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Detailed Notes on 'Spring Snow' by Yukio Mishima - Book Report/Review Example

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Detailed Notes on 'Spring Snow' by Yukio Mishima

Haru no Yuki novel was translated from the Japanese by Michael Gallagher into the English Spring Snow. Set in the early decades of the 20th century, the novel is the story of Kiyoaki Matsugae and Satoko Ayakura. Kiyoaki is the son of a rising samurai family originating in Kagoshima where his grandfather was a marquis but now dead. Off late, he lives with his family a life of luxury near Tokyo. Satoko belongs to an upper class family. The novel depicts how their relationship goes through rough patches and dies under the adverse circumstances instead of rising above them. Set against the background of the period of transition in Japan, known as the Taisho period, the main action of the novel starts on 27 October 1912 and ends in March 1914. Satoko visits the Matsugaes with her aunt and has a crush on Kiyoaki. Kiyoaki, aware of this, tries to remain indifferent although he feels attracted towards her as well. It is so because he makes it a point to live a “correct” life, one that is characterized by morality and steadfast principles. Such a way of life does not allow falling in love as it amounts to being weak, immoral and vulnerable to the opposite sex. In conclusion, the researcher states that one of the major themes of the novel is the cultural decadence prevalent in the Japanese society due to westernization. Here in this book, snow is the instrument that destiny chooses in order to exercise its free will. Kiyoaki's dream sequence is also highly symbolic of the shape of things to come in his life.
Destiny is another major theme in the novel almost as significant as that in the novels of Thomas Hardy. Here in this book, snow is the instrument that destiny chooses in order to exercise its free will. It is as if everything had been preordained. Kiyoaki's dream sequence is highly symbolic of the shape of things to come in his life. He, in a way, sees into the future. The other themes of the novel include isolation, love, friendship, destiny, and an individual's responsibility towards family and society. Love is depicted as an unnecessary evil in a society which is artificial and snobbish.

A major character in the novel is Shigekuni Honda, one of Kiyoaki's school friends and is literally a mute witness to what the two main characters suffer. In fact, the novel opens with events related to Kiyoaki and Honda's childhood. Throughout the novel Honda plays the role of a non-interfering confidant, a friend, philosopher and guide to Kiyoaki. Whenever Kiyoaki finds life difficult, he goes to Honda and pours himself out. Honda listens silently with patience but never reacts to anything. Honda's reading of philosophy makes him think of human beings as "a single vital current," and believe in the "theory of the unity of life and self-awareness" in which "the whole sea of life . . . the vast process of transmigration called Samsara in Sanskrit would be possessed by a single consciousness." He tells Kiyoaki, "The age of glorious wars ended with the Meiji era . . . this is the era for the war of emotion . . . and just as in the old wars there will be casualties." This taciturn man ultimately runs to his friend's help when Kiyoaki is in the verge of death. Kiyoaki too lets him know how special a friend he is by announcing that only he can ...Show more


This essay focuses on the analysis of the Haru no Yuki, that is the first novel in Yukio Mishima's tetralogy called "Sea of Fertility" written during 1968-1970. Set in the early decades of the 20th century, the novel is the story of Kiyoaki Matsugae and Satoko Ayakura…
Author : delldeckow
Detailed Notes on Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima essay example
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