In the novel, Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, the theme of “wasted effort” threads its way through the text in different variations. The main character, Shimamura uses multiple instances to label actions as wasted effort. Usually after describing someone’s intentions or actions, Shimamura trails off into personal thoughts and removes himself from the physical world and creates his own reality. Shimamura is apathetic towards people who complete tasks without any purpose, but subconsciously tries to beautify their wasted efforts. Ironically, Shimamura’s relationships grow more intimate with every wasted effort.
The term “wasted effort” appears early in the novel. Komako confesses to Shimamura that she writes down every author and character relationship from every book she has read. Shimamura feels that Komako’s actions are a complete waste of effort and Komako agrees. The following quote sets the tone, “a complete waste of effort.’ She answered brightly, as though the admission meant little to her. She gazed solemnly at Shimamura, however,” (Kawabata 41). Komako understands that her efforts are wasted but shows no particular care. She writes for herself, not for an assignment of any sort. In essence, her efforts are not wasted at all. She has a personal gain from her “wasted efforts”. Her “wasted efforts” make her into the person Shimamura has grown to love. The following quote gives the reader information about Shimamura and Komako’s relationship, “But drawn to her at that moment, he felt like the voice of rain flow over. He knew well enough that for her it was in face no waste of effort, but somehow, the final determination that it was had the effect of distilling and purifying the women’s existence,” (Kawabata 41). The very “wasted effort” that Shimamura felt no feeling toward, caused him to love Komako. He beautified her wasted efforts and allowed her to regain innocence.
Snow Country is a love story. Therefore, it is appropriate that the author threads...
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