Depiction of Goto Dengo

Okay, I have more coherently formulated my thoughts from class. What I find problematic (which is not the same thing as "inexcusable" or "should have been omitted") in Stephenson's depiction of Goto is that this individual representations too easily stands in for an entire group of disparate people. This is the function that representations serve; they are thus, in some sense, always violent. The decision to be made for individual authors, filmakers, theorists, etc., is not so much "should I produce representations?," because of course (it seems to me) Stephenson should be writing, as "How can I counteract the tendency of this representation to violently stand-in for a much larger whole." The way we read Goto Dengo and his relationship to the prototypical Japanese person of course depends on where we are coming from as readers; but that is not to say that the matter is completely out of Stephenson's hands. Indeed, the artist is responsible, to my mind, to a) deliberate at length about the violence of their representation, and whether they can justifiably depict things as they do, and b) to counteract these violences (which can be done in a variety ways). Does Stephenson achieve this? Perhaps. The question I would pose is to interrogate this is: What are the differences between how Bobby Shaftoe and Goto Dengo stand in for larger populations? My personal inclination is that while Bobby comes to represent that generation of lower-middle class enlisted men, Goto comes to signify, for all intents and purposes, the mentality of all of Japan. This widespread essentialization is, I think, what I respond to in the narrative. Is this a complete misreading? I would love to hear other peoples' thoughts on this matter...