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Published: 09-12-2019

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Gender Roles in The Sound of Waves

In Yukio Mishima’s classic twentieth century novel, The Sound of Waves, one may possibly initially hold some misconceptions towards the message of the story. It is easy adequate simply spot particular seemingly-sexist elements and quickly make the judgement that Mishima was a misogynist and plotted to show this in his writing. With the constant objectification of females, females’ inferior domestic roles, and the patriarchal dominance in the novel, it is not difficult to make this judgement. After examining specific literary components of the text, nevertheless, it is clear to see that the concept of sexism is not what the novel aims to highlight. By way of the use of imagery, syntax, and characterization, Mishima communicates a sincere tone that lets the reader know the novel is not a stab at the female gender he merely attempts to convey the thought that expanding up is a turbulent process for all, as seen by way of his characters Shinji and Hatsue.

The 1st literary element, and possibly the most straightforward for the reader to see, is the use of visual imagery. In The Sound of Waves, mentions of nature are widespread and symbolic. The story begins out with a image of serenity. Mishima writes of the “surpassingly gorgeous views” from the cliffs of Uta-Jima and the “calm seas” (Mishima four). To commence with, the descriptions not only set a picturesque scene, but also symbolize Shinji’s and Hatsue’s purity and innocence before their departure towards adulthood. In addition, the narration from the viewpoint of the cliffs suggests that probably the story is in for a downfall — much like the downs and ups of expanding old. The emotional roller coaster of maturity is once again supported by descriptive photographs of the organic setting surrounding the teenagers. When Hatsue and Shinij secretly meet, the storm outside is representative of the swelling excitement and nerves that the two are feeling. As “the ground swell[s]” and “the beach [is] aroar with incoming waves,” the reader can think about that Hatsue’s and Shinji’s feelings are swelling and roaring just like the storm (64). This use of imagery reinforces Mishima’s sincere tone, as he is so honest towards what the story is, he connects it to the all-natural forces that surround the lovers.

Mishima’s blunt tone is again supported by an successful use of syntax. At the start off of the novel, Mishima describes the initial encounter among Hatsue and Shinji. He utilizes this as an opportunity to inform the reader of the physical appearances of the two protagonists. Through the use of parallel structure, it is clear to see that Mishima is providing each characters a fair and equal assessment he is not pointing out the female’s flaws any far more than he is pointing out Shinji’s. 1st, Shinji’s is described in detail. Mishima writes: “He was tall and nicely-constructed beyond his years” (6). Soon right after this, when describing Hatsue, Mishima points out a trait that higlights her strength – or lack thereof – and may possibly give the reader the impression that the story favors males. He writes “her forehead was moist with sweat” (7), which could have the reader thinking that the text aims to point out the weakness of ladies. Mishima, nonetheless, parallels this description when he points out a flaw of Shinji’s and an advantage of Hatsue’s. He writes of “the healthier color of her skin”, proper after describing how Shinji’s skin “can be burned no darker by the sun than his was burned” (6-7). The structure of these descriptions make it simple for 1 to see that the novel is not geared towards any one gender. Mishima is sincere in terms of point out how the two lovers level up to each other, and the descriptions set the stage for the maturing of the characters that is set to take place later on in the novel. Once once again, the syntax supports the truthful tone that Mishima maintains throughout the perform, and let the reader know that the story is about expanding up – not disliking women.

The third and final literary element that is utilized to help the coming-of-age theme is characterization. At the begin of the novel, Shinji had no actual ambitions. He had “become a fisherman as soon as he had finished school”, and his only life goal was to own a fishing boat with his brother (9). But when he meets Hatsue, this all modifications. He nonetheless loves fishing, of course, but he begins rebelling against his routine. Whereas at the start of the novel, Shinji is basically a helper on the boat, he finishes the story by saving the boat from a monsoon when he sacrificially ventures into a storm. But this journey to strength and maturity is not to recommend that Shinji has turn into far more strong than Hatsue. The girl also experiences a related journey. She goes from carrying out precisely what her father and society tell her to do, to surprising her community when she wins the pearl-diving contest and hands more than her prize to the runner-up. The character development continues to contribute to the idea that Mishima does not aim to inform the story with a discriminatory tone he basically wants to inform the story of two teenagers exiting youth and getting into adulthood.

All in all, via the use of imagery to highlight teenage emotion, the utilization of syntax to equally assess the genders, and the employment of effective characterization to show the protagonists’ journeys towards maturity, Mishima’s sincere tone makes it clear to see that he did not intend to suppress female characters in any way. Even though it is true that the discussion of breasts is widespread and the male dominance is slightly stronger than that of the females, Mishima did not imply to offend anyone. He simply wanted to tell a story.


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