The Tale of Genji

2288 Words Sep 8th, 2010 10 Pages
Genji Paper

Cultural structures are often very complex and unique guidelines that vary across the globe. These cultural aspects provide a prominent background into the lives of each society respectfully, as seen often throughout the historic piece of literature, The Tale of Genji. Three crucial aspects depicted in the novel’s progression are the role of women, Buddhism, and the political configuration, each containing positive and negative attributes prevalent in the tale. China was a powerful nation at the time, and during this age, these three societal concepts were important, yet controversial at times. These concepts can all be related directly back to the central character, Genji, along with the other vital people who, not
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Murasaki often doesn’t wish to see Genji or speak to him, so their relationship is troubled at times, but also quite strong and passionate. Genji wants her in the role of the perfect woman, but Murasaki hopes for different things. Murasaki is envisioned by Genji to be the ideal women, so evidently Genji wants her to be an intrinsic part of his life, and therefore spends a lot of time pursuing Murasaki, though her daughter role and the role of possible lover alters the way Genji pursues her. Murasaki has the power to resist however, and she at times neglects Genji, which occasionally upsets him. This could parallel how Genji treats Aoi as often times, Murasaki does not want Genji to be part of her life. Each of these three examples clearly outlines the different roles and influences women play throughout Genji’s life, and each one has the power to bring out different emotions and characteristics in Genji.

Buddhism, a group of beliefs and practices which make up a prominent religion founded by Siddhartha Guatama, plays an imperative role in the court system. While the court systems tend to rule through aristocracy, an important few citizens rule, in a manner where most people of power are hereditary elite or have been elected by those who rule based on the vital qualities certain people possess. One example of Buddhism playing a large role in the life of aristocracy
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