Empire of the Sun - Journey

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J.G Ballard's “Empire of the Sun” is a semi-autobiographical novel based on his own childhood experiences of living in Wartime Shanghai. The novel deals with a range of themes, from starvation and survival to death and war, along with the recurring concept of ‘journey’. Some of the techniques used by Ballard to uniquely express this concept of journey include the writing perspective, themes, imagery, motifs and Jim’ constant growth in knowledge and worldly experience. ‘Empire of the Sun’ is told in third person, from the point of view of a young child and ranges through to his teenage years. Initially, with the main character being at such a young age and so naive about the world and war, one would think it’d be difficult for an author to effectively express the things of which are occurring around him, although Ballard quite easily overcomes this issue and you find the story being told from a much wiser perspective with the naivety of the child still being incorporated into the text. This way Ballard effectively perceives the changing and growing state of mind of the protagonist and central character, Jim. This method of writing isn’t one you’d often stumble upon in a text, as in many cases it’d result in confusion and many would find the plot difficult to grasp. Although through the use of this method Ballad has been able to effectively achieve a very original way of writing which enables us to experience ‘a very remarkable journey into the mind of a growing boy’. This concept of journey is perceived in many other unusual ways, one of these being the motif and recurring imagery of death. Death being one of the main themes is constantly occurring within the main story line and even more subtly within the background. At first with this concept being one of which Jim is unfamiliar with, he often passes a diseased body telling himself that the person ‘was warm under the snow’ or ‘sleeping’, this showing his innocence and lack of life experience. As the novel...
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