Ryunasuke Akutagawa's In A Grove

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The short story “In a Grove” written by a brilliant Japanese writer Ryunasuke Akutagawa, brings into question the certainty of human knowledge and the tendency to lie by illustrating a balance between illusion and reality. The story is a series of testimonials about a murder. However, Akutagawa does not necessarily provide us with enough distinction between the truths and lies. What he did, was present us with enough information to leave us pondering on what events really occurred. According to Howard Hibbett, who wrote the introduction “The composure of his style is undisturbed even by vivvid accents of the sordid or the bizarre" (10). Each character throughout the story has a motivation to lie which makes the line between illusion and reality …show more content…
He proudly admits to killing the samurai and raping his wife while even B7 giving the impression that the wife enjoyed the experience. Then, afterwards according to Tajomaru, the wife puts her rapist on equal standing with her husband. Both of them were with her intimately, but only one can continue to live and be with her, so they must fight for her. He has motivation to lie because he is already a wanted criminal and therefore gains nothing by arguing for his innocence. The only thing left to do is to go down with his pride intact. Therefore, he might be telling his own exaggerated version of what really happened. According the Tajomaru;s testimony, “Because he was a trained, sword bearing worrier, he was quite strong, but he was taken by surprise, so there was no help for him” (21). He smirks with excitement and satisfaction as he tells the story which implies he is proud of his actions and is trying to prove his dominance over the samurai. The testimony states. “I needn 't tell you how our fight turned out… I 'm impressed with this fact still. No body has ever clashed swords with me twenty strokes. (A cheerful smile)” (23). Tajomaru wants to be known for beating a samurai and stealing his wife 's purity which is motivation for disfiguring reality with …show more content…
He states “This is not the whole of her sin. If that were all, I would not be tormented so much in the dark” (28). This shows that the samurai presents himself thorough darkness, which means he also wants us to view him as a victim. According to him, his wife begged Tajomaru to kill him. Not only does he want to be seen as a victim of murder, but also a victim of deception. The samurai wants us to believe his wife betrayed him. He states that his wife yelled “Kill him! I cannot marry you as long as he lives!” (28). What the husband possibly gains is a self-imposed and noble death, and the chance to condemn his wife. Although, that leaves us questioning why the dagger was not found in his

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