Matsuo Basho: Nature's Meaning

Topics: Emotion, Matsuo Bashō, Feeling Pages: 4 (1327 words) Published: December 10, 2013
Meredith Hood
Mr. Morris
English 2210-020
19 September 2013
Nature’s Meaning
Poets often use nature as a source of inspiration in their works. Nature, itself, is a very graceful subject and can be used to express an array of human emotion and feeling. One famous poet that uses nature to portray his inner spirits is Matsuo Basho. This is evident in his work Oku no Hosomichi or The Narrow Road to the Deep North. His piece is a travelogue, which captures the pilgrimage through the northern part of Japan he and his travel companion, Sora, took to emulate the experiences and understandings of the places, cherished by poets before him. This masterpiece is much more than merely a travelogue of his journeys though, but also a composition of haikus, conversation, and journal entries that encapsulates the emotions and feelings he experiences. Basho is able to express and reflect these feelings from each new experience in his writings through use nature, as a symbolic image of his inner spirit. In the beginning of the novel Basho describes his decision to take the journey “to the deep north,” and uses nature to convey his worries and thoughts about straying away from home- “I felt uncertain, wondering whether I would see again the cherry blossoms on the boughs at Ueno and Yanaka.” Basho is using the cherry blossoms as a symbolic image to depict the disturbance he is feeling about leaving. In questioning that he may not see the cherry blossoms (a Japanese flower that only blossoms for a short period of time) again, he is referring to the way their splendor and beauty is only there for a time and is gone within only a short period. One can infer that Basho is suggesting that with the uncertainties, which lay ahead, he may not return home for life’s beauty can be taken away in just a moment, like the cherry blossoms. This sentiment can be portrayed in numerous other ways as well. The blossoms can also be used as a metaphor for his village in a sense that the brilliance...


Cited: Basho, Matsuo. From The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Gen. ed. Martin
Puchner. 3rd ed. Vol. D. New York: Norton, 2012. 616-628. Print.
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