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Yukio Mishima develops the themes of Existentialism and Nihilism through the characters Noboru and Ryuji.

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Presentation on theme: "Yukio Mishima develops the themes of Existentialism and Nihilism through the characters Noboru and Ryuji."— Presentation transcript:

1 Yukio Mishima develops the themes of Existentialism and Nihilism through the characters Noboru and Ryuji

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3  Outline existential schools of thought  Distinguish between existentialism and nihilism  Concisely present examples of existentialism and nihilism in The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea  Speculate about Mishima’s stance on existentialism

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5  A chiefly 20th-century philosophical movement prevalent in Europe assuming that people are entirely free and thus responsible for what they make of themselves  Existentialism is the philosophy that deals with the subjective existence of an individual.

6  Friedrich Nietzsche  Søren Kierkegaard  Blaise Pascal  Jean-Paul Sartre  Franz Kafka  Fyodor Dostoevsky  Albert Camus  Paul Tillich

7  Focuses on concrete existence  Existence precedes essence  Angst  Freedom  Facticity  Authenticity/Inauthenticity  Despair

8 “Values determined by ones own existence” vs. “Values do not exist but rather are falsely invented”  Existentialists believe that one can create value and meaning, whilst nihilists will deny this.

9  Yukio Mishima followed many samurai teachings that coincide with views resembling typical European existentialism ◦ Authentication ◦ Life is meaningless ◦ Lack of forward-thinking/retrospective ideas

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11  If I were an amoeba, he thought, with an infinitesimal body, I could defeat ugliness. A man isn’t tiny or giant enough to defeat anything.

12 Seeking authentication The cry of despair: “There is no purpose.”

13  But as the years passed, he grew indifferent to the lure of exotic lands. He found himself in the same predicament all sailors share: essentially he belonged neither to the land nor the sea.

14 Apathy Attempt to separate self from society

15  But life aboard ship taught him only the regularity of natural law and the dynamic stability of the wobbling world.

16 Separation from society

17  There must be a special destiny in store for me; a glittering special-order kind no ordinary man would be permitted.

18 Self-importance

19 ... And his favorite one was called “I can’t Give Up The Sailor’s Life.” The Whistle wails and streamers tear, Our ship slips away from the pier. Now, the sea’s my home, I decided that But even I must shed a tear As I wave, boys, I wave so sad At the harbor town where my heart was glad.

20 ... And his favorite one was called “I Can’t Give Up The Sailor’s Life.” The Whistle wails and streamers tear, Our ship slips away from the pier. Now, the sea’s my home, I decided that But even I must shed a tear As I wave, boys, I wave so sad At the harbor town where by heart was glad. Despair-driven diction

21  Exaltation swelled in Ryuji’s voice when he touched on the misery of his life, and while he was recalling the total in his bankbook, he couldn’t help digressing from the sea’s power to and benevolence, which was the story he had longed to tell, in order to boast about his own prowess like a very ordinary man indeed. It was just another particular aspect of his vanity.

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23  “And that’s your hero?” the chief said and when he had finished. His thin red upper lip had a tendency to curl when he spoke. “Don’t you realize there is no such thing as a hero in the world?”  “But he’s different. He’s really going to do something... terrific.”

24  “And that’s your hero?” the chief said and when he had finished. His thin red upper lip had a tendency to curl when he spoke. “Don’t you realize there is no such thing as a hero in the world?”  “But he’s different. He’s really going to do something... terrific.” Justification for admiration Downplay of admiration

25  There isn’t any fear in existence itself, or any uncertainty, but living creates it. And society is basically meaningless, a Roman mixed bath. And school, school is just society in miniature: that’s why we’re always being ordered around. A bunch of blind men tell us what to do, tear our unlimited ability to shreds.

26 Downplay of society’s traits Self-justification/authentication

27  “...murder would fill those gaping caves in much the same way that a crack along its face will fill a mirror. Then they would achieve real power over existence."

28 Self-justification power over existence Emptiness

29  The death had transfigured the kitten into a perfect, autonomous world.

30 Search for beauty in abnormal places

31  Noboru, as he affected childishness, was standing guard over the perfection of the adults, the moment. His was the sentinel’s role. The less time they h ad, the better. The shorter this meeting was, the less perfection would be marred. For the moment, as a man, leaving a woman behind to voyage around the world, as a sailor and as a Second Mate, Ryuji was perfect.

32 Attempt to preserve what little freedom/happiness exists Quest for perfection perfection

33  It was time to abandon the dream he had cherished too long. Time to realize that no specially tailored glory was waiting for him" (110).

34  It was time to abandon the dream he had cherished too long. Time to realize that no specially tailored glory was waiting for him Despair

35  “The only people in this world I really trust are my fans – even if they do forget you so fast,” Yoriko mumbled as she lit an imported women’s cigarette.

36 Justification of lifestyle

37  There is no such thing as a good father because the role itself is bad. Strict fathers, soft fathers, nice moderate fathers – one’s as bad as another. They stand in the way of our progress while they try to burden us with their inferiority complexes and their unrealized aspirations and their resentments, and their ideals, and the weaknesses they’ve never told anyone about, and their sins and their sweeter-than-honey dreams, and the maxims they’ve never had the courage to live by – they’d like to unload the all that silly crap on us, all of it!

38 Angst

39  "All six of us are geniuses. And the world, as you know, is empty”

40  “All six of us are geniuses. And the world, as you know, is empty.” Authentication/inauthentication

41  Right, he knew, in terms of a father’s moral obligation. Most books and magazines would agree.

42 Justification

43  Gradually, as he talked to the boys, Ryuji had come to understand himself as Noboru imagined him… Now perilous death had rejected him. And glory, no doubt of that… “Want some tea?”… Still immersed in his dream, he drank down the tepid tea.

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45 Favours ExistentialismOpposes Existentialism  Existential characters suffer despair and angst  Desperate situations seem to lead to “irrational” actions  Characters have difficulty conforming to society’s norms  Existentialist characters are depicted as wiser  Honourable similarities coincide with traditional Japanese values  Uses the novel as a vehicle of authentication  Values depicted as subjective

46  He stares at death with passionate attention and this fascination liberates him.


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