Person's Perception Changes Their Reality, By Comparing Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Literature Type: Term Paper Paper: #34381801 Related Topics: Virtual Reality, Ego, Rape, Noble Truth
Excerpt from Term Paper :

¶ … person's perception changes their reality, by comparing the two stories "In a grove" from Rashomon by Ryunosuke Akutagawa and "A thousand cranes" by Yasunari Kawabata

Akutagawa Ryunosuke, born in the year 1892, was a short story writer and a poet and an essayist, who was also one of the first few Japanese writers whose works happened to be translated into English. He was a perfectionist, and an extremely stylish one at that, and he often wrote on macabre themes. The author was born in Tokyo, which is famous for its rich and varied cultural heritage, and this heritage is reflected to a great extent in all his writings. Akutagawa Ryunosuke style of writing has been described as being highly expressive and explicit, and this is usually in evidence when he describes sensations, like for example, he describes the touch of a butterfly's wings and said that for many years afterwards, he felt the wing's imprinted dust on him. (Akutagawa Ryunosuke: (1892-1927))

The story, 'Roshomon' and 'In a Grove' is about the death of a samurai and the rape and the disappearance of the samurai's young wife, Masago. This is being investigated, and a woodcutter, a priest, a policeman, and an old lady are all requested to give their testimonials as to what they had witnessed, and the fact is, all the testimonials vary slightly. Furthermore, three confessions to the crime are given, one by a thief named Tojomaru, one by the raped wife, and one by the Samurai himself, through a medium. All three confessions contradict each other, because each one claims to have killed the Samurai himself. The location of the murder is agreed upon by all the three, the sequence of events is also agreed upon, but the only problem is the identity of the murderer, and this is because of the different and conflicting reports of the events in the Grove. (Akutagawa Ryunosuke:

The Japanese Yasunari Kawabata was born in the year 1899 in Osaka, the son of a famous Doctor, who also had literary interests. Both his parents, however, died when he was just a small boy, and, as the Japanese believe and thrive on strong blood ties, this event seems to have affected this writer's very outlook on life, and maybe this was also the reason for the writer's leanings, in his later life, towards the tenets of Buddhism. (The Nobel Prize in Literature 1968) Yasunari Kawabata's book, 'A Thousand Cranes' deals with a young man and the way in which he forms a communication channel with his dead father through his father's two mistresses. Set amidst the serene atmosphere of the Japanese tea ceremony and the placid surroundings of the place, the book deals with relationships and psychological insights that were way beyond the times in which the writer actually lived. (Alibris) This work has been called the 'Tale of Taboo', and it has received a good amount of critical acclaim both within Japan and also form abroad. A young man attends a Japanese tea party in order to meet a bride, and when he was there, he happened to meet an old flame of his father. The young man falls for the older woman and soon gets into an affair, of which the young woman does not approve. However, when the man falls for the daughter, the older woman commits suicide, and this prompts the young woman to run away. (Yasunari Kawabata: Works)

The concept of 'reality' in the two works 'Roshomon in a Grove' and 'A Thousand Cranes' and the way in which a person's perception would be able to change his very grasp of reality is worth a comparison. In the first work, the Roshomon in a Grove, the story that was made into a successful film contains four subjective elements wherein four different individuals relate their individual eyewitness accounts of a single event that they had all happened to witness, that is, the murder of the Samurai. All the four accounts are contained in a separates narrative with...


The structure, therefore, is extremely complex, and the handling of such a complex structure by the writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa demonstrates his high skill. (The Film Idea)

The inner story revolves around three main characters, and these are Takehiro, Masago, and Tojomaru, the bandit. Even before the reader is introduced to the main story, the three characters have already stated their own version of events to the magistrate, and a woodcutter and a priest tell the story to the reader. The reader gets the impression that there are quite a few discrepancies in the three different versions of the same incident, and the woodcutter finally relates his own version, because of the fact that he too was an eyewitness to the horrible series of events that culminated in the murder of the Samurai. The woodcutter also feels that all human honors would be lost by the various attempts being made by each character in the story to transform the objective reality in a manner that would only support the needs of his own ego. The priest, who is another narrator of the story to the reader, also feels that men would do anything and everything so that their own egos would be satisfied appropriately. (The Film Idea)

The three versions of the same incident make the reader feel that the speaker is exalted when he is speaking about his own part in the entire episode. For example, when the bandit relates his version of how he tied the Samurai to a tree and took his wife who resisted him at first but succumbed to him later, he has made himself seem not only very clever at what he does for a living, but also that he is such a sophisticated man that a woman who is trying to defend herself by attempting to kill him finally succumbs to his charms. Here the person's perception has actually changed the reality of the situation, and the bandit's perception of events has managed to change the reality to such an extent that he comes across as a noble and brave warrior who fought to the finish. The version told by the wife of the slain samurai contains more pathos than the one told by the bandit. She states that she was indeed raped, but later the bandit ran away into the woods, leaving her alone.

She also states that there was no sword fight and there was also no question of either of the two men dying, she says that she ran weeping to her husband who only looked at her with contempt, and this was because she was raped. She cut the ropes binding him, and then offered him her dagger so that he cold kill her if he so wished, and she does not remember what exactly happened afterwards. The story told by the samurai differs from both the other versions; he states that the bandit had actually tried to console his wife after the rape, and she had agreed to run away with him, but on the one condition that he kills her husband first. He now starts to make out that his adversary was indeed noble, and the reason for this is that he would also be elevated. For example, the bandit is made to share the shock that the husband feels at the perfidy of his wife, and this would elevate his position, showing a distortion of reality again. Rashomon, therefore, is one of those story in which there is no relativity of truth or of reality; it is about the various kinds of lies that people in general tell each other in order to preserve and protect their own ego and self-image. (The Film Idea)

The book 'A Thousand Cranes' by the writer Yasunari Kawabata is another intriguing story that some people describe as being very much like a Japanese watercolor painting, with the artistic brush strokes of the genre. However, it is sometimes also described as being at times pompous, and at times quite self absorbed and self enamored. However, the fact that it contains excellently crafted symbolism, which is in fact a testimonial tot the skills of the writer must not be ignored, and the tale makes everyone who reads it react either positively or negatively to it. The Japanese traditions and inherent family ties and blood bonds are explicitly described within the work, and the constant struggle of the writer to survive in a world as a virtual orphan, with neither parent alive to protect and sustain him, are very touching. Human psychology appears to be a primary topic of interest in the story, and the story deals with certain raw emotions and reality. (A Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata: Customer Reviews)

The writer has often been praised for his analysis and the psychology of women…

Sources Used in Documents:


Akutagawa Ryunosuke. Retrieved From Accessed on 9 March, 2005

Akutagawa Ryunosuke: (1892-1927). Retrieved From Accessed on 9 March, 2005

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