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Saturday, 13 August 2011

A bit of Dissertation Planning.

This post won't contain any story continuation. Instead, I am going to post up a paragraph I have just finished from my dissertation draft. As I said in my last post, my dissertation is going to be examining different cultures attitudes towards homosexuality during and after the War period. This paragraph is from the chapter focusing on Japan's cultural attitude, examining Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask as primary text. It is very much in the preliminary stages, so I apologise if it's not particularly brilliant. But, I would very much appreciate any comments. I need to know if it's any good!

The societal regulations of Japan govern the people’s behaviour and are imprinted into the Japanese culture. One of these regulations controls the individual on a personal level. Each individual must behave in a certain manner according to their age, sex and status. Yet, this behaviour isn’t fixed. A person must be able to ‘choos[e] the appropriate ‘face’ for a particular occasion [so] that one is able successfully to fulfil one’s social role in the world’ According to Hendry, this use of faces, which includes ‘different speech forms used on different occasions’, doesn’t mean that an individual will lose its individuality, rather that ‘[j]ust as tatemae is distinguished from honne, one’s real feelings or intention, behaviour in the group context may be distinguished from the individual who is acting out a role as member of the group’. However, in Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask, the main character insinuates that this is not the case for himself on an individual level, rather the direct opposite. Instead of his individuality being identifiable from his face performance, Mishima clarifies ‘the mechanism of the fact that...precisely what people regarded as my true self...was a masquerade.’ (Mishima, 2007, p. 27). His self as an individual is swamped by his ‘inverted sense of social duty’ (p. 27), which requires him to switch between masquerades for different audiences: ‘I was still using the polite, feminine forms of speech at home, when at school I had begun speaking crudely like the other boys’ (p. 49). Living in such an environment and culture, where the revealing of one’s true nature or ‘honne views...incurred disapproval’ meant that there was no room for the discussion of his private thoughts, feelings or affairs. If he was to reveal his honne, it would  act as an open declaration of being different, ‘to break with the fabric of daily “normalcy” and aspire to an individualism that is totally foreign to traditional Japanese culture’. So, to ensure his acceptance within Japanese culture, Mishima was ‘firmly convinced...that I was to play my part on the stage without once ever revealing my true self’ (Mishima, 2007, p. 101). The system of faces causes the repression and closeting of his true self, preventing him from identifying himself as someone with homosexual desires, or indeed as a homosexual. So although homosexual desire is tolerated, it is only within its designated sphere. It cannot enter Japan's normal culture of repression and masquerade.

Thank you for reading! Please, do comment and judge. 
Also, the next post will be all story! Until then, enjoy these wonderful pictures:

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