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Disrespect in The Sailor who Fell From Grace with the Sea and Wonderful Fool

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Disrespect in The Sailor who Fell From Grace with the Sea and Wonderful Fool


      Throughout various works of world literature, respect is a major concern amongst the characters. This manifests itself in how the relationships between characters in the work are characterized. Sometimes lack of proper respect can be an auxiliary cause for conflict, while in other cases it can be the root of it. In Japanese culture, respect is considered very important in the relationships between different people; for example, it is customary to bow to one's elders and respect those of superior knowledge and ability. Failure to show such respect is taken offensively and considered extremely disrespectful. This important concept of disrespect is quite prevalent in both The Sailor who Fell From Grace with the Sea and Wonderful Fool, where the relationship characterization of the two main characters reflect this idea through the conflicts. In the former, Ryuji shows disrespect by patronizing Noboru, which causes conflict; in the latter, Gaston's lack of response to the gangster Endo's disrespect is an auxiliary cause to the main conflict between them.

 

In Yukio Mishima's The Sailor who Fell From Grace with the Sea, Noboru has a very high opinion of his intellectual acumen. "At thirteen, Noboru was convinced of his own genius (each of the others in the gang felt the same way) . . ." (Mishima 8). Noboru, along with the other members of his gang, view themselves to be mature and intelligent. They believe that societal hierarchy restricts their intellect. They feel it to be their "special privilege" and that "[the gang members] are the ones who do the permitting . Teachers, schools, fathers, society - we permit all tho...


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...ren are susceptible to this sort of flattery, and like it. However, since Noboru views himself as the farthest thing from a child, he is deeply offended; he views this patronization as disrespect. In Wonderful Fool, Gaston's unresponsiveness to Endo's disrespect becomes a secondary cause to the main conflict between them. Endo does not want Gaston around because to him Gaston represents sentimentality; therefore Endo tries to get rid of him by verbally berating him and at one point striking him. These conflicts resolve in different manners, however this concept of disrespect is a contributing factor to those conflicts and provoke the antagonism of each work.

 

Works Cited

Endo, Shusaku. Wonderful Fool. London: Peter Owen Publishers, 1995.

Mishima, Yukio. The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea. New York: Vintage International, 1993.

 


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