They were deeply attached to the old place sachiko

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: ge 309 trayed with examples of his own life represented an anguished cri de coeur against the falsity and deceit of others (if not of mankind as a whole). At times—for example, in the following passage from No Longer Human (Ningen Shikkoku, 1948), the story of a man who despairs of living “the life of a human being” and who eventually descends into the abyss of drug addiction—Dazai’s attitude is misanthropic: Society. I felt as though even I were beginning at last to acquire some vague notion of what it meant. It is the struggle between one individual and another, a then-and-there struggle, in which the immediate triumph is everything. Human beings never submit to human beings. Even slaves practice their mean retaliations. Human beings cannot conceive of any means of survival except in terms of a single then-and-there context. They speak of duty to one’s country and suchlike things, but the object of their efforts is invariably the individual, and, even once the individual’s needs have been met, again the individual comes in. The incomprehensibility of society is the incomprehensibility of the individual. The ocean is not society; it is individuals. This was how I managed to gain a modicum of freedom from my terror at the illusion of the ocean called the world. I learned to behave rather aggressively, without the endless anxious worrying I knew before, responding as it were to the needs of the moment.5 Dazai’s most celebrated novel is The Setting Sun (Shayò, 1947), an account of an aristocratic family, much reduced in circumstances, in the immediate postwar period. A widowed mother and her divorced daughter appear to be all that is left of the family, but before long a Dazai-like son, thought lost in the South Pacific, returns home. Addicted to drugs, the son promptly renews the life of dissolution and self-destruction he had charted before entering the ar my and in a short time commits suicide, leaving a final testament—representing the kind of confessional Dazai so much favored—in which he reveals his alternating fear of and disgust toward the world and the personal yearning for love that actually underlay his appalling outward conduct: I wanted to become coarse, to be strong—no, brutal. I thought that was the on...
View Full Document

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.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online