Analysis Of Dazai's 'The Setting Sun'

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Furthermore, as Chiemi Kan and a team of researchers discovered in a psychological study published by the International Society of Behavioral Medicine, “social class or socioeconomic status (SES), indexed by constructs such as education and income level, is an important predictor of health,” (“Psychological Resources as Mediators of the Association Between Social Class and Health: Comparative Findings from Japan and the USA”, 53). Dazai’s story also mirrors this relationship, as the mental state of the characters is heavily affected by their class, which can be analyzed with the Psychoanalytic literary lens.

The Setting Sun opens on the rather normal scene of Kazuko eating breakfast with her mother in their country home, and the two have a conversation centered around Naoji and their fears of his demise (Dazai, 9). Kazuko, in an attempt to comfort her mother, quips that only good people die early, and because he is such a scoundrel, Naoji is not dead. The focus is placed on Kazuko by her mother, however, who jokes that she will therefore die an early death, but Kazuko responds seriously with, “Why should I? I’m bad and ugly both” (Dazai, 10). She is explicitly unsatisfied with her personal behavior and appearance, indicating a severely low self-esteem linked to her failure to behave like her mother, the ‘perfect’ aristocratic woman. This core psychological issue appears again when, after accidentally burning down their shed, Kazuko feels immense and crushing guilt,
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