Role Of Women In Kokoro

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Kokoro by Natsume Soseki is one of the most famous novels in modern Japanese literature. The novel is set in Meiji era Japan, a time when Japan became a more modern and Westernized country. Although the modernization of Japan was a welcomed change, many Japanese were torn between the inevitable modernity of their country and their tradition. The modernization of Japan brought about societal changes in the role of women, but similar to the Meiji era, the representation of women in Kokoro were torn between modernity and tradition. Through the characterization of the three women in the novel, his diction, and his tone, Soseki demonstrated the roles and views of women in Meiji era Japan. Each of the three women in the novel were characterized …show more content…
Restricting women’s ability to characterise themselves displays the patriarchal structure of Japanese society during the Meiji era. In many instances, the narrator characterizes women as ignorant. One of the first instances in which this occurred was after the narrator’s first real conversation with Ojosan or Shizu, Sensei’s wife. The narrator reflects back to his conversation with Ojosan and how he was “impressed by her capacity for sympathy”, but he also points out that “women… were total strangers to the world” that men experiences (29). This afterthought reflects on the narrator and Sensei’s view that women are to be sheltered in order to keep their innocence. They often felt that women needs their husbands in order to live and they have the thought that if there was no man to guide a woman, the woman would be lost. Both Sensei and the narrator revealed this thought in their different situations. For the narrator, he worries about what his mother would do or even say once his deathly ill father is gone (66). As for Sensei, he believes that “women are unfortunate creatures” for they depend on men on their daily life (16). This fear …show more content…
Many of the men in the novel has a tone of pity whenever they begin talking about the women in their life. Similar to what was mentioned above, the men in the novel fear of what will happen to their wife or their mother if they pass away and leave them to fend for themselves. When the narrator realizes that his father is about to die, he began to feel pity for his mother. “I could not help the tears in my eyes as I looked at her. She understood so little” (90). Soseki creates this tone with his careful choice of diction. His careful diction allows for readers to understand how the narrator feels about his mother and it also demonstrate the view that women are fragile creatures. This tone occurs mostly when it came to talking about the narrator’s mother. Not only does Soseki use this tone in the situation of an impending death, he also uses this when the narrator speaks of his mother’s intelligence. In many instances, the narrator says something along the lines of “I felt sorry for my mother who understood so little” (81). He constantly pointed out his mother’s ignorance of things that he believes are only understood by men. When looking at the diction used in this sentence, Soseki is more blunt when it came to pointing out the level of a woman’s intelligence than when it was about a woman’s dependency on a man. This approach in how Soseki utilizes diction is repeated throughout the

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