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Memoirs of a Geisha

By | June 2008
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Arthur Golden wrote this novel for a purpose and this was to inform the reader about this incredible secret culture he himself had discovered whilst interviewing a famous geisha Mineko Iwasaki and it was through the effectiveness of all the elements of his style that he achieved this purpose quite sufficiently. The language used in the novel is very clear and elegant. By using original Japanese words and detailed descriptions the author draws the most incredible pictures in the readers' mind. One of the most notable literary devices used in the novel is that of metaphors. The metaphors in this book delve into the meaning of life. My favorites include; ‘I felt as a bird must feel when it has flown across the ocean and comes upon a creature that knows its nest.’ ‘Was life nothing more than a storm that constantly washed away what had been there only a moment before, and left behind something barren and unrecognizable?’ ‘We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.’ I was amazed at times with the writing and the detail of it. At other times, however, I felt the author sacrificed the story for style. In the beginning the metaphors were well-placed and clever, but as the story went on I wished that just once, Sayuri could say something without comparing it to leaves or butterflies. It was written with longer sentences and used direct speech which caused the novel to flow more steadily and also to create an atmosphere wherein the reader felt that they were witnessing the scene. Arthur Golden portrays the story through the eyes of a young girl, allowing us to experience the thoughts and feelings of a woman in her world, as well as the characteristic grace, stoicism and politeness of Japanese culture. Golden is very aware of his audience which contributes to the success of the novel. It is written very intimately and this is recognizable to the reader from...

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