Set in the twentieth century and based on the theme

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Unformatted text preview: ng a reproduction of Guido Reni’s painting of Saint Sebastian in which the martyr is shown tied to a tree, his nearly nude and expiring body pierced with arrows. The effect on Mishima was immediate and fierce: That day, the instant I looked upon the picture, my entire being trembled with some pagan joy. My blood soared up; my loins swelled as though in Culture in the Present Age 339 wrath. The monstrous part of me that was on the point of bursting awaited my use of it with unprecedented ardor, upbraiding me for my ignorance, panting indignantly. My hands, completely unconsciously, began a motion they had never been taught. I felt a secret, radiant something rise swift-footed to the attack from inside me. Suddenly it burst forth, bringing with it a blinding intoxication.48 The latter part of Confessions of a Mask is devoted to Mishima’s determined but futile attempt to prove his normality by courting a young lady named Sonoko. Mishima—or, I should say, the novel’s protagonist— derives no pleasure from physical contact with Sonoko, and when she falls in love with him, he balks at marriage. Still, they renew their liaison even after she marries another man and continue until the climactic scene of the book when they visit a rather sleazy dance hall and he sees something that strikes him with the force of a “thunderbolt”: He was a youth of twenty-one or -two, with coarse but regular and swarthy features. He had taken off his shirt and stood there half naked, rewinding a belly-band about his middle. The coarse cotton material was soaked with sweat and had become a light-gray color. He seemed to be intentionally dawdling over his task of winding and was constantly joining in the talk and laughter of his companions. His naked chest showed bulging muscles, fully developed and tensely knit; a deep cleft ran down between the solid muscles of his chest toward his abdomen. The thick, fetter-like sinews of his flesh narrowed down from different directions to the sides of his chest, where they interlocked in tight coils. The hot mass of his s...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

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