Apr 18, 2011

J. G. Ballard and His Obsession

I've read J. G. Ballard's works "Miracles of Life", "Empire of the Sun" and "The Kindness of Woman".

"Miracles of Life" is an Autobiography, which became his last work. "Empire of the Sun" and "The Kindness of Woman" are fictionalized autobiographies.

He was born in 1930 in the Shanghai International Settlement, which was in fact a small colony of imperial countries. His father was a manager of a textile factory, and his family lived in an estate in western bourgeois style of life hiring many Chinese servants. On the other hand there were huge numbers of poor Chinese, who lived really in miserable lives and were exploited by Westerners in Shanghai. Ballard was raised seeing such sever and contradictory situation with his own eyes.

After the outbreak of World War 2, Japanese army occupied the Shanghai International Settlement, and Ballard's family and he were sent to a concentration camp. His life completely changed. He experienced hunger and violence of Japanese army, and witnessed many Chinese and Japanese people were killed without any reason nor any dignity.

After the end of World War 2, he moved to UK. His memory in Shanghai obsessed him and England at that time was depressed for him, so he couldn't adapt to life in UK. His obsession control his life and he couldn't escape from the notion of death of his life and destruction of the world.

His friends, his wife and he, himself tried to run away from his obsession, but they haven't succeeded. His novels are deeply influenced by his awful and amazing obsession. His obsession might make himself unhappy, but we can read his masterworks by his obsession.

He's gone in 2009. I think he couldn't have left his obsession at the end of his life, but he became to be able to control his obsession. Before he became a novelist, he did self-defeating behavior. And then he expressed his obsession as novels, he controlled his own life.

I think people, who are living in the disaster area of this earthquake and this tsunami, are captured by deep obsessions of their awful memories. It's might be impossible for them to forget these memories, but I really hope they'll find the way to control their own obsessions like J. G. Ballard

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