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Japanese Literature: Five Women Who Loved Love, The Glass Slipper and Other Stories and Masks (Coursework Sample)


This exam has two parts. You must do all two, for a total of 4 paragraphs:
Part One (2 paragraphs total):
1) Five Women Who Loved Love, p. 134:
“Later, during the early-morning hours, Moemon ...”
2) The Glass Slipper and Other Stories, p. 119: “The gloomy German song from the radio ...”
1) What it means on the surface. You might choose to explain the references, the people, the narrative voice, the time period, etc. Talk about it in terms of the way we have discussed texts and time periods in this class.
2) What it has to say about the story as a whole. All of these are open to “deep” interpretations—do what you can to get past the surface meaning and into what they might mean on this deeper level. Is the story an allegory? Does it have a moral? Does it tell us something about the author, or about the readership?
Part Two (2 paragraphs):
Everyone: In two paragraphs, offer an interpretation of the scene at the end of Masks in which Mieko hears the baby's cry and drops the mask. Is it regret? Recognition? Joy? Something else? What does the cry of the baby mean, and what does the mask symbolize? Use textual clues from earlier in the novel to bolster your argument. Use quotations from the work, and cite them specifically by page number.
Hints and suggestions:
* you must write your answers for the test alone by yourself.
* Because of this, I will only be grading for content, not for spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.
* Your answers should go beyond simple identification. Each paragraph should be a minimum of 8 sentences.
* You do not need an argument, and you do not need to tell me everything you know on the subject. Simply discuss the texts. You are welcome to research your answer to a question, but you must cite any information that is not common knowledge, and you must make it clear when you are quoting from the text itself. When in doubt, cite it.
* You do not need a bibliography (a works-cited list) unless you use an outside source (a secondary source).
* You must cite the correct page numbers for the versions of the books we are using for this class.

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Japanese Literature: Five Women Who Loved Love, The Glass Slipper and Other Stories
and Masks
Ihara Saikaku depicts realistic scenes of bourgeois life blending it with complexity of human love where, at the end, love always culminates into tragic catharsis. Common traits of his writing include — use of foreshadowing, plotting the suspense of a situation itself, shaping characters in the context of affairs that are socially transgressive and making those characters ‘human’ by placing them in a dichotomy between ninjo (human emotion) and giri (duty) CITATION Jan00 \p 183 \l 1033 (Jansen 183), as they also perceived their society with contemporary values. However, his real charm lies in the subtleness of his depictions of diverged forms of carnal affection while retaining the lyrical note. The paragraph of our concern appears in the segment named as “The Sleeper Who Slipped Up”. As the title suggests, readers, from the very first glance, are aware of a sense of ‘mistake’ — the notion that echoes in the entire plot of the story. We almost ‘see’ the actions of Moemon, experience the revelation of mistake through film-like visual descriptions. The imagery offers us a sense of awkwardness, a hint of carnal affair and a disclosure of social transgression — themes which are fundamentally connected with the plot of the entire narrative. The third-person narrative style weaves a tension between realism and morality. Hence, the concerned paragraph represents the essence of the entire text by fitting perfectly into his poetic metis.
The narrative momentum of The Glass Slipper and Other Stories, authored by daisan no shinjin CITATION The \p 185 \l 1033 (Orbaugh 185) Shotaro Yasuoka, is the product of post-World-War-II Japan where the emptied Tokyo cityscape offers the sight of national trauma. Yasuoka's misfit protagonists often wriggle in hapless frustration, fastened in concatenation of family-bonds, like the son who was tired of accepting his strange father, an ex-army man now an indifferent kind of person living in the post-war Japan, in "The Sword Dance". This text follows the shishosetsu CITATION The \p 32 \l 1033 (Orbaugh 32) literary form where the author and the first-person narrator, usually the central character, are identical. Here we find a man who has failed to combat his ‘utterly incomprehensible emotion’ CITATION Yas08 \p 119 \l 1033 (Yasuoka 119). His reminiscence entails a sense of disempowerment...
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