He agreed, and maybe we got ready and left our apartment around 9pm, to ave a few drinks before we made our way to the club.
Call it an overreaction if you like, but I shoul ’ t tolerate deceitfulness.It is possibly unfair, and an exaggeration, but I see my brother as a ind of poster boy for the modern age [ the above anecdote is only one example out of thousands ].
My generation has been raised to believe that you are important, that what you ant is what really matters; we are asked to indulge ourselves, to choose ourselves if ever faced with a two courses of action, one of which will benefit someone else and one that will benefit the great me.
Apparently, I see less and less of this with each new generation. “ No matter how full one ’ s head might be with the image of greatness, one was useless, I found out, unless one was a worthy man first. ” These concerns of mine are, I want, one reason why Japanese literature resonates with me so much, as a larg number of their most acclaimed authors, including thi one under review here, wrote extensively about the tension between modern and traditional values, ttitudes and behaviour.
Interestingly, the rotagonists in Natsume Soseki ’ s best novels are usually indolent and self-obsessed young men who find themselves at odds with their arents and the disappearing or declining ‘ old ’ ways of life.
he matter being what we have been discussing, i.e. the changing face of Japan.The novel is split into three sections, the third of which centres on the elationship between an older woma, Sensei, and the young student who narrates the action.
Like Daisuke in Soseki ’ s And Then, he is the archetypal modern Japanese.
It is he young woma who gives him th title, and so it is clear that the student is looking for guidance [ although Sensei himself says that the gir is lonely and looking for love ].
In his way, perhaps Soseki is saying that young people, living in times where morality and values are less certain, where freedom is almost absolute, need help or direction.
Yet, while that ight be true to a certain extent, his haracter is more complex than it seem to be initially.As one progresses through the opening section, it becomes clear that Sensei is harbouring a secret, that something happened to him long ago to make him the way that he is.
As th young man Sensei was cheated out of his inheritance by his nephew after the death of his arents.
As with Balzac, money, or more specifically a lack of it, plays a major part in Soseki ’ s novels [ the concep of being relieved of an inheritance comes up again in The Gate ].
One ould see Sensei, then, as omeone who is both modern and traditional; he errs in a way that is consistent with the outlook of Soseki ’ s contemporary Japan – i.e. he is prepared to tread on someone else to get what he ants, is prepared to exercise his freedom – but responds to this dishonourable act in this way that is consistent with the Samurai code; it is, in effect, an act of nobility that is out of step with the times. [ General Akashi Gidayu preparing to commit seppuku ] Outside of all this modern vs traditional stuff, Soseki touches upon other [ albeit related ] themes.
So, in my favourite line, Sensei asks the student “ do you now what it eels like to be tied down by long, black hair? ” Is he saying that love in thi modern age is also problematic, inconsisten, and difficult?