The Tale of Genji
The Tale of Genji is a classic novel from Japanese literature that revolves around men’s obsession of women. The novel is sometimes hard to follow due to the fact people from the Heian Period in Japan (c. 794-c. 1185) thought it was rude to name people; therefore people are referred to by their rank, color of clothing or place they came from instead of their name. People’s names can change throughout the novel due to a change in political status or change in address. (New World Encyclopedia 2008). Throughout The Tale of Genji, the men and women suffer horribly for their obsessions by suffering from anxiety, being unable to control their own actions, and by making bad decisions. The main character of the tale is a man referred to as Genji who puts himself in uncomfortable situations due to his obsession with certain women. There are several other characters throughout the novel who also suffer from their obsessions. The definition of obsession is a compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety (TheFreedictionary.com 2011). Another definition is the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc. (Dictionary.com 2011). The male characters of this novel most definitely experience anxiety because of the agony and longing that was caused by their obsession of women. The Emperor cannot tolerate a moment without Lady Kiritsubo: ‘He had scarcely been able to bear a moment away from her while she lived.’ Genji is in pain over his desire for Fujitsubo: ‘The yearning in his young heart for the other lady was agony’. He also loses sleep over his anxiety for Murasaki: ‘he would be impossibly restless, overcome with longing for the girl. Even to Genji himself it seemed excessive.’ Obsession makes the characters of the tale not care about what other people think, and it makes them unable to control their actions. In the first chapter, the Emperor...
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