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Empire Of The Sun By J.G.Ballard

1449 words - 6 pages

Empire of the Sun. J.G.Ballard

J.G Ballard, is a book that presents war in many different ways. Jim’s
parents, the Japanese Soldiers and Jim itself can be considered as the
individual expressed in the book however I will focus mainly on Jim.
Thus the author shows the reader war through Jim’s eyes. The
perspective of this depends in his state of mind and through the
situations he finds himself in, the portrayal differs depending on
Jim’s surroundings, which often diverse from each other.

As soon as war starts J.G Ballard portrays war as something that will
change Jim’s life forever “Like everything else since the war, the sky
was in state of change”[1]. Although the author does not give a
definite way in how Jim’s life changes he does show the reader how his
style of life changes. He goes through a transition face; where he
changes from being just a wealthy kid to an independent adult “at the
outbreak of war and until a few months earlier, he would have been a
schoolboy, recruited straight from the classroom to the flight
training academy”[2]

As a consequence of that, his perspectives and priorities changed
along with it. We can now see how after been a long time far away from
his parents, he is now more preoccupied on surviving that on their
expectations “he felt a strange lightness in his head, not because his
parents had rejected him, but because he expected them do so, and no
longer cared”[3] In addition we can see how Jim starts to find places
where he feels as comfortable as he did when he was in his bedroom “as
a child safe in his bedroom at Amherst avenue, Jim had watched the
sudden glares that exposed the rats caught in the centre of the tennis
court”[4]. The reader is able to perceive how Jim is able to survive
without his house and how by himself he finds a way of pleasing

Yet we can also argue that at some point at the end of the book
Ballard try’s to show the reader that war has brought Jim many bad
customs. Jim is now used to live in camps, eat once a day and help
injured people or with mortal diseases “on the top floor of the unreal
house in Amherst Avenue, which had once been his home but now seemed
as much an illusion as the sets of the Shanghai films studios”[5] Jim
does not feel comfortable anymore amongst his parents, who by the end
of the war have changed too. J.G Ballard exposes his parents as a
figure that has been deeply affected by war “but his mother and father
had been through their own war… they seemed older and far away”[6] In
addition an individual are not only considered as Jim and his parents
but also as the Japanese soldiers, who are obliged to get use to live
like the prisoners in the camp, with food and nothing more than fear
engendered by the years. The only thing the soldiers have right to is
the ammunition, and to feel satisfied with the rest. So as a whole we
can say that the author portrays war as something that has not only
brought psychological...

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