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Report
Comfort Woman by
Nora Okja Keller
By Sheila Suk Olsen
Presentation Outline
Brief summarization of analytical aspect
Thesis asserted
Explanation of content/background
Summarize/wrap-up/questions
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ENGL1313
Thesis
“I plan to show how Keller connected her
protagonists: a former comfort woman and
her daughter by providing them with a
voice against the atrocities towards
women traditionally apparent in Asian
cultures and during the Pacific War. Their
display of strength came from exercising
their voice.”
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Background
:How are atrocities discovered?
 Historical Account
• 1932 first comfort station* established by
Japanese Imperial Army in China
– 1937 Nanjing (Nanking) Massacre
• 1931-1945 estimated over 200,000** women
from various countries in Asia forced into sexual
servitude (Novel begins in early 1940’s in Korea
[Before the separation of N. and S., ending in
early 1990’s in Hawaii, USA, this was near the
time Keller wrote her first novel.)
 Witness/Word of Mouth
• 1993 @ human rights symposium heard
testimony from an actual comfort women
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ENGL1313
Issues
Characters
March 1919
Late 1930’s-Early
1940’s
Early 1950
College Student/Japan
Colonizes Korea
Arranged
Marriage/Birth to Soon
Hyo/Dies While
Sleeping
Deceased
Not Born Yet
Youngest of 4
Daughters/Dowry into
Servitude
Spirit Deceased
Mother as Akiko
Not Born Yet
Silenced by
JIA/Comfort
Woman/Escaped to
US Missionaries
Gives Birth/Marries
US Missionary/Moves
to USA (FL/HI)
Daughter Beccah
Not Born Yet
Not Born Yet
Only Child Born in
Korea/Raised in USA
Grandmother
Mother as Soon Hyo
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ENGL1313
Relationship Cycle
Circle of Life
Birth
Puberty
Motherdaughter
Death
Marriage
Child
Birth
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Character Quotes
Daughter
Mother
Grandmother
“Marriage is not about
love but about duty.
About having sons.
Abuot keeping the
family name,”
lectured by new inlaws.(CW, 180)
Soon Hyo said of her
mother, “My Mother
never heard her name
again.”(CW, 180)
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“When I became
pregnant, I could not
help worrying about
what my baby would
look like…Korean or
Other. Me or not me.
Now, as I look at my
Bek-hap, my White
Lily, I do not know
how I could have
doubted her
perfection.” (CW, 154)
“When I was a child, it
did not occur to me that
my mother had a life
before me.” (CW, 26)
“I wanted to help my
mother, shield her from
the children’s sharptoothed barbs…and yet I
didn’t want to. Because
for the first time, as
I…listened…(as they)
using their tongues to
mangle what she said
into what they
heard…and I was
ashamed.” (CW, 88)
ENGL1313
Secomdary Sources Quotes
Jodi Kim
Associate
Professor of
Ethnic Studies
at the University
of California at
Berkley
Research and
teaching critical
and race studies,
postcolonial
theory.
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Aniko Varga
Graduate
student from
the University
of Chicago
with a major in
History.
Interest in
History, Social
Sciences,
Gender
Studies.
Schultermandl
Research
professor at the
University of
Austria in the
Department of
American
Studies.
Interests are in
Multi-Ethnic
American
Studies and
Critical
Multiculturalism.
ENGL1313
QUESTIONS?
Comfort Women in S. Korea Today

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