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The development of feminine awareness in the works of Ichiyō Higuchi
Ichiyō,Higuchi,modernity,female awareness,female writer,Takekurabe (“Child’s Play”),
|Publication Year :||2011|
This research explores the development of feminine awareness in the works of Ichiyō Higuchi, the first female professional writer in Japan, through the analysis of the characters in her stories written in different phases of her life. Focus is placed upon women in an attempt to demonstrate that Ichiyō Higuchi does not follow pre-modern (the Edo Period) traditions but creates females of modernity and independent thinking.
The first chapter of the research presents the primary issues of this research as well as its purposes and methods in addition to a brief biography of Ichiyō Higuchi, literature review and the current consensus on the issues. Chapter Two to Chapter Eight are discussions of the seven works along with the characters of Ichiyō Higuchi, in the order of publication dates, among which are Yamizakura, her debut, and five stories written in the summit of her writing career (the so-called “miraculous fourteen months”), including Takekurabe (“Child’s Play”), her major success, Jūsan'ya (“The Thirteenth Nights”)and Ōtsugomori (“The New Year’s Eve”), which have been adapted into theaters and screenplays. Warekara, while being the last piece discussed in the research, is also the last piece of Higuchi’s published work before she passed away. Feminine awareness being its central issue, the research covers males for the purpose of objectivity and highlight on the difficulties women live in, which underline the evolution of the awareness. Thus, in each of the seven chapters the discourse are divided into male perspective and female perspective rather than limited in one single dimension. Furthermore, the research looks into if the females in each story find a breakthrough from the conventional idea of “family” and obtain “individuality”.
The conclusion of the research is two-fold. Modern female, if defined by the presence of independent thinking and behavioral competence, does not exist in Higuchi’s works. However, starting from a damsel who is trapped within her romantic fantasies and as Higuchi’s female image evolves, females in her major works realize the oppression bestowed upon them by the chauvinistic society and respond no longer with compromise but escape or resistance. The motive for the protagonist in Warekara to run away from her family cannot be easily labeled as self-awareness or mere lust; nonetheless, such action is one step closer to individuality. In the final chapter of the dissertation, Uramurasaki, an unfinished work of Higuchi’s, is concisely reviewed for its even more independent main character. All in all, in spite of the absence of explicit modern female awareness in her works, the author of the research considers Higuchi unbound of the pre-modern mindsets and a vanguard of the budding movement of female liberation.
|Appears in Collections:||日本語文學系|
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