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The Outsider in Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea and Wonderful Fool

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The “Outsider” in Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea and Wonderful Fool   


The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea  Wonderful Fool   In designing the characters in a novel, frequently, an author includes a character who finds himself on the outside of the accepted society. This outsider character often finds himself at a disadvantage. The mere fact that he is unfamiliar in his society tends to create problems for the character to solve. After solving these problems, the character leaves behind a lasting effect on at least one other character, both of whom have changed dramatically due to the influence of the outsider.

In Yukio Mishima's novel The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, the character Ryuji Tsukazaki filled this role. Ryuji is a very accomplished sailor who, after beginning a life on land finds himself uncomfortable and uneasy with his surroundings. In fact, throughout the novel, the reader is told about his desire for a life at sea and his favorite song, "I Can't Give Up the Sailor's Life" (Mishima 17). Ryuji, who "had been guided by an antipathy to land" to become a sailor, finds himself in many uncomfortable positions throughout his life on the land, especially in Winter after his return to Fusako and Noboru (Mishima 15).

Ryuji, unable to find camaraderie and acceptance on sea or on land, felt empty and isolated. As a young man, Ryuji experienced many tragedies while growing up. The death of his father, mother, and sister gave him a sour taste of life on land. He found it difficult to feel comfortable and at ease on land, "his only memories of life on shore were of poverty and sickness and death, of endless devastation; by becoming a sailor, he had detached himself from the land forever" (...


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...ture from their company, Takamori and Tomoe finally realized that Gaston, truly an "enigma", turned out to indeed be a "wonderful fool" (Endo 52, 180).

The outsider character in both novels finds himself at odds with his surroundings. Although the plot was different in both novels, certain similarities between the two characters still exist. Both had to evoke a lot of inner strength to overcome their difficulties, both struggled internally and externally with their predicament, and most importantly, both left a lasting impact on the characters involved in the plot. These characters, Gaston Bonaparte and Ryuji Tsukazaki, will definitely remain as two of the most influential "outsider" characters in modern literature.

Works Cited:

Mishima, Yukio. (Translated by John Nathan) The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with
the Sea, New York, Vintage International, 1993.


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