PAPER TOPIC SUGGESTIONS/QUESTIONS -- EAJ212L

1. Compare Nagai Kafu's depiction of a geisha with that of Higuchi Ichiyo's.

2. Shiga Naoya's "Night Fires" doesn't have a "plot" per se. What was his purpose in writing it? Does he succeed in doing so?

3. Who is the "hero" in Kokoro? Is it the narrator or Sensei, or K? Does Soseki want his "hero" to be someone to emulate, or an example to avoid?

4. In "In A Grove," Akutagawa Ryunosuke used a tale from Tales of Times Now Past as the source of his plot. Find another example of an Akutagawa story that does this, and see what changes he made to the narrative. Compare the two Akutagawa stories--is there a pattern to what the author was trying to express?

5. Read some of Ibuse Masuji's "Animal Stories" (In Salamander and Other Stories). Is there a common theme in these stories written for his friend Aoki Nampachi? Does the same theme show up in "The Carp"?

6. Does Miyazawa Kenji's "Bear of Nametoko" succeed in persuading the reader (you) of something? If so, what is it, and is it consistent with what Miyazawa intended?

7. If Kajii Motojiro were to write a short story about downtown Albany, what landmarks would he mention and why? Conjecture what sort of imagery (from Albany) would appeal to his aesthetic sense (you need to support your suppositions, and be consistent with what Kajii wrote in "Lemon").

8. Compare the appeal of the fire in Kunikida Doppo's "The Bonfire" with the appeal of the lemon in Kajii Motojiro's "Lemon." Both items are central to the narrative, but are described quite differently.

9. Mori Ogai wrote "Sansho the Steward" based on a historical source. Akutagawa Ryunosuke wrote "In A Grove" based on a historical source. But, the two men's approach to this literary method was quite different. Compare and contrast the two, coming to some conclusions.

10 Miyazawa Kenji and Natsume Soseki both wrote stories that involved some supernatural elements; Soseki wrote his as a dream, and Miyazawa wrote his as a parable. Which style is more effective, and why?

11 The old man in "Aguri" is obsessed with a young woman to the extent that it dramatically affects his behavior. Is this obsession similar to the obsession with the lemon in "Lemon"?

12 The protagonist in "Blowfish" is desperately reacting to his impending death. One could argue that the narrator in "Lemon" is doing the same thing. How do they differ?