Review on Confessions of a Mask Essay

1405 Words Oct 20th, 2005 6 Pages
Masks and alternate identity is a major theme in Mishima Yukio's Confessions of a Mask. The narrator believes that throughout his youth, he had been playing a role on a stage to hide his real self. However, contrary to what the narrator claims, throughout the novel, he is not playing the role of another personality. He is simply hiding. It is only in the conclusion, when the when the war is over, and the need for order and principle and everyday life is restored, that he finally sees the creation of his other identity – the masculine figure that conforms to the society's idea of men.
Before he reaches puberty, the narrator is oblivious to the differences between his peers and himself – he simply assumes that everybody else is just
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He then has his misconception that he is the only boy who has the complexity to wear a mask. Instead, he comes to believe that their appearance and action perfectly conformed to what they really are. While his peers "could be their natural selves," he must put on a mask and "gain control over [his] consciousness." And thus he comes to realize that the difference that separates him from his peers, other than his sexual orientation, is the mask and the secret, "shameful portion of [his] mind" that hides behind it.
Contrary to his belief, the narrator does not have a mask on. Although the narrator believes in a misconception that he is ‘playing the role of a boy,' when in fact, what he considers to be a mask is simply his body and his male appearance. The narrator is never in a real need to ‘play a role' because nobody really actively tries to find out who he really is. His peers, based on his appearance, all assume that he shares the same sexual orientation as they do.
Furthermore, the male body, for the narrator, the male body has significance in the narrator's mind. With their perfect, muscular body, Omi, St. Sebastian, and Yakumo all have the "definition of the perfection of life and manhood." To the narrator, the body is not only a manifestation of manliness, it is the embodiment of the "untamed