Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Sunny Place

When one thinks of sunny places they would normally categorize this with happier thoughts. In Kawabata’s “A Sunny Place”, the happiness of the narrator just isn’t as obvious as a sunny place. Kawabata uses significant narrative skills to express all of the trials and tribulations that the narrator has gone through and how he has developed because of all of this.

Kawabata’s short story begins with the narrator acknowledging his bad habit of staring as he continues to stare at a girl that he just met. Obviously embarrassed by his constant staring, he speaks about his annoying habit, saying “I felt an intense self-hatred every time I realized I was doing it. Maybe this habit came from having spent all my time reading others’ faces once I had lost my parents and my home when I was a child and gone to live with others. Perhaps that is why I have turned out this way.”

As the story progresses, the narrator gains a sudden realization that his bad habit of staring at people’s faces actually came from a different and more significant event. Through spending plenty of time with his blind grandfather, the narrator’s concern for him started to grow as he realized that he could only face one direction. Thus the staring began. Once he grasps all of this, the narrator’s sense of security begins to rise once again as he joyfully realizes that his strange habit of staring at people’s faces did not originate from “base motives”.

In comparison to Julio Cortazar’s “Blow-Up”, I think that this story also expresses realization and recognition just as much as “A Sunny Place” does. The only difference between the two stories is that “Blow-Up” revolves around the realization of a specific event while “A Sunny Place” revolves around the realization of one’s personality. In “Blow-Up”, the protagonist character realizes that things are not as they might seem on the outside. He believes that he is taking pictures of a regular couple when really; there is something deeper and more intense that is going on under the surface.

To a certain extent, “A Sunny Place” is just like escargot. Most people believe that escargot is too strange to eat and they probably wouldn’t even bother trying it. But if you look past it’s bizarreness, you might just have the sudden realization that it isn’t what it seems, just like the narrator’s unfortunate habit of staring.


No comments: