Orientalism

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.

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