Importance of Seasons in Kawabata's Snow Country Essays

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Importance of Seasons in Kawabata's Snow Country

In his novel Snow Country, Yasunari Kawabata depicts a relationship between two people in the mountainous region of Japan. Shimamura, a businessman from Tokyo, visits a village in the snow country and develops a relationship with Komako, a geisha in that village. Their relationship is the central focus of the novel, as it changes each time Shimamura leaves for Tokyo and returns. Kawabata uses the changing of the seasons to reflect these changes in relationship. Since the novel is set in the snow country, the seasons have specific characteristics, and these parallel the relationship between the two central characters. Spring is a time of new beginnings in the snow country
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In the snow country, spring is a time when people can re-enter the world as the snow that has engulfed their houses for the cold winter months begins to melt away. It is a time when rains bring tiny sprouts of plants that have been forgotten because the snow has covered them for so long. These new beginnings and rebirths in nature are reflected in the relationship between Shimamura and Komako. Shimamura sees Komako in the same way as the new sprouts budding up from the ground, as an unspoiled creature that has just surfaced. He considers Komako an "amateur" and refers to her as "clean". Thus, he feels he needs to look out for the new seed to make sure she grows safely. His protecting nature and her dependence on him form the foundation of the friendship that develops as the initial relationship between the two. "Shimamura, however, had labeled her an amateur and, after a week in the mountains during which he had spoken to almost no one, he found himself longing for a companion. It was therefore friendship more than anything else that he felt for the woman. His response to the mountains had extended itself to cover her." (23) Shimamura views Komako as a new seed, yet as spring progresses, seeds begin to grow with the help of spring rain. These seeds will grow and by fall or winter, become a new tree or flower. In Shimamura and Komako's relationship, the dependency that Komako had on Shimamura fades as

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