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The dancing girl of Izu

Yasunari Kawabata

Kawabata's "The Izu Dancer" represents a lyrical and elegiac memory of early love.
The story is well known in Japan, and, today, part of the story's name, Odoriko
(which means "dancing girl") is used as the name of express trains to the Izu area.

The Dancing Girl of Izu tells the story of the interactions between a young male student from
Tokyo, and a small group of travelling performers that he meets while touring the Izu Peninsula.
The student sees the group several times and focuses on the beauty of the youngest looking
dancer carrying a large drum. He considers how being on the same road as these travelling
performers was exciting. Later, he encounters them again at a tea house, but upon hearing that
they were leaving for the next town, he struggles with the thought of chasing after them.
Upon catching up with the group, he acts inconspicuously as he passes them on the trail. Much to
his relief, the only male in the group, Eikichi, suddenly strikes up a conversation with the
student, giving him a reason to keep pace with the travellers. During the trip, he takes a liking to
the young dancer that he saw earlier, because of her refreshing and nave character. He quickly
befriends Eikichi, and follows the group until they arrive at an old inn. However, much to his
disappointment, Eikichi insists that he stay at a better inn, because he saw the student as someone
of higher status. Later that night, he hears the performers putting on a show at a nearby
restaurant, and recognizes the distinct sound of the young dancers drum. He listens intently to
the sound of her drum, and convinces himself that after they are finished performing at the party
they will come visit him. However, he becomes very restless during the night when they do not
meet him until the following morning.
Eikichi invites him to a nearby public bath to relax and share stories. To his surprise, when he
sees the young women playing in the adjacent river, he realizes that the girl he was developing
feelings for was much younger than he had originally perceived. Upon understanding his
mistake, he felt the burden of his infatuation disappear and subsequently breaks into a fit of
laughter; he spends the rest of the day in a really good spirits. The next day, he gets ready to
leave with the performers, however he finds out that they plan on staying an extra day and have
no problem if he leaves ahead of them. Again, Eikichi saves him from much trouble and suggests
that he stay an extra day as well. As a result, he continues to accompany the performers
throughout the following days. Furthermore, the student is able to maintain his affection towards
the young dancer through acts of friendship. One day, while they are on the road, he overhears
the other women talking about him, and he is very relieved to discover that they think he is a nice
He is dismayed when he eventually has to separate from the group to return home, and after a
brief exchange of farewells with the dancer and Eikichi, he becomes very upset with having to

part ways with his new friends so soon. With the thought that he will not likely see them again,
he solemnly boards a ship heading to Tokyo.
Yasunari Kawabata

Born in Osaka, Japan, into a well-established doctor's family,[2] Yasunari was

orphaned when he was four, after which he lived with his grandparents. He had an
older sister who was taken in by an aunt, and whom he met only once thereafter, at
the age of ten (July 1909) (she died when he was 11). Kawabata's grandmother died
when he was seven (September 1906), and his grandfather when he was fifteen
(May 1914).

While still a university student, Kawabata re-established the Tokyo University literary
magazine Shin-shich ("New Tide of Thought"), which had been defunct for more
than four years. There he published his first short story, "Shokonsai ikkei" ("A View
from Yasukuni Festival") in 1921. During university, he changed faculties to
Japanese literature and wrote a graduation thesis titled, "A short history of Japanese
novels". He graduated from university in March 1924.

Kawabata was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature on 16 October 1968, the first Japanese
person to receive such a distinction.[8] In awarding the prize "for his narrative mastery, which
with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind", the Nobel Committee cited
three of his novels, Snow Country, Thousand Cranes, and The Old Capital.[citation needed]
Kawabata's Nobel Lecture was titled "Japan, The Beautiful and Myself" (
). Zen Buddhism was a key focal point of the speech; much was devoted to practitioners
and the general practices of Zen Buddhism and how it differed from other types of Buddhism. He
presented a severe picture of Zen Buddhism, where disciples can enter salvation only through
their efforts, where they are isolated for several hours at a time, and how from this isolation there
can come beauty. He noted that Zen practices focus on simplicity and it is this simplicity that
proves to be the beauty. "The heart of the ink painting is in space, abbreviation, what is left
undrawn." From painting he moved on to talk about ikebana and bonsai as art forms that
emphasize the simplicity and the beauty that arises from the simplicity. "The Japanese garden,
too, of course symbolizes the vastness of nature."[9]
In addition to the numerous mentions of Zen and nature, one point that was briefly mentioned in
Kawabatas lecture was that of suicide. Kawabata reminisced of other famous Japanese authors
who committed suicide, in particular Rynosuke Akutagawa. He contradicted the custom of
suicide as being a form of enlightenment, mentioning the priest Ikkyu, who also thought of
suicide twice. He quoted Ikkyu, "Among those who give thoughts to things, is there one who
does not think of suicide?" There was much speculation about this quote being a clue to
Kawabata's suicide in 1972, two years after Mishima had committed suicide.

Hills Like White Elephants opens with a long description of the storys setting in a train station
surrounded by hills, fields, and trees in a valley in Spain. A man known simply as the American
and his girlfriend sit at a table outside the station, waiting for a train to Madrid.
It is hot, and the man orders two beers. The girl remarks that the nearby hills look like white
elephants, to which the American responds that hes never seen one. They order more drinks and
begin to bicker about the taste of the alcohol. The American chastises her and says that they
should try to enjoy themselves. The girl replies that shes merely having fun and then retracts her
earlier comment by saying the hills dont actually look like white elephants to her anymore.
They order more drinks, and the American mentions that he wants the girl, whom he calls Jig,
to have an operation, although he never actually specifies what kind of operation. He seems
agitated and tries to downplay the operations seriousness. He argues that the operation would be
simple, for example, but then says the procedure really isnt even an operation at all.
The girl says nothing for a while, but then she asks what will happen after shes had the
operation. The man answers that things will be fine afterward, just like they were before, and that
it will fix their problems. He says he has known a lot of people who have had the operation and
found happiness afterward. The girl dispassionately agrees with him. The American then claims
that he wont force her to have the operation but thinks its the best course of action to take. She
tells him that she will have the operation as long as hell still love her and theyll be able to live
happily together afterward.
The man then emphasizes how much he cares for the girl, but she claims not to care about what
happens to herself. The American weakly says that she shouldnt have the operation if thats
really the way she feels. The girl then walks over to the end of the station, looks at the scenery,
and wonders aloud whether they really could be happy if she has the operation. They argue for a
while until the girl gets tired and makes the American promise to stop talking.
The Spanish bartender brings two more beers and tells them that the train is coming in five
minutes. The girl smiles at the bartender but has to ask the American what she said because the
girl doesnt speak Spanish. After finishing their drinks, the American carries their bags to the
platform and then walks back to the bar, noticing all the other people who are also waiting for the
train. He asks the girl whether she feels better. She says she feels fine and that there is nothing
wrong with her.
The American - The male protagonist of the story. The American never reveals his
name, nor does the girl ever directly address him by name. He is determined to
convince the girl to have the operation but tries to appear as though he doesnt
care what she does. He remains disconnected from his surroundings, not really
understanding or even listening to what the girl has to say.

The Girl - The female protagonist of the story. The American calls the girl Jig at
one point in the story but never mentions her real name. Unlike the American, the
girl is less sure of what she wants and appears reluctant to have the operation in
question. She alternates between wanting to talk about the operation and wanting
to avoid the topic altogether.
White Elephants

A white elephant symbolizes something no one wantsin this story, the girls unborn child. The
girls comment in the beginning of the story that the surrounding hills look like white elephants
initially seems to be a casual, offhand remark, but it actually serves as a segue for her and the
American to discuss their baby and the possibility of having an abortion. The girl later retracts
this comment with the observation that the hills dont really look like white elephants, a subtle
hint that perhaps she wants to keep the baby after alla hint the American misses. In fact, she
even says that the hills only seemed to look like white elephants at first glance, and that theyre
actually quite lovely. Comparing the hillsand, metaphorically, the babyto elephants also
recalls the expression the elephant in the room, a euphemism for something painfully obvious
that no one wants to discuss.

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 July 2, 1961) was an American author and
journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction,
while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway
produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize
in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction
works. Additional works, including three novels, four short story collections, and three nonfiction works, were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of
American literature.
Hemingway was raised in Oak Park, Illinois. After high school he reported for a few months for
The Kansas City Star, before leaving for the Italian front to enlist with the World War I
ambulance drivers. In 1918, he was seriously wounded and returned home. His wartime
experiences formed the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms (1929).
In 1921, he married Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives. The couple moved to Paris,
where he worked as a foreign correspondent and fell under the influence of the modernist writers
and artists of the 1920s "Lost Generation" expatriate community. He published his first novel,
The Sun Also Rises, in 1926. After his 1927 divorce from Hadley Richardson, Hemingway
married Pauline Pfeiffer; they divorced after he returned from the Spanish Civil War where he
had been a journalist, and after which he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Martha Gellhorn

became his third wife in 1940; they separated when he met Mary Welsh in London during World
War II. He was present at the Normandy landings and the liberation of Paris.
Shortly after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea (1952), Hemingway went on safari to
Africa, where he was almost killed in two successive plane crashes that left him in pain or ill
health for much of his remaining life. Hemingway maintained permanent residences in Key
West, Florida, (1930s) and Cuba (1940s and 1950s), and in 1959, he bought a house in Ketchum,
Idaho, where he committed suicide in the summer of 1961.