Family is a major theme in much of Oe Kenzaburo’s work, and decades of novels have focused on it. Oe’s son, Hikari was born disabled. Since his birth, most of Oe’s books contain his son (who is often named Eeyore after the donkey in A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh) as well as other family members.
Aghwee the Sky Monster is one of those family orientated stories. However, Oe uses it to explore an alternative life, a life in which he let his son die instead of helping him live. The story followed the character D and his psychological trauma from killing his new born son. It’s a chilling story looking into the madness of people and consequences of one’s actions when given the chance to play God.
The dead baby, Aghwee, is a key character in the story. It’s an aggressive character, it taunts D and in the end is the reason for D’s death. This character of the dead baby is an example of one of Oe’s favourite literary techniques, grotesque realism, which aids in the illustration of the dilemma and resulting madness which D experiences in the story.
Oe uses his characters not only to represent other family members, but also himself. He is reported to have said that upon the birth of his son, he experienced an identity crisis. He, like D, had the power to end his son’s life and that power haunted him – leading to the creation of Aghwee the Sky Monster.
In comparison to other Oe Kenzaburo works, Aghwee the Sky Monster is different story to one he usually writes when looking at family relationships. It looks at the might-have-beens and not real life events which inspired him to dedicate years in writing about.
Aghwee the Sky Monster can be found in the collection of Oe Kenzaburo works entitled Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness: Four Short Novels.