Review on Confessions of a Mask

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Masks and alternate identity is a major theme in Mishima Yukio's Confessions of a Mask. The narrator believes that throughout his youth, he had been playing a role on a stage to hide his real self. However, contrary to what the narrator claims, throughout the novel, he is not playing the role of another personality. He is simply hiding. It is only in the conclusion, when the when the war is over, and the need for order and principle and everyday life is restored, that he finally sees the creation of his other identity – the masculine figure that conforms to the society's idea of men. Before he reaches puberty, the narrator is oblivious to the differences between his peers and himself – he simply assumes that everybody else is just like him. For example, the narrator considers his student houseboy to be wearing a mask, just like how he participates in the "reluctant masquerade." To be more precise, he comments that the boy who laughs at his passion to dress up actually "often amused the maids with his imitations of the Kabuki character Princess Yaegaki" . In other words, that boy shares both his sexual orientation and his effort to play a role. When in love with Omi's body, he comments that, "surely I was not the only one who looked with envious and loving eyes at the muscles of his shoulders and chest…," assuming that his peers also, under their mask of ‘boys' share a hidden passion for Omi's perfect body.

As the narrator and his peers reach puberty, he begins to find the errors of his understanding. He finds out that his sexual orientation is the "obvious difference between [his friend's] focus of interest and [his] own" . Whereas he sees his friends having strong interest in women, he "received no more sensual impression from "woman" than from "pencil," or "automobile." Awareness of this difference in sexuality makes him increasingly conscious of the role that he plays, and the mask that he wears upon his identity. Everyone says that life is a...
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