3 Kerr Graham

Looking at all the snow forts and igloos around campus

They’re still homes.

Igloos that

lose their roof.

[picture pending]

It is difficult to place merit in ideas of karma or justice when atrocities and wonderful things occur each day seemingly randomly. In my case, I would rather operate by what I perceive to be the “rules” of society, rather than relegate fate to a higher authority. I feel these “rules” are close to what Inouye argues as an understanding and respect for the formality in evanescence (48). In his explanation, he cites Heike, who, fueled by ambition, is arrogant, lacks formality, and dies. By ignoring the form that would have allowed him to exist within society, and the world at large, Heike shortened his life (47).

Going further, Heike’s failure and death seem to act as foil for Chomei’s long life. Chomei, who wholly and completely answered the formalities of court life and society at large by removing himself from it, lived much longer than Heike. In addition, Chomei understood the frailty of life in general, and more specifically, the danger of society: “If you live // among crowds // you cannot flee // when fire breaks out” (55). However, his final thought that maybe he has deluded himself in his effort to avoid those formalities, makes this comparison of embracing formality and ignoring of formality unclear. While Heike died younger, seemingly denied life due to a lack of formality, did he not live life fuller than Chomei? Regardless of who went about life more correctly, it ultimately seems to be as Inouye summarizes: “the pull of evanescence claims everyone – good or bad, justified or not, Heike or Genji” (49).

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One Response to 3 Kerr Graham

  1. I think the moment you chose to write about was interesting. I don’t think it’s something a lot of people would notice or resonate with, but it’s interesting and poetic that you did. I think the connection you drew between form and “rules” is especially important. While I think most people would recognize that rules certainly are a type of form, it is something else entirely to think about the fact that form is a grand rule. However, if each experiences their own evanescence, why is there an emphasis on universal form in Japanese culture instead of the personal form you have described?

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