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  • The teacher can exit the power point and record good student responses on HANDOUT#4 projected on screen if they wish, then save and send the completed handout to students via mass-mail or post it on the CLC.
  • Mikage undertakes the feeding and caring of Yuichi. Through this she understands that she must go on in life, with or without him.(104) She does experience real despair, first at the death of her last family member, then at the death of Eriko. Both make her feel her terrible aloneness in the universe. However, this despair and awareness of death make Mikage appreciate 'beauty that seems to infuse itself into the heart.' (60)
  • Kitchenlesson4

    1. 1. Kitchen Banana Yoshimoto
    2. 2. Lesson 4 Mikage
    3. 3. Review of homework <ul><li>What did you find out about the following words: </li></ul><ul><li>- bildungsroman </li></ul><ul><li>- existentialism </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent do these words apply to Kitchen ? </li></ul>
    4. 4. Existentialism <ul><li>A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Examine/re-examine the following quotes. To what extent does the novella demonstrate the concept of existentialism? </li></ul><ul><li>How is Mikage’s growing understanding of existence an existentialist understanding? </li></ul><ul><li>Amusing cartoon on existentialism: </li></ul>
    5. 5. Mikage’s existential experiences 1 <ul><li>When was it I realized that, on this truly dark and solitary path we all walk, the only way we can light is our own? … Someday, without fail, everyone will disappear, scattering into the blackness of time. (21) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Mikage’s existential experiences 2 <ul><li>No matter what, I want to continue living with the awareness that I will die. Without that, I am not alive. That is what makes the life I have now possible. (59-60) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Mikage’s existential experiences 3 <ul><li>Under the blue sky, inhaling the clear, sharp bite of the winter air, I was overwhelmed by it all. What should I do? I had no idea. The sky was blue, blue. The bare trees were sharply silhouetted, and a cold wind was seeping through. </li></ul><ul><li>“I can’t believe in the gods.” (86) </li></ul>
    8. 8. Mikage’s existential experiences 4 <ul><li>The endless sea was shrouded in darkness. I could see the shadowy forms of gigantic, rugged crags against which the waves were crashing. While watching them, I felt a strange, sweet sadness. In the biting air I told myself, there will be so much pleasure, so much suffering. With or without Yuichi. </li></ul><ul><li> The beacon of the faraway lighthouse revolved. It turned to me, then it turned away, forming a pathway of light on the waves. (104) </li></ul>
    9. 9. Bildungsroman <ul><li>Bildungsroman – A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>How far does this concept apply to Mikage in Kitchen ? </li></ul>
    10. 10. Yoshimoto in the preface to Kitchen <ul><li>‘ Growth and the overcoming of obstacles are inscribed on a person’s soul. ’ (vii) </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent is this true of how Yoshimoto develops Mikage’s character through the novel? </li></ul><ul><li>Activity – on the handout write down next to each quote what you think has been ‘inscribed on [Mikage’s] soul’. (HANDOUT#4) </li></ul><ul><li>Overall, in what ways has Mikage’s character developed? What has she learned? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Eriko’s wisdom <ul><li>To what extent does Mikage come to embody Eriko’s philosophy? </li></ul>“ If a person wants to stand on their own two feet, I recommend undertaking the feeding and caring of something. It could be children, or it could be house plants, you know? By doing that you come to understand your own limitations. That’s where it starts … if a person hasn’t ever truly experienced true despair, she grows old never knowing how to evaluate where she is in life; never understanding what joy really is. I’m grateful for it.” ( 41 )
    12. 12. Yoshimoto and the significance of family <ul><li>Usually the world is a terribly difficult place to be, and lots of time we end up living our lives apart from each other. That’s why the family is a fort built for us to flee into. Inside that fort both men and women become symbols, and there protect the home. I like that fact. I really think it’s necessary, even when it’s hard. </li></ul><ul><li>- Yoshimoto in an essay entitled ‘Family’ , quoted in Treat, John Whittier – ‘Yoshimoto Banana Writes Home’: Sh ō jo Culture and the Nostalgia Subject , p. 292 </li></ul><ul><li>What is Yoshimoto saying about family here? Why is family so important? </li></ul>
    13. 13. Yoshimoto’s non-traditional families <ul><li>her families are, as Ueno Chizuko notes, &quot;non-biological psuedo-families created by a young girl otherwise parentless.&quot; (quoted in Treat, John Whittier – ‘Yoshimoto Banana Writes Home’: Sh ō jo Culture and the Nostalgia Subject , p. 288) </li></ul><ul><li>What does Mikage learn about family in the novella? Does she succeed in finding a ‘home’? What is the nature of this home and how secure is it? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you think Yoshimoto portrays non-traditional families? What values is she challenging and what themes are highlighted by having unconventional rather than conventional families? </li></ul><ul><li>The word ‘orphan’ as in ‘orphans alone in the dark’ is repeated in the novel. Why is this word chosen? What is its relationship to family? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Plenary: existentialism and your own development <ul><li>Aim: to explore your understanding of how existentialism is relevant to your own experience of life, and how you as a young person are growing. </li></ul><ul><li>What has been inscribed on your soul by your experiences in life? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you believe you ultimately have freedom of choice, or do you think our actions are guided by some ‘higher force’? </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent do you think you are responsible for the consequences of your actions? </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent do you feel alone in the ‘blackness of the cosmos’, and what feelings do you experience when you think of this? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you think real joy can only be fully appreciated if you have also experienced real despair? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it necessary to be ‘living with the awareness that [you] will die’ in order to fully feel alive and appreciate ‘beauty that seems to infuse itself into the heart’? </li></ul><ul><li>How important is family to you? Why? In the end are we ultimately as alone as Mikage seems to feel we are? </li></ul><ul><li>How far do you agree with Mikage’s philosophy of life as it develops in the novel? </li></ul>