Tag Archives: Kazuo Ishiguro

Assignment 2: Close Reading of a Novel

I decided to try and chose a piece of post-modernist fiction to pick an extract for my assignment. I know Kazuo Ishiguro’s name was mentioned earlier in the workbook as an example of post-modernist fiction so it seemed like a good starting place.

I read his series of short stories, Nocturnes, and the novel An Artist of the Floating World. I felt that An Artist of the Floating World dealt more closely with themes of time and  than the stories of, Nocturnes (which focussed heavily on the theme of music and time), so chose to select an extract from that for my essay.

I found it difficult to chose a section from the novel that would have enough substance for my essay so selected two extracts and did a brief annotation/analysis roughly to help me decide. You can see these below:

Annotation of extract from p.7 of 'An Artist of the Floating World' by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Annotation of extract from p.7 of ‘An Artist of the Floating World’ by Kazuo Ishiguro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annotation of extract from p.27-28 of 'An Artist of the Floating World' by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Annotation of extract from p.27-28 of ‘An Artist of the Floating World’ by Kazuo Ishiguro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose the second longer extract as the basis for my essay because I felt it had more examples of imagery, poetic devices, and was a good sample of the style of prose throughout the novel. I read the whole novel before picking the extract, so I found it hard to keep my comments to the extract itself given that I knew the trajectory of the story. The style of the novel was entirely new to me, I guess I’m more familiar with modern authors as opposed to post-modern. So it took awhile to get used to the way the book drifts in and out of the past and present day, but I thought this was highly effective in giving a sense of the character trying to gain sense of his past in the midst of a rapidly modernising world around him. I also found that reading Christopher Butler’s, Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction, helped with understanding the paradigm the author may well have written in.

I allowed myself some time to go back and look at the questions from exercise 3&4 and used those as platforms in my physical learning log to answer some questions about the extract. I found doing this before typing the essay helped me to decided what I wanted to say and made connecting all the points together far simpler. In terms of the essay itself I managed 1,292 words, which was less than the recommended 1,500. But I felt like to try and meet the 1,500 word limit I would either be repeating myself or start to make commentary on the rest of the novel. Neither of those seemed like good things to do, so I kept it slightly below the word count. Hopefully this was a wise choice!?