Western Vs. Japanesse Identity In Yukio Mishima's "The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea"

810 words - 3 pages

Yukio Mishima’s novel, “The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea” (will now be referred to as “Sailor”) follows a sensitive 13 year old boy, Noboru, who is caught in the cusp between childhood and adolescence. He is searching for self identity in a time where traditional Japanese values are giving way to new, modern, Western values.
From the beginning of the novel we see Noboru being confined in his room to prevent him from sneaking out to see the rest of the gang. The gang is a group of 5 other boys, all of whom are of the same age as Noboru. They all assert their own genius and seek to understand the “intrinsic order” of the universe through the demolition of the status quo.
The gang is led by a boy known only as “the Chief”. He is a very intelligent, yet spoilt boy who is too often left on his own. He becomes preoccupied with “filling the emptiness of the world”. The only way he sees that the “emptiness” can be filled is by murder. The Chief tries to snatch away the gang’s sexual curiosity by showing them pictures of people having intercourse. He holds meetings every day after school where he affirms himself as both the judge and the jury of the court, he is the supreme power.
I have studied the Chief closely and have found that it is his contempt for the mundane platitudes and the mindless complacency around him which drives him to extremes. To truly understand the Chief I had to go over his philosophy of the world, and people around him. I thought that the best way to portray what I had learned about the Chief was by writing a poem of the “majestic” moment that he realized that he had filled the “world’s great hollows” with the kitten’s blood. I often found myself shocked and disgusted by what he was says. However, the beauty of his diction and the vast imagery which he uses makes me appreciate what he is saying, no matter how vile.
As the poem is written from the Chief’s point of view, it tries to imitate his authoritarian manner of expression. Therefore, it allows me to explore his language. Through trying to emulate Mishima’s style, this allowed me to show my understanding of not only some of the themes of the novel, but also Mishima’s technique of writing. I...

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