Hedonism and a looming term paper

Sitting in my room with a special lady after a long weekend of hedonism. (She’s typing up a report)

A downward gaze

her fingers moving soundlessly

eventually sigh.

 

I find Saikaku’s narrator to be inhuman. You mentioned in class that, like this woman, Hester Prynne falls into the category of the “bad woman” who men envy, except that Hester was a real woman. She felt heartbreak and loneliness and loved her daughter and wanted to love Dimmsdale and chided herself for cheating on her husband. But the narrator here is bereft of the depth that would make her story compelling. The passages you point out (73, Inouye) are the only ones of true self-reflection I could find, and are very inconsistent with the existing mood. You can’t go 40 years without emotion and then suddenly find you are lonely. If one considers the tone of certain passages-”but the days passed and I forgot all about him,” (159, Saikaku) “to my surprise, people blamed me,” (171, Saikaku) and “during my two years of cheap prostitution there I had all sorts of experiences,” (192, Saikaku)- you realize that her affect is inappropriate. If the character is to be believed, we would assume this is a woman with a severe personality disorder. Maybe this is the “self-conscious schizophrenia” (8, Norinaga) Norinaga speaks of. That was a joke. From what I gather, that reading implied that “mono no aware” is a sense of “powerlessness and sadness” (10, Norinaga) that pervades the Japanese thought. They intellectualized this strict class and power structure by externalizing it, and the feeling exists to this day. And I think that this kind of nation-wide shared experience is beyond anything an American could really understand. As you point out in your statement to students (81, Inouye), the mono no aware experience is essentially class-based. So how can a non-minority successful student in the 1st world like me really understand?

 

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One Response to Hedonism and a looming term paper

  1. Avatar of Madeline  Moe Madeline Moe says:

    I kind of felt the same way about the narrator…maybe attitudes were just different in that place and time but there were aspects of her life that seemed kind of tragic that were sort of glossed over. Maybe it was the fact that the male author couldn’t really imagine how a real woman would think?

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