‘… Don’t forget that you’re vermin here. Even so, we’ll shelter and feed you. Always remember that in this village you’re only useless vermin.’ (Page 45) Those were the words the headman said to the narrator and his comrades when they first arrived in the village in Kenzaburo Oe’s novel, ‘Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids’. This novel tells the tale of fifteen teenage reformatory boys who are evacuated in wartime to a remote mountain village where they are unfairly and irrationally detested as well as feared. Death and war thwart the boys’ attempt to build a new, respected life for themselves as their fate is left at the merciless hands of the villagers and the harsh realities of wartime. The situation which I find was the most difficult for the boys in this novel is when they were left behind by the villagers when the villagers fled the village because of a suspected plague. The day after the narrator and his comrades arrive in the village, they are directed to bury a small hill of decomposing animal carcasses which are suspected to have died due to a plague. A few people from the village had already fallen ill and one had died. After one of the reformatory boys die, the villagers flee from the village in the middle of the night with their cattle and block the boys from escaping with them because they believed that the boys were infected. ‘Ah,’ Minami groaned. ‘Them.’
‘Even the goats,’ said my brother. ‘They’re even taking the cattle.’
‘They’re running away,’ Minami said angrily, suddenly realizing. ‘At this time of the night, they’re running away.’
‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘They’re running away.’...