Volume 71, Issue 4, Fall 2019
Genocide, Memory, and the Difficulties of Forgiveness in Card’s Ender Saga and Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant
Orson Scott Card’s Ender Saga and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant explore the role of memory in aftermath of genocide; both authors employ fantasy and the metaphor of the buried giant to represent past slaughters. Although distinct in genre, the novels together demonstrate the tension between forgiving and forgetting in memory studies following the atrocities of the twentieth century. Forgiveness in the Ender saga falls short of the accountability embedded in “difficult forgiveness” as defined by Paul Ricoeur, as does the imposed forgetfulness between previously warring parties in The Buried Giant. Similarly, the fictions demonstrate, on a corporate scale, neither “unconditional forgiveness” as defined by Jacques Derrida nor “unconditional love” as defined by Martha Nussbaum. On an interpersonal level, however, The Buried Giant demonstrates the transformative powers of all of these practices, thus inviting reflection on how they might effect larger-scale reconciliations.