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Symbolism In The Sound Of Waves By Yukio Mishima

Decent Essays
In the novel, The Sound of Waves, by Yukio Mishima, the West’s encroachment into the East is depicted allegorically. Mishima incorporates the symbolism of the West’s encroachment of the East in a multitude of ways. The author uses characterization to depict how Japanese life was affected by Western culture after World War II. Minor characters such as Yasuo Kawamoto and Chiyoko symbolize the West, while the island of Uta-Jima is a symbol of Japan as a whole. The novel pits the ancient, traditional values of the island against the new, brash values of the West. Off the shores of Uta-Jima, the author describes a world slowly succumbing to Western encroachment. The author depicts Shinji as the embodiment of Japanese values pre-World War II. Shinji is described as living an average islander life. He supports his family by fishing, something that men on the island have done for generations. The author illustrates the ocean’s importance to the island many times in the novel. Shinji believes the ocean “only brings the good and right things that the island needs” (Mishima 53). The islanders’ livelihood is heavily reliant on the ocean. The West, however, is not something that the “island needs.” Uta-Jima is described as being hardly touched by the West, and that is why “there’s not a thief on…show more content…
Chiyoko represents the West’s neutral impact, while Yasuo represents the West’s negative impact. Mishima’s depiction of how long-established Japanese values and customs were altered by the United States’ involvement in Japan offers both a negative and positive viewpoint. Minor characters such as Yasuo and Chiyoko were created to symbolize the Western encroachment on Japan. The small island described in the novel is an allegory for the entire island chain of Japan. The author uses Uta-Jima to describe the West’s slow chipping away at the culture he held so
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