Dr. Scanlon asked in class today if there is a word or theme that connects all the stories in Once the Shore. I think my word would be “displacement.” The stories feature physical displacements (such as the Japanese characters who are living in Korea, the way the presence of the Americans changes the roles and places of the island’s residents, and even the island itself– after all, islands displace the water around them.

There’s also emotional displacement–the mental illnesses, obviously, but also the experiences of characters like Ahrin and Sinaru. Events outside their control (like the death of her husband, or the loss of his arm) have “displaced” them emotionally, causing them to process things differently (or not to process them at all).

So emotional displacement, mental displacement, physical displacement…there is some of each in almost every story.

Displacement: a word to describe this book
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2 thoughts on “Displacement: a word to describe this book

  • October 24, 2019 at 2:21 am

    “Displacement” is a great word that connects this book. I was thinking love and loss, yet they don’t sum up the foreboding issues in the short stories. The island is a made-up island that these people live on… how much more displaced can you get!

  • October 24, 2019 at 5:55 am

    I really like this as a connector for the book. I think the part about the island is particularly clever. I feel like I kept forgetting these were all happening on the island even though that’s a pretty large aspect of the book, but I definitely think the fact that it’s an island should somehow tie into the theme and I think this is a good word for it!

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