Chiasmatic Narrative and Twisted Subjectivity in Kanai Mieko's Boshizô


  • Mary A. Knighton Washington & Lee University

Paraules clau:

Japanese literature, psychoanalysis, Kanai Mieko, Boshizô, female subjectivity, Oedipus complex, female desire, incest


The article provides a reading, from a psychoanalytic point of view, of Japanese writer Kanai Mieko's short tale Boshizô (Portrait of Mother and Child), published in 1992, as a "twisted" or "contorted" parable of the construction of female subjectivity. Establishing connections between the form and the content of the novel, the essay analyzes how Kanai's use of the rhetorical figure of the chiasmus structures the internal narrative of the novel at the same time that it reflects the process of formation of female subjectivity and desire. The novel becomes, thus, a staging of the female Oedipus complex which plays out its twists.