Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Shedding light on a Korean American daughter's sense of guilt toward her mother, a former Korean comfort woman, this essay reads Nora Okja Keller's novel Comfort Woman (1997) as a text that addresses not so much responsibility as legal duty, but rather response-ability as ethical capacity. After her mother's death, the protagonist Beccah recognizes her own unwitting complicity in American neocolonial violence under the Cold War regime that silences Asian wartime victims, including her mother, which evokes within her the need for engagement with the temporally and geographically distanced war legacy of the comfort women issue. The novel, I will argue, critically reconfigures the idea of postwar responsibility, paving a way for us outsiders toward the possibility of response-ability that grows from within ourselves.

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