Yukio Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea -  Existentialist Views On Death

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Yukio Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea - Existentialist Views On Death

Cultures all over the world have different convictions surrounding the final, inevitable end for all humans - death. In the United States, and in most Westernized cultures we tend to view death as something that can be avoided through the use of medicine, artificial respiration machines, and the like. To us, death is not a simple passing, and usually, we do not accept it as a normal part of life. Death, to Westernized folk, is not celebrated, but is rather something to be feared, something that haunts us all in the back of our minds. However, this mentality is not held through all cultures -- in Mishima's The Sailor, a Japanese novel steeped …show more content…

Many existentialists believe that religious, metaphysical, agnostic or atheistic convictions alter the true "meaninglessness" of the act, but that through understanding death as being meaningless, we actually add to the meaning in our own lives. If a human becomes capable of accepting courageously, as the boys did, the absolute certainty of his death, he grows more authentic and begins to fill his life with new meaning. In fact, there is a close correlation between the courage to face the unavoidablity of death, and then through that, to find a balanced view and perspective on their place in the living world. This idea is not just shown in existentialist literature like The Sailor, but is embedded within literature that we all grew up with. In many ways, a simple fairy tale can have numerous parallels with Mishima's ideologies. For example, in one fairy tale - the story of a chivalrous knight - a knight must go out into the woods on an agreed upon day to face the "Green Knight," who represents death. Here, he has to let the mysterious knight cut off his head. As he goes into the forest, accepting his impending death, he meets a beautiful princess, and stays with her for three days. This hostess thrice attempts to seduce him - but to no avail. Bound by his chivalrous duties as a knight, the young man goes out into the woods to meet with

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