SFU English 380: Mutilation and Foreign Relations in the Japanese Novel

A class blog for students of English 380 - "Literature in Translation" - at Simon Fraser University in Autumn 2005.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mid-Term Assignment

Write two thousand words on one of the following:

1.] In The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Yukio Mishima portrays the absolute alienation of the acolyte Zen monk Mizoguchi. In an important passage Mizoguchi, the book’s narrator, describes his fellow acolyte Tsurukawa as his “translator”. Explain fully, first, what Mizoguchi means by this in the context of the story; and, second, how Mishima’s use of the concept illuminates the impossibility of radical translation (in Quine's and Nagel's sense) between Japanese and Western civilisations.

2.] Shusaku Endo’s imaginative retelling in Chinmoku of the violent persecution of early Japanese Christians and foreign missionaries states the conclusion that all Western ideas will eventually be sucked under and engulfed by the “swamp of Japan”. Discuss how that phrase integrates with the novel as a whole. Concentrate your discussion on Endo’s skillfully ambiguous portrayal of the dialectic between Rodrigues and Inoue, presenting in detail your analysis of how the novelist’s own voice speaks in one or both of the characters.

3.] Concentrating exclusively on Sei Shonagon’s reflections on nature – the landscape, the weather, trees and plants, the ocean – interpret her Pillow Book as being a foundational text for the development of mono no aware in Japanese culture. In your analytical interpretation, incorporate an argument for the contribution of its commonplace book form to this wider aesthetic.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger Deep said...

What is the due date of this paper? Is it the 20th of october or am I mistaken?

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Hey Sandeep, you're right. It's due on the 20th at midnight.


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