Graduation Date

Summer 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in English, emphasis in Literary & Cultural Studies

Committee Chair Name

Janet Winston

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Mary Ann Creadon

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



This project fuses personal narrative and literary criticism, as it excavates Ruth Ozeki’s representations of Japanese culture in the novel A Tale for the Time Being. I argue that her use of stereotype unsettles popular images of Japan by constructing characters who challenge the hegemonic gaze of the Western cultural imaginary. My reading connects continuing investment in these stereotypical representations to the postmodern epoch, where individuals and society as a whole have become incapable of dealing with the past. I explore the links between postmodern amnesia, the disappearance of a multiplicity of perspectives in history and the inclination of Western mass media and popular culture to reproduce stereotypes. I suggest that Ozeki’s novel reveals that we continue to rely on stereotypes to understand the world around us, particularly when we seek to know other people and other cultures. Ultimately, I find that Ozeki encourages her reader to develop a historical consciousness, as locating ourselves within the complex web of time, history and politics allows us to better negotiate the narratives and images that inform particular postcolonial subjectivities.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location