Corruption of Culture Essay
In Yukio Mishima’s “Swaddling Clothes” we see a lot of symbolism representing the data corruption of the Western culture. The times are changing and with this change, traditions is changing to it.
Some of the Japanese feel endangered and that the improvements that are being manufactured are corrupting their ethical values. The storyplot is informed through Toshiko, a lonely and apparently oppressed wife and mom. She displays how this corruption is resulting in decay. The storyline depicts the corruption of Japanese lifestyle by american modernization.
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Japanese culture is starting to become more westernized, “unhomely using its Western-style furniture…” (366). The environment of the room being unhomely because a few Japanese thought that all Western-style was corrupt. Toshiko’s husband is usually accepting these changes, “sitting there in the American-style fit, puffing at a cigarette” (366). Metropolis they stay in is changing as well, “dotted with pubs and then with a theatre” (368). The playground that Toshiko visits had also changed, “The newspaper lanterns that hung by wires between trees have been put out; within their place electric-light bulbs…that shone dully under the blossoms” (369).
The word dully being used showing that western-style is lifeless and uninspiring. Violence is one of the concepts Toshiko relates to traditional western culture. Toshiko believes american style is definitely violent, “his frail body was twisted in bloodstained newspapers” (367), showing the degradation of ethical values through this westernized contemporary society. When Toshiko’s husband is definitely sitting there chatting with his friends he comments about the incident and stating “I rescued each of our good rug… (367), this kind of showing that his head is dodgy with the european culture because he did not care about the well-being of the doctor and the bloodstream did not faze him.
The newborn is a symbol of the violence inside the western lifestyle as well. The way the baby was born was out of wedlock, “Even if that baby should expand up in ignorance of the secret of his birth, they can never get a respectable citizen” (368). Toshiko worries the fact that baby “who has been sinned against” (368) may come in touch with her child one day and, “savagely stab him having a knife…” (368). All since the baby was developed out of wedlock, due to American modernization, Toshiko thinks of him since violent and evil.
American culture isn’t just seen as violent but as infected as well. Western-style is also polluting their contemporary society. While going for walks in the playground Toshiko updates that the people “would immediately kick apart the empty bottles or crush the waste newspaper beneath all their feet” (369).
Waste polluting of the environment not only becoming the kind of air pollution polluting all their society nevertheless moral pollution as well. Toshiko sees a homeless guy and wonders “was this one of those miserable drunks often to be seen sleeping in public places? ” (369). The homeless guy in the playground is a symbol of the baby that will increase up to take crime and poverty, even though what is most important is the approach that he’s dressed, “his khaki pants had been slightly pulled up” (370), this kind of showing that he is westernized just like Toshiko’s husband.
Toshiko is saddened by this westernized lifestyle. This kind of story displays through many elements the degradation of moral values in the present00 westernized alterations that are taking place. Through the meaning changes, the violence in the western traditions, and the air pollution we have noticed that Toshiko believes that her culture is tainted. There are many icons showing these changes; throughout the baby, Toshiko’s husband, and through the destitute. She continuously contemplates the loss of their moral values which is saddened.
In the end this tale is trying to depict the corruption of Japanese culture by european modernization.