The Doctor's Wife by Sawako Ariyoshi and Kokoro by Natsume Soseki: The Motif of Death

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How the Motif of Death creates the Somber Mood

I. Through the recurring motif of death the author creates a somber mood
A. The Doctor’s Wife by Sawako Ariyoshi
B. Kokoro by Natsume Soseki
II. Using an unaffected tone the author reveals deaths that are important to the novel. A. “On a night so cold that the herb garden was covered in frost the woman gasped her last breath. K, at the time, was too preoccupied with her own nausea as she sat by Otsugi’s bed in prayer. And her mother-in-law departed from this world without learning of her pregnancy” (Ariyoshi 149). 1. Otsugi as the antagonist is a main character in the novel, and even though she and Kae’s relationship is basically the main focus of the novel her death is mentioned an unaffected or nonchalant way as though her death plays no importance to the rest of the novel. B. “I was not yet twenty when I lost both of my parents. I think that my wife once mentioned to you that they died of the same disease. Also, if I remember correctly, she told you, much to your surprise, that they died almost at the same time” (Soseki 129) 1. Even though Sensei’s parents are very minor characters alone their death is the beginning of the downward spiral that Sensei’s life follows. Sensei is speaking of his parents, the people who raised him and the unaffected tone the author uses when bring up their death brings Sensei’s misanthropic nature full circle. He is so close to his death that bringing up loved ones has no effect on the tone. C. In both novels deaths that cause major shifts in the plot of the story are undertaken with distant and unaffected tones that mislead the reader into thinking that their deaths are unimportant. When in reality the deaths that are mentioned in such an unimportant manner are very important in developing the novel.

III. Through the motif of death characters become...
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