The female character in selected works of kawabata yasunari
Maritim, Cheruiyot Eric
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This study undertook to examine the enigmatic female characters in four works by Kawabata Yasunari: two novels, Snow Country and The Old Capital, and two short stories, `The Izu Dancer' and `One Arm.' The ultimate concern was on the social significance deriving from Kawabata's textual presentation of these characters in the selected works. The study was geared towards this end, with the socio-cultural context of the texts forming the point of departure. The premises of the research were that the characters projected have socio-cultural and literary sources, and are used by the writer to make a statement. Within these premises, the study objectives were to examine the pre-textual socio-cultural and literary contexts of the selected texts, outline the forms of the female characters, and ultimately to determine their significance as presented in the texts. The research process, including the analysis of the research texts and deliberation on the significance of the perplexing nature of the characters, was projected from Wolfgang Iser's theory of aesthetic response. This theoretical base was complemented with stylistic theory, especially in the analysis of the textual strategies constituting the forms of the characters. The research was qualitative in nature. Examination of the diverse critical views was conducted, and the selected research texts subjected to a critical analysis, with the cultural milieu in consideration. In addition to consideration of the socio-cultural milieu, stylistic examination of the textual strategies in the selected texts was also carried out. This enabled the validation of the attempt to draw the social significance of Kawabata's presentation of the problematic female figures in the texts. After the texts were subjected to the stated theoretical and methodological procedures, the female characters were found to be enigmatic and that behind this nature is a nuanced traditional Japanese aesthetic, which the female characters embody.