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Kenzaburo Oe, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is internationally acclaimed as one of the most important and influential post-World War II. In the s, Kenzaburo Oe began regularly writing about a character based on his autistic son, Hikari. A Personal Matter, by Kenzaburo Oe. A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe Kenzaburo Oe in A Personal Matter. “Bird, gazing down at the map of Africa that reposed in the showcase with the.

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This renewed outlook swayed him to ‘rescue’ his son.

A Personal Matter Summary & Study Guide

Imagine your child was born with his brain outside of his head. This, in turn, makes him drive back to the clinic to save the pegsonal. There, Bird finally realizes can cannot continue to run from the baby. Which is probably a healthy response. Maybe what’s wrong with American Letters today is that not enough people have read this lateth century Japanese masterpiece?! Bird, the conspiring murderer.

A Personal Matter – Kenzaburo Oe, 大江健三郎 – Google Books

He sees a monster reflected in himself as repulsive as his neo-creation. Weak-willed and jittery, he refuses to accept the birth of a child with a grotesque lump on its head and crucial genetic deformities. Time covered those early impulses over. Bird goes to see his girlfriend Himiko, knowing she won’t mind if he drinks so early in the day.

The father-in-law, a professor at the local university, gives him a bottle of scotch. This connection is mostly up to the reader as we garner little visions on the scope of life of a defeated nation in the painful process of recovery after the war.

I hear you, I feel you. Bird is fired at work the next day though technically he will finish out the current semester. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Later, after the baby’s head and brain are surgically re-shaped, Bird’s father-in-law comments on how much he Bird has changed, and how grown-up he now seems. The doctor subtly tells Bird that he can give it sugar water instead of milk to ensure the baby does not get stronger, thus preventing him from getting the surgery necessary to fix the hernia.


After a short philosophical discussion, both become drunk and Bird sleeps at Himiko’s, only to wake up on the morning after in a deep state of hangover from all the whisky he had drunk the day before. Like Bird’s inner world, the novel revolves around him, but does not operate in a vacuum. Oct 22, Ashkin Ayub rated it really liked it Shelves: Chapters 11 and The father is a man who had a bout with alcohol years ago that forced him to drop out of college.

But “the baby continued to live, and it was oppressing Bird, even beginning to attack him. I would certainly never recommend this book outright, but I have to admit, if you want something that deals with difficult problems in a vicious manner this book is perfect for you.

I think one reason I love this book so much is because I really detested it when I started reading it. Where will I be a hundred years after I die? Feb 18, Keith rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Bird’s aimlessness, his dreaming of Africa, his reluctance to commit, are all not unusual for a year old, and it may just be the extent of his tragedy that makes his wrestling with responsibility seem more crass than others.

The internal psychological struggle that he has to go through makes him feel fear, anger and shame, towards the baby and himself.

Bird worries that he might lose his job. The depth of thought, or lack of it, provoked by the situation is startling: It tells the story of Bird, a man who must come to terms with the birth of his mentally disabled son.

A Personal Matter

He then disappears into a cloud of alcohol and sex — not that Bird can manage much in the way of sex. These scars and bruises make their presence known time and again by causing us pain of the highest order. Unfortunately, what he did here is create a character so selfish and depraved that I actively hated him while reading. With Himiko’s help, he takes the baby to an abortionist. Want to Read saving…. A la vez me ha parecido un libro honesto Yet at the same time he shudders in revulsion at the thought of having to kill a helpless, sick little child with his bare hands.


In the face of his grotesque tragedy, envisioning his future destroyed, his continuity broken, and freedom denied, Bird goes through a pattern of decline that reveals all the vileness and ugliness of a man.

It reminds me of the homeless, who live lives in the open, for all to see and evaluate. In your opinion, does a vegetable suffer? Compounded with his fear of everything and his will to run from any challenge, he takes the Oe Kenzaburo won the Nobel Prize in Literature inwhich adds absolutely no enjoyment to his novels.

Eating is of the coarsest fast food. The baby continued to live, and it was oppressing Bird, even beginning to attack him.

Open Preview See a Problem? Paperbackpages. Trembling, Bird fled the apartment with his eyes on the floor, fled down the stairs, fled through the hall, straddled his bike and fled everything behind him. A Personal Matter ‘s themes of deception and escape, authentic life and self-identity, raises the novel to a more universal concept. It forced him to reflect on the meaning in his stories which up to that point, in his mind, amounted to “nothing.

A Personal Matter Summary & Study Guide

It almost feels like somebody poking at and opening up our most secret, suppurating, psychological wounds and making them bleed all over again, thereby compelling us to wake up to the realization of their existence. The plot follows the story of Bird, a 27 year old Japanese man.

For example, here, while putting on clean underwear at home after a night at hospital, he is ashamed at the sight of own genitals: