Self-Constituting Narratives: Reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s Early Novels in the Light of Narrative Psychology

Nazli, Elzem
The aim of this dissertation is to analyze Kazuo Ishiguro’s early first-person narratives in the light of narrative psychology, a relatively new perspective in the discipline of psychology. The novels that will be dealt with in this regard are A Pale View of Hills (1982), An Artist of the Floating World (1986), and The Remains of the Day (1989). The study argues that the narrator-characters in these novels constitute a temporary sense of self to live by through storytelling no matter how depressing and fluctuating the situation is. Drawing on the works of narrative psychologists like Dan P. McAdams and John McLeod, this study explores the field of narrative psychology and therapy to establish the link between self-construction and storytelling. Analyzing Ishiguro’s novels through the method of dialogic narrative analysis proposed by the sociologist Arthur W. Frank, based on the Bakhtinian term “dialogism,” will provide important insights into what Ishiguro aims to do by constantly engaging with similar themes, such as storytelling and healing; individual well-being and collective well-being; narrative and world; individual responsibility and world matters. Within this framework, this study suggests that while stories and storytelling help the narrator-characters to attain a sense of psychological well-being on an individual level, the novels also question this approach, raising critical questions as to possible conflicts between individual well-being and socio-political well-being by creating a distance between the flesh-and-blood reader and the narrator-characters.
Citation Formats
E. Nazli, “Self-Constituting Narratives: Reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s Early Novels in the Light of Narrative Psychology,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2024.