Name Institution Course Instructor Date Bird’s Individualism and Escapism A ‘personal matter’ is a novel of Japanese origin by Kenzaburo Oe. The novel carries a weighty theme and compels a reader to associate with the story emotionally. Oe published the novel in after mid 20th century…
Since Oe wrote the novel shortly past the world war, he portrays the state of the Japanese people after the war (Adhikari 1). The individualism and escapism in Bird leaves the readers frustrated that anyone would abandon responsibility and seek self-gratification in the way Bird does. Although portrayed extensively in only one character, individualism and escapism takes the toll of the novel and is worth the reader’s attention. Individualism and escapism drive the actions of the main character, Bird. The author introduces Bird as a character who seeks to fulfill his fantasies and selfish ambition neglecting the responsibilities of a family man. Bird craves to go to Africa and experience the wild life in a land, away from the devastating effects of civilization (2). It is clear that he does not like the real life situations in his homeland and would rather disappear to another continent and experience change. This is an individualistic and selfish venture. Instead of seeking to rebuild his nation and create a favorable condition after the world war aftermath, he busies himself with getting familiarity of Africa from maps. Bird takes the situation as a personal matter. He seeks to actualize himself some day and discover true happiness in a world away from the ill-fate life presents. The author paints a picture of the situations in Bird’s life as he fantasizes about Africa. ...
Instead of anticipating the new responsibility in his life, he only sees how the indulging family life will hold him from living his African dream. The situation worsens when an abnormal baby comes into their life (2). The author exposes Bird’s inner feelings about the birth of the abnormal child. Instead of accepting the child and committing to work towards saving the innocent child, Bird wishes that the child could just die. He does not realize that all life is equal and does not display fatherly concern. He seeks to evade the situation. He does not consider the pain of the other family members and give them the right support. He does not even think about the baby’s welfare. His individualistic attitude prevents him from showing any empathy. In a bid to pursue happiness and contentment for himself, he deserts his immediate family. Bird embarks on finding ways of escaping the painful realities of his life. The baby needs an operation in order to survive and that means that Bird must sacrifice his savings for the baby’s health. For Bird, it is not easy to make this sacrifice because that would force him to forget about his African dream. This reasoning surprises the reader because a father should be willing to make any sacrifice for the welfare of his children. Bird lets individualism hinder his fatherly instincts. He decides to starve the child to death. In his view, the savings are just enough to allow him to travel to the foreign land and start a more fulfilling life. He drifts to a deceptive world where sorrows and pains do not exist. He cannot handle the thoughts of what is happening to him. Bird finds himself trapped in loneliness and cowardice and he seeks refuge in his ex-girlfriend Himiko. Himiko is lonely and desperate after the death ...
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