Narrative bending : the subversion of Watakushi shōsetsu in Ruth Ozeki's A tale for the time being and an abstract from My Amy : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Creative Writing, Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This thesis is comprised of two sections: a critical research essay focusing on Ruth Ozeki’s novel A Tale for the Time Being (2013), and the first part of a novel entitled My Amy. Both sections focus on the fictionality of fiction, as well as narrative structure and the effect of space and time on content, structure, and the organisation of a non-linear narrative. In the critical portion of the thesis I read A Tale for the Time Being in the context of narrative theory, Buddhist philosophy, and the traditional Japanese literary form of shōsetsu, examining how the structure and content of the novel originate from multiple literary and religious traditions. I argue that Ozeki appropriated the form of the Japanese ‘I-novel’ (shōsetsu) in an innovative reimagining of form and tradition, whilst juxtaposing the duality of her hybridised identity as a Japanese-American writer in the meta-textual, non-linear, montaged, semi-autobiographical text, which focuses on the reader-writer-character relationship. In My Amy I employ a non-linear narrative structure to support the flashbacks and trauma experienced by a woman raised in a religious cult, and her later selfdestructive behaviour which is a result of her seclusion in the cult and limited life experience.
Ruth Ozeki, Tale for the time being (Novel), Creative writing, Watakushi shosetsu, Narrative in fiction