Shinji and Yasuo
Hatsue and Chiyoko
Nature in their village
Nature in their love
Yukio Mishima’s 1954 novel, The Sound of Waves, narrates the story of Hatsue and Shinji’s search for love in a rural fishing community where tradition is very important. Throughout the novel, Mishima portrays the theme of nature through the representation of both the protagonist’s – Shinji and Hatsue, the importance of nature in the tradition of the village and how nature is significant in the love story of Hatsue and Shinji that proceeds throughout the novel.
Throughout the novel, Mishima presents Yasuo as a representation of civilization and thus a foil to Shinji who is a representation of nature, and therefore highlights the goodness in Shinji’s character. For instance, Mishima describes Yasuo as a boy who was “the proud and bragging owner of a watch with a luminous dial.” The choice of the word “luminous” connotes something bright and attractive, and thus symbolizes an object from the city. Similarly, Mishima describes Shinji as a boy that was “endowed with the marvelous ability of being able to sense what time it was instinctively.” The choice of the word “instinctively” highlights Shinji’s natural instinct in telling the time by looking at nature, and therefore reinforces his alliance with nature. The contrast between the antagonist and protagonist shows that Yasuo needs civilized objects to tell the time and Shinji uses the natural environment to tell the time, and therefore emphasizes that Shinji is depicted as a source of goodness throughout the novel.
Mishima also utilizes the characters of Chiyoko and Hatsue throughout the novel to further emphasize the theme of nature, represented by Hatuse, and the theme of civilization, represented by Chiyoko....