Publication Details

Turcotte, G, "A Fearful Calligraphy": De/scribing the Uncanny Nation in Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, in Maufort, M and Bellarsi, F (eds), Reconfigurations: Canadian Literatures and Postcolonial Identities/ Littératures canadiennes et identités postcoloniales, Peter Lang, Bruxelles, 2002, 123–143. Original book available here. This copy is a late draft and might contain inconsistencies with the published version.


[Extract] This paper takes as its starting point Joy Kogawa’s 1981 novel Obasan, a story which revolves around what McFarlane has called “arguably the most documented instance of ethnic civil rights abuse in Canadian history” (“Covering Obasan” 401): the internment of the Japanese Canadians during and after the Second World War and their subsequent dispossession and exile. It also takes as one point of intersection the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement—the decision of the Mulroney Government on 22 September 1988 to offer an apology and restitution to the Japanese Canadians for their suffering and unjust treatment. More specifically, this reading is located in the way Freud’s analysis of “The Uncanny” (1956) can be brought to bear on an understanding of these events.