Reading Never Let Me Go from the Mujo Perspective of Buddhism

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Abstract

This essay analyzes the children’s imaginative play in Kazuo Ishiguro’s various novels, with a special focus on Never Let Me Go. Children often engage in various types of repetitive imaginative play, acting out stories about things that do not actually exist in order to avoid the pain of confronting their problems. An exploration of children’s play and the roles performed by the guardians and Madam helps us read the novel from a new perspective – the Mujo view of Buddhism. Mujo is the Buddhist philosophy which describes “the impermanence of all phenomena.” In Never Let Me Go, shadows of death weigh heavily on the reader as an unavoidable reminder of the nature of life. This brings Mujo to the Japanese readers’ minds. The Mujo view of Buddhism has imbued Japanese literature since the Kamakura Era (1185), and a reading of Never Let Me Go from the Mujo perspective sheds light on the condition of its protagonists. My analysis aims to introduce the Mujo doctrine to anglophone literary studies by foregrounding the poignancy and resilience found in Never Let Me Go.

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American, British and Canadian Studies

The Journal of Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu

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