Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness – Kenzaburo Oe

Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness is the second book I’ve read after Kenzaburo Oe’s A Personal Problem. After reading his stories, I remembered how much I loved A Personal Problem. Most importantly, I have witnessed over and over again what a striking writer Kenzaburo Oe is through the three long stories in this book. There is a writer before you who writes stories that nail people to their place.


Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness - Kenzaburo Oe

Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness consists of three long stories about the war. I liked the story, Prize Stock, the most. It is the story of a black man who was taken prisoner in a small and rather poor Japanese village. You will witness how people change in wartime, good and evil, racism and pure love, and unfortunately, you will curse the cruelty of the world again.

You will be amazed at how we as humans have fallen into these inextricable situations and how the war has affected not only where it took place but also everything and everyone. Here is literature; it will again offer you different perspectives and doors. Don’t missTeach Us to Outgrow Our Madness if you want to read powerful short stories. Enjoy!

Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness - Kenzaburo Oe

Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness

Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness: These four novels display Oe’s passionate and original vision. Oe was ten when American jeeps first drove into the mountain village where he lived, and his literary work reveals the tension and ambiguity forged by the collapse of values of his childhood on the one hand and the confrontation with American writers on the other. The earliest of his novels included here, Prize Stock, reveals the strange relationship between a Japanese boy and a captured black American pilot in a Japanese village.

Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness tells of the close relationship between an outlandishly fat father and his mentally defective son, Eeyore. Aghwee the Sky Monster is about a young man’s first job — chaperoning a banker’s son who is haunted by the ghost of a baby in a white nightgown. The Day He Himself Shall Wipe My Tears Away is the longest piece in this collection and Oe’s most disturbing work to date. The narrator lies in a hospital bed waiting to die of a liver cancer that he has probably imagined, wearing a pair of underwater goggles covered with dark cellophane. 

Kenzaburo Oe

Oe Kenzaburo, (born January 31, 1935, Ehime prefecture, Shikoku, Japan), Japanese novelist whose works express the disillusionment and rebellion of his post-World War II generation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1994.

Oe first attracted attention on the literary scene with Lavish Are the Dead, published in the magazine Bungakukai. His literary output was, however, uneven. His first novel, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, was highly praised, and he won a major literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, for The Catch.

Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness - Kenzaburo Oe

Married in 1960, Oe entered a further stage of development in his writing when his son was born with a brain hernia in 1963 and the ensuing surgery left him intellectually disabled. This event inspired his finest novel, A Personal Matter, a darkly humorous account of a new father’s struggle to accept the birth of his brain-damaged child.

Oe continued to investigate the problems of characters who feel alienated from establishment conformity and the materialism of postwar Japan’s consumer-oriented society. Among his later works were the novel The Silent Cry, a collection of short fiction entitled Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, and the novels The Pinch Runner Memorandum and “Coeval Games”.

The Changeling tells the story of a writer who relives his personal history, often in a dreamlike and surreal manner, after he receives a collection of audiotapes from an estranged friend who appears to have recorded his own suicide. Death by Water the writer Kogito Choko—Oe’s alter ego, who appears in previous works—attempts to pen a novel about his father’s death. Oe later published “In Late Style”.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Japanese Literature – A Literary Journey

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