Nationalism and Patriotism
Nationalism is a funny subject. The sense of patriotism and pride invoked within oneself from the love of a nation is a truly human phenomenon. In all reality, a country is not an actual object, but a state of mind. A country has no actual feelings and the boundaries that are drawn were drawn by men like you and I. In the books, “Patriotism,” by Yukio Mishima and “Sofia Petrovna,” by Lydia Chukovskaya, we see stories of people that are products of their countries. The ideals of the countries depicted in these two books, China and Russia, is that of Fascists states. Facism is a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a charismatic leader embodying the “people‘s will”(Hagen Lec. 11), stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. (Dictionary.com) Although the two books differ in setting, the sense of blind faith, patriotism, and hypernationalism are apparent in both stories. The question is: How do people identify with these feelings? What causes people to so easily adapt to these imaginary values that are embodied in which the place they live? Nationalism and patriotism is derived from frequent exposure, certain geological positioning, and groupthink.
The setting of Yukio Mishima’s, “Patriotism,” is in 1932 during the depression, when the democratically elected prime minister of Japan was assassinated. The assination hurled Japan into a Militaristic government. (Hagen Lec. 9) The main character, Lieutenant Shinji Takeyama, chooses to suicide because of his conscious decision to not turn against his friends upon the wishes of the militaristic government of Japan. Suicide is a unique aspect of Japanese culture and is considered as a very honorable death. Takeyama does this self destruction in the name of the Japan. Mishima justifies Takeyama‘s decision in this quote: “He was to give his life for it....
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