In the essay Impressions of Japan written by William Faulkner, he writes about his journey to Japan and the impressions he made on the trip.
Faulkner writes very poetically about the plane he is on board and about the first time he sees the Japan. Later in the text he focuses more on the language that he can’t speak but also here he keeps the poetical language. The poetic language that he uses helps the reader to get an idea about the calmness and peacefulness Japan, as Faulkner sees it. This also means that it is an interesting essay to read, because of the emotions he arouses in the reader.
Faulkner mentions that Van Gogh and Manet would have loved the people in Japan, because of Japans interesting and unique culture, with the old temples, servants and pilgrims.
He also describes the nature very poetically:
‘The bowl of mountains containing the lake is as full of hard rapid air as the mouth of a wind-tunnel’
Faulkner writes a lot about the kimono, and he describes its femininity and the beautifulness when it’s worn by a woman:
‘Kimono. It covers her from throat to ankles; with a gesture as feminine as the placing of a flower or as female as the cradling of a child, the hands themselves can be concealed into the sleeves until there remains one unbroken chalice-shaped of modesty proclaiming her femininity where nudity would merely parade her mammalian femaleness.’
This is a good example of his writing style. You can hear how smooth and calm his language is.
In one of the last sections of the essay, Faulkner writes about the personalities of the Japanese people. He describes a young woman, who is his servant at the place he stays. He describes her almost as if he was in love with her, also here; his language is calm and peaceful. He describes the kimono she is wearing, and he uses the words feminine magic about her.
He never states that he is in love with her, and I do not believe that either, but I definitely assume, that he is so much in love with Japans culture, that he writes it throughout the woman. He uses the word loyalty about this section of the essay, and I think that is based on the Japanese way of treating their guests and each other in their very simple community.
I had a very positive feeling about this essay when I’d read it. Because of his positive descriptions of the culture, it rubs off on the reader. He never uses a bad word about Japan, which also matches that he loves the country. His way of writing matches perfectly to his opinion of the country. If he had not liked the country and the culture, it wouldn’t be a good idea to use that kind of language. With this essay, Faulkner intends to point out his own opinion on Japan, but he also wants to tell the readers that Japan is a very beautiful and it is a country worth visiting.
I also think his intentions are to point out the lack of culture we have in the west, compared to the Asian countries. This could very well be when we see how he compares our Christmas tree with a Japanese religious tree. He explains how they don’t kill their tree, but let it stay in the ground, so it can keep living for generations.
Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946, and this doesn’t come as a shock to me. His way of writing is very poetical and beautiful. He also uses a lot of symbolism and impressionism in his writing. This also makes the essay more vivid. He makes you very interested in his writing.
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