Analyzing Literary Elements
The author of the book “The Barrelmaker Brimful of Love” Ihara Saikaku was born in 1642 and died in the year 1693. Ihara Saikaku lived in Osaka. People believe that Saikaku’s real name was Hirayame Togo. Saikaku committed his life to his prosperous career as a poet and an actor back in the year 1675 after his wife passed on. It was during the Genroku era that Saikaku wrote his literature. This was a time when many aspects of Japanese customs such as kabuki theatre, haiku poetry, ukiyoe, samurai and geishas existed. In this era, the mercantile class became economically influential by taking part in arts in large numbers.
Generally, this period can be said to be the first to experience creative writing and poetry as a profession. This was also a time of sexual freedom where prostitution and homosexuality were accepted in Japan. Extra marital affairs were also common during Saikaku’s existence in Osaka. Saikaku borrowed ideas in found in his novels and short stories from the way people led their lives in his society. At the age of forty, Saikaku published his first work, Koshoku Ichidai Otoko in 16782 (Ihara, 1958). He improved his prose style of writing by introducing insinuations and poetic skills. His style was manifested by impertinence and irony. It was after the great success of Koshoku Ichidai Otoko that made Saikaku a successful artist. In his book, “The Barrelmaker Brimful of Love”, he has made use several literal elements in the development of the story making it more exciting to the reader.
In this book, the author used conflict as a literal element in plot development. Four types of conflict include man versus man, man versus oneself, man versus the society and man versus nature (Clinton, et al, 2009). In the book, “The barrelmaker Brimful of Love” there is conflict where the barrelmaker is in conflict with other men. The barrelmaker is in conflict with his servant Kyusichi for having an affair with his wife Osen. This can be classified as interpersonal conflict. Later in the story, the barrelmaker gets into an interpersonal conflict with Osen over her suspected relationship with Chozaemon. Conflict with the society is illustrated where the matchmaker is not in an agreement with the barrelmaker, Osen and Olsen’s workforce. In addition, it is in the story where most of the characters in the story are portrayed to be in conflict with their own sexual feelings.
It is by using the element of conflict in the story that the author brings out the theme of t the story. In the story, Saikaku indicates how the modern world has made human feelings material. For instance, the matchmaker is in conflict with the society because the people resist her ideas, which are the only way she can generate income. The theme of love has been brought out by use of conflict where people get into interpersonal conflicts about sex. Through conflict, Saikaku shows the reader the effects of modern urban society’s insincere denunciation of sexual urges.
The other literal element that was used in the story is irony. This is whereby the author presents certain issues in the story opposite to what the reader expects. The author makes use of irony to make his story more interesting. This is because if he presented his work just the way his audience expected there would be nothing exciting about the story (Clinton, et al, 2009). Saikaku used irony in his story to make it more intriguing to his audience. For instance, in the story Osen and Chozaemon are renowned in local ballads as individuals who died for the sake of their illegitimate love. This is ironical because it is illustrated in the story that they never felt love for each other and they were not involved in sexual affairs. In addition, it is portrayed in the tale that the real motive for their embarrassing situation was not love but rather it was hatred. Another incidence of irony in the story is illustrated where the matchmaker made more money as an abortionist than she would have made in her actual work. In the story, it is ironical where the youngsters of Osaka go to spiritual pilgrimages not because they want to, but purposely to flirt with individuals of the opposite sex.
The other element is the author’s point of view. The point of view is the approach and voice of the narrator. The narrator of the story is not similar to the author himself. This is because if the author gave the reader his point of view, the story would be more of a biography or autobiography (Clinton, et al, 2009). In his story, Saikaku used the barrelmaker as the narrator. The barrelmaker gives a story about his life and his society. In the story, barrelmaker gives a story about the moral decadence in Osaka. This is where his wife Osen is in an extra marital affair with his servant. He also talks about the matchmaker who gets into a conflict with the society for the love of money. The other incidence is where the youth does not go to the pilgrimage for religious purposes.
In conclusion, Saikaku used literal elements to make his story more intriguing to the reader. In the book, “The Barrelmaker Brimful of love”, the author used conflict in his theme and plot development. This is where he used conflict of different individuals to bring out the theme of love. It is in the story where the barrelmaker is in conflict with his wife for being involved in an intimate relationship with a servant. This helps in bringing out the theme of the story where many people in Osaka get married not because they are in love, but simply for convenience. Irony was used by the author to make the story more exciting. From the tale, the youngsters go to the pilgrimage not for worship but because they want to meet and flirt with people from the opposite sex. This is contrary to what the reader wants to hear and see from the story. The author used the element of point of view my letting the narrator tell the story.
Clinton, Jerome W., Irele, F. Abiola& James, Heather. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Volume 2, Juneau, WI: W.W. Norton & Co., 2009. Print.
Ihara, Saikaku, Five Japanese love stories, City Centre, Cambridge: Folio Society, 1958. Print.