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Izu no Odoriko question

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Izu no Odoriko question

Postby JMelchiades » Thu 08.10.2006 5:42 pm

I was reading the Seidensticker's translation for this work presented in "The Izu Dancer and Other Stories" by Tuttle and I'm somehow puzzled about the symbology through a passage of this story:
"[...] The little dancer brought up tea from below. As she came to me the teacup clattered in its saucer. She set it down sharply in an effort to save herself, but she succeeded only in spilling it. I was hardly prepared for confusion so extreme.
'Dear me. The child's come to a dangerous age,' the older woman said, arching her eyebrows as she tossed over a cloth. The girl wiped tensely at the tea. [...]"

Puzzled, I searched over the net about the meaning of this, but I just found something that made me more intrigued yet:
"Student attention should be drawn to other symbolic actions: the implications of the dancer's spilling the tea,", here: http://www.aems.uiuc.edu/HTML/ChalkGuid ... ancer.html

So do somebody have a clue about the meaning of the girl spilling tea over herself?
Thanks in advance.
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby Infidel » Fri 08.11.2006 12:45 am

well, without seeing more, I have to assume this was done over tatami. Spilling tea on tatami is a bit more troublesome than spilling on hard wood. I'd certianly be annoyed if I were the older woman, or remoursful if I were the girl. That age just means she's hit adolescence. At that age people tend to become clumbsy as the body proportions begin to change. Especially for those who's legs grow longer relative to how they used to be.

It's not that this can't be symbolic. My problem with literary criticism is how the critics are finding symbolism in everything, almost always without cause. Usually, literary criticism is about readers finding symbols not authors deliberatly inserting them.
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby AJBryant » Fri 08.11.2006 1:08 am

I remember a wonderful anecdote about a lit professor analyzing a story written by Ike Aasimov, who contacted the prof and said he was totally wrong, it was just a story.

The prof sent him a letter back and said, no, you clearly had subconscious issues that meant blah blah blah. Ike was nonplussed.

It's like people who insist that Lord of the Rings is some kind of allegory for war, when Tolkein said time and time again it wasn't, and that he abhored alegory.

Tony
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby JMelchiades » Fri 08.11.2006 9:02 am

Thanks!
I was thinking this could have a sort of traditional symbology with a greater cultural meaning like those beliefs that a woman should not get over rooftops, fireflies connection with souls, kagero's with frivolous thing, etc.
Like those things who everybody reading Japanese Literature seems to know except me. Thought that a girl spilling tea was something like that, but guess I'm wrong for the reading's sake!
Thanks, really! ;)
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby Infidel » Fri 08.11.2006 11:12 am

Well there could be a Japanese cliche about spilling tea the same way we have one about spilling milk. But just because an author has a character spill milk doesn't necessarly imply a reference to the adage. The author might just want the characters to spill something and being that the characters are eating breakfast, the author decides to have them spill milk.

My attitude doesn't sit very well with my teachers that demand literary essays, but I just bite the bullet and say what I really think.

Example essay question: Explain the symbolic use of Red in X scene of play x by William Shakespere

My response is the following dialogue.

Bill : Stage two director, I need some green light. I plan on using green to symbolize how life continues even....

Stage two director : Sorry, no can do. I can do red light, yellow torch light, or candle light.

Bill: Well, Your fired. I can always get a new Stage two director.

Bill: Stage Two Director, I need you to create a green light for a scene. You see.....

New stage two director: Sorry, no can do. There's just no good way to get green light. Even putting a torch behind green glass won't work. the room will have to be really dark for anyone to even notice. I can do red light, yellow light, or candle light.

Bill: Well, you suck, your fired too!

Bill: Stage two director, I need a green light to symbolize....

New new stage two director: Sorry no can do, but I can do red light. We can pretend the sun is setting in the background. Everyone knows that after every sunset there is a new sunrise so it can still symbolize how life continues just like you wanted.

And so it happened. Bill Pere managed to avoid contracting two Stage two directors but in the end decided to contract a stage two director after all. Many attribute Bill "Shakes" Pere's success to different things, his story telling ability, his willingness to give good drama to the poor folk, but the people of his time knew better. Bill Pere would never have earned the cognomen "Shakes" if it weren't for his STD.
Last edited by Infidel on Fri 08.11.2006 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 08.11.2006 11:34 am

ok you lost me..
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby Infidel » Fri 08.11.2006 11:19 pm

*sniff*

No one appreciates my wit :P
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby JMelchiades » Sat 08.12.2006 9:11 am

Infidel wrote:
*sniff*

No one appreciates my wit :P


Well, it does make some sense to me. :P

EDIT: by the way, I recommend Izu no Odoriko for anyone here. >< It had such a deep impact over me. Really nice story.
Last edited by JMelchiades on Sat 08.12.2006 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 08.14.2006 1:28 pm

Infidel wrote:
*sniff*

No one appreciates my wit :P


no, I would appreciate it if I only knew what you know.. Sometimes the story, anecdote, joke goes right over the audience, my ignorance is what keeps me from following your thoughts.. I apologize for my lack of appreciation..
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RE: Izu no Odoriko question

Postby Infidel » Tue 08.15.2006 9:49 am

Stage two director = STD = Sexually Transmitted Disease

*sigh* :P

No need to apologize, I wouldn't last long as a comedian after I start clubbing my audience members in the head when they don't laugh.

I tell a joke and the audience doesn't react.
I point at the big club on my back and look at the audience meaningfully.

Yes yes, just call it caveman humor.
Last edited by Infidel on Tue 08.15.2006 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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