Friday, February 20, 2009
THE BOX MAN PART ONE - THE BOX MAN BY KOBO ABE
THE BOX MAN by Kobo Abe is a surreal novel (and there is no better world than surreal to describe this book) set in a Japan of what I gather is the near future….People have started dropping out of society and living in large boxes….These are not like the homeless people of today who sleep in cardboard boxes….These are actually people who spend all their time in a box with two eyeholes cut out as well as two holes cut out for their arms….The boxes reach almost to their ankles and they shuffle along….On the inner walls of the box are shelves holding toothbrushes, tools etc….Some other touches-An umbrella that can be opened over the top of the box for rainy weather and a phone book or some other similar object that be placed on top of the head to prevent rubbing the top of the head against the box.
It’s an interesting book that makes valid social criticism about the negative conformist material society we live in globally….It does get a bit too weird at the end to the point of where it almost ceased to make sense but I still liked it….Definitely Kobo Abe’s best book and I’m not one who generally likes surrealist literature.
This book inspired me to create a lesson for my Fine Arts/Performing Arts class….My students working alone or with a partner had to create their own box as a living space….Here was the original lesson handout (which was included with an excerpt of a couple of pages from the book).
Pretend you are a box man like the one(s)in the story and design a box similar to that described in the excerpt from the book.
The finished box will be due the sixth week of the term. You and your group will present it in front of the class.
This last week the project was due….I will be uploading pictures shortly.