American and Japanese Perceptions Explored in Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea

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A ship's horn wails in the distance. The long kiss is broken. The sailor's palate is once again wet with longing for the infinite freedom of the sea. It is in this world, where layers of opposite meaning crash as waves to rocks do, that Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea is set. This tale of tragedy is one of a man caught in a tempest of moral collision in the interstice which borders freedom and entanglement. Inevitably, the yearning for domesticity and the bastardized and disempowered life of land grows like a cancer in his once pure soul, and before the flaw can be cut out like a disease, he is ravaged by it. The once distant flaw grows and grows until death is his only salvation. In order to reinforce the danger of …show more content…
He becomes impatient and dissatisfied with the life of a sailor, and gravitates more and more towards the life of land. His repeated memories of distant ports and the power that a ships horn still holds over him seem to vividly symbolize the doubt which still lingers over his decision.

As Ryuji grows more stuck in the firm grip of shore life, Noburu is entangled in his own struggle to find some connection to the universe. While he once found an incredible clarity in the unison of opposites he witnessed as his mother and his hero (Ryuji) had sex, he now finds that the only way to gain the same sense of power is from the rigid control of his passions that he finds in violence. His initiation into the gang expresses this awakening into the clarity of mind that comes with power over nature. He, too, gains an understanding of the Grand Adventure, but his comes with a sense of control and a powerful blood lust.

The stark contrast between the two most vividly described scenes in the book - the consummation scene and the cat killing scene - show the difference between the passive and active powers in which Noboru finds fulfillment. Even the dominant moods and colors, the blue of the soft night, and the red of the cat’s innards, show this contrast. The killing of the cat seems to return him to the sense of order over chaos that he first glimpsed through the peephole as he gazed onto the shared bed of Ryuji and Fusako.
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