An Analysis of the Gossamer Years

1423 WordsNov 22, 20066 Pages
The Gossamer Years In the book The Gossamer Years, Heian society of Japan is expressed through the voice and actions of the author of the book. The book is a compilation of memoirs written by a noblewoman who lived during this period; however, it is not an extremely accurate historical reference. Instead it is a personal encounter of an individual and her response to her life and lives surrounding her, which leaves the reader to deduce for themselves how events effected society in a non-bias type of way. From these memoirs, Heian Society can be dissected from the stand point of an outsider looking in, instead of a history book telling the reader what it was like. The writer doesn't explain the society and events that she faces;…show more content…
After spending quite some time at the temple, the Prince writes to her asking her to return to the city and he even tries to threaten her in a way by telling her "that gossips say I have done and become a nun (page 104)," but she is not swayed. In response to his threats she replies, "I am here only because I have been bored and have nothing else to do (page 105)". Acts such as this makes it unclear if she is really at the temple for religious purification or to upset her misbehaving husband. There are other times when the Prince's correspondences have a forgiving tone due to such days when "he is in penance, and on the (next day) my direction is forbidden". These are presented to the Lady in a way that comes across as an excuse and not actually a religious obligation. It is not explained whether direction is forbidden for religious reasons or by reasons of astrology, perhaps bad luck. Regardless, it is more than apparent that religion is a focal point in all aspects and lives in Heian society. The one part of Heian society that comes across with clarity and definition is their courtship and marriage practices. As mentioned before, Lady Gossamer's entries begin around the time of her courtship from the Prince, so we can see a little of the process of courtship that they experienced prior to being wedded. "Most men would have gone through a suitable intermediary, a lady in waiting perhaps, but he went directly to my father with hints that he would like to
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