Subject: Exp201, Professor Morales
Sei Shonagon: Hateful Things
Essay question: Consider Sei Shonagon’s definition of the word ‘hate’ in the Heian era. Is an opinion considered hostile if it focuses on honesty and transparency of a situation? “Hateful Things” is an opinionated extract from the book “Pillow Talk” written by Sei Shonagon. Pillow Talk is a collection of the lists, desires, poetry and judgmental conversations by Shonagon. Sei Shonagon is a Japanese female novelist born in Heian era, who is famous for her articulation of the annoyances, she witnesses on a daily basis. Her wide range of dislikes focuses on different themes, in particular simulation of situations with comedic value with attention to a leading undertone. The extract “Hateful Things” may be considered a personal essay. Regardless of the content of the extract being labeled as mostly hateful, the description of the scenarios leaves an intimate connection to the reader. Sei details her pet peeves in such a way that it paints an imaginary portrait in the audience’s mind. The essay has no real flow but rather a consistent list of demeaning situations by the voice of Sei. Even with this unique way of writing, the reader realizes the intimacy the persona has with the taste of hatred. In this essay, I plan to analyze the root of the author’s hate and argue about the perception of a comment being hostile if it is in fact the truth. In my view, the comments voiced by the persona focus on the truth of her distinct situations and may not entirely be considered to be hateful. While it is true that some events in the extract may seem intolerable, there are still times that the reader notices the perfection and transparency Sei Shonagon craves in this period of high culture. When analyzing this essay, I will acknowledge the different ways to read this excerpt in terms of logos, pathos and ethos. The word “hate” will carry a different...