3 Wachtel Samuel

Samuel Wachtel

I was getting ready to leave the library when I noticed a beautiful girl I had never seen before.

Glance over my shoulder-

She brushed away a curl.

Moment of wonder.

Pain

My father always says that what you write about doesn’t matter—all that matters is how you say it. I found the topic of the Heike Monogatari much more interesting than that of the Hojoki. Samurai warfare and deep emotion trumps ascetic simplicity any day. However, reading the Heike Monogatari was a chore. Beautiful stories like The Death of Etchu no Zenji, or The Death of Atsumori failed to move me, bogged down with stilted lines like “The rider meanwhile advanced until he was a mere thirty five feet away. At first, Moritoshi tried to keep one eye on each of the two men, but the galloping foe engaged his full attention as he gradually approached” (Heike 313). The Hojoki, however, has a clear and simple grace to it that shines throughout. Even though I disagree with the sentiment, something about words like “When there is something to be done, employ your body. It is hard, yet simpler than using someone else, and being obliged. When you need to go somewhere use our feet. This too is hard, but not as hard as worrying about horse and saddle, ox and cart” (Hojoki 73) stands out as clean and pure and even beautiful. Perhaps this is merely a matter of translation, but the simple and elegant grace of the Hojoki made the conceptual simplicity appealing.

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