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“Patriotism” by Yukio Mishima Literature Analysis Essay


Introduction

The masterpiece Patriotism by Mishima is an allegorical exposition of the circumstances leading to the death of a young man and his newly wed wife. To bring out the themes of the story, Mishima applies diverse elements of literature to achieve the same. Nevertheless, the use of imagery to underscore the theme of devotion comes out clearly, as the story unfolds.

“Patriotism” by Yukio Mishima

In ‘Patriotism’ Mishima develops the theme of devotion through the use of imagery. The education edict that, “husband and wife should be harmonious” (Mishima 2), does not evoke any form of fights or disagreement between amongst men; on the contrary, it stirs love, respect, and devotion for each other.

Husbands do not scold their wives but they give their lives, love, and time to their wives in full measure. In this case, the education edict comes out as an image, a controversial image for the author to underscore the theme of devotion. Conventional wisdom would call for such an edict to cause revolts amongst men (Keene 1220); however, the edict arouses love.

The education decree

Written at a time when affirmative action is unknown, the education edict would conventionally attract bad blood from men who are enjoying superiority at this time. The Japanese men at this time have every reason to say they are not equal to women; however, in a bid to underpin the theme of devotion, Mishima chooses to paint the men as compliant beings who would raise no finger even at times when they should do so.

In what appears like irony, Mishima paints the soldiers as devoted persons; for instance, instead of revolting against the edict, all men embrace it and decide to love their women even more. Therefore, the education decree is an image that underlines devotion that ran deep in the Japanese culture at that time (Gwenn 96). Similarly, the citizens have to show love to their Imperial Majesties each morning; something they execute devotionally.

There are tablets holding sets of photographs of Imperial Majesties and before going to work, one has to bow before the photographs. The Imperial Majesties’ photographs are images used deliberately to emphasize the theme of devotion. If the people were not devoted, they would find no reason or sense in dutifully bowing down to the photographs every morning.

The Majesties’ portraits

The people’s compliance and dutifulness shows how devoted they are and through this, Mishima achieves the theme of devotion comfortably. Moreover, there is renewal of holy water every morning “and the sacred sprig of sasaki was always green and fresh” (Mishima 2).

The reason why the lieutenant and his wife renew the holy water every dawn is a symbol of their degree of devotion. In a recap, the characters in Patriotism are devoted to whatever they believe, be it governance or religion; once they set out to do something, they execute it devotionally. Their devotion in worshiping the Imperial Majesties is just but an indicator of how devotion can run deep in a society.

Conclusion

Mishima seeks to highlight a number of themes in Patriotism by employing different literal elements. However, the use of imagery to explore the theme of devotion stands out conspicuously throughout the story.

Instead of revolting against what seeks infringe their superiority, men choose to love their women even more in the spirit of devotion. Moreover, the theme of devotion comes out in the way people dutifully bow to images of Imperial Majesties. The education edict and the Majesties’ photos are images that underline the theme of devotion in the story.

Works Cited

Keene, D. Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era. New York: Holt, 1984.

Gwenn, P. The Moon in the Water: Understanding Tanizaki, Kawabata and Mishima. Honolulu: Hawaii University Press, 1979.

Mishima, Y. “Patriotism.” Mutantfrog Travelogue. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, April 22). "Patriotism" by Yukio Mishima Literature Analysis. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/patriotism-by-yukio-mishima-literature-analysis/

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IvyPanda. 2020. ""Patriotism" by Yukio Mishima Literature Analysis." April 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/patriotism-by-yukio-mishima-literature-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"Patriotism" by Yukio Mishima Literature Analysis'. 22 April.

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