The Longer Paper: What’s the story?
The Legend of Miss Sasagawara is a narrative of tragedy.
A tragedy typically illustrates the downfall of the protagonist, who is usually a person of good standing, through one or a series of tragic incidents that he or she does not have control over. The protagonist usually has a wish to achieve some goal but encounters obstacles along the way. The outcome is that the protagonist is unable to overcome these challenges and therefore suffers a change in fortune and experiences a tragic ending.
In this text, Miss Sasagawara is revealed to be a ballet dancer and an educated woman who owns “lots and lots of books” (29). However, she is subjected to social alienation when her outer appearance and her behavior…show more content… As mentioned earlier, Miss Sasagawara does possess worthy merits such as being intellectual and refined. However, her merits are disregarded simply because she was different in appearance from the rest. Yamamoto uses Miss Sasagawara’s character to challenge the presupposed notion that people who are different are necessarily not of value and thus unable to contribute positively to society. There should not be a belittling attitude taken, such as the reception Miss Sasagawara received when she took upon herself to teach a class of girls ballet, and was the only adult rewarded with a bath towel, an intimate gift that she had to open in front of the audience, bearing in mind that this very act could possibly be seen as humiliating based on traditional conservative Japanese culture.
Because of the imposed judgments placed on Miss Sasagawara, she became aloof and withdrawn from society, until misery seeps in. Her admission to the hospital on the assumption she had appendicitis when it was not the case as was verified by the doctor since “her [blood] count’s all right” (25), subtly suggests that what Miss Sasagawara may really be suffering from was the lack of concern for her emotional wellbeing instead of a physical illness.
This characterization therefore serves to remind one of the consequences that arise if one continues to discriminate and disregard the merits of others simply based on their race. It is crucial to understand that discrimination by race is