian novels in English-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5204924-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEnglish-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5204924-

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