Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket

In Yasunari Kawabata’s “ The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket” the theme of youth and love are used to explain the transition of emotions from children to adults. The children are outside playing with their lanterns, that they have made in search for grasshoppers. Now when the boy finds a grasshopper his reaction is a bit unusual to the narrator until he says “ how silly of me not to have understood his actions until now”(495). The narrator is much older than these children and the boy’s intensions still fool him. Unlike the other children this boy is using the caught grasshopper to interact with a girl he seems to be infatuated with. Kawabata uses the lights as a symbol of attraction and discovery when both the girl and the boy’s name show up through the lanterns on each other bodies. The interaction of the two children shows how both of them are changing because; instead of looking for grasshoppers they have found each other.
The author also uses the setting to set the tone of this romantic encounter. At night with all the colored lanterns I kept thinking of “A midsummer nights dream” and how all the young children where in an enchanted place searching for love. What I did not understand is what the author says at the end of the story after the girl corrects the boy and says the grasshopper is in fact a bell cricket. At fist I thought this meant that the girl was like the bell cricket in the sense that she was different than the other girls who are grasshoppers. When the narrator says “ to your clouded, wounded heart, even a true bell cricket will seem like a grasshopper” (495). This is a bit confusing but I believe the narrator sees this nice interaction and offers a bit of advice to the young boy because his experience has taught him to be skeptical. As these kids age life will become more complicated than spending nights catching grasshoppers.

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