Rashomon Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is the significance of the fox from Sakamoto in Akutagawa's short story "Yam Gruel"?

    The fox is a classic symbol from ancient Chinese and Japanese literature, so by looking at its historical significance, we can better understand what Akutagawa's intentions were in including it. It is known as a clever creature, so the fact that Toshihito has control over even the smartest creatures signifies his pure unattainable strength in Goi's eyes.

  2. 2

    Is Hanazō's prank successful in Akutagawa's short story "The Dragon"?

    No, I don't think Hanazō's prank was successful because, if we look at his intentions in making the prank, he is not fulfilled. Though he wanted the other priests to take notice of his worth, they will never believe that he committed the prank.

  3. 3

    In Akutagawa's short story "Kesa and Morito" does Morito end up committing the murder after all? Why or why not?

    I think that the point of the story is that the murder is utterly inevitable - that is what makes the premise so sad. Two people's lives must be ruined because of societal pressures. Without this inevitability, the story does not carry the weight of social critique.

  4. 4

    Why does the servant steal the old woman's kimono in "Rashōmon"?

    The servant steals the kimono for two reasons. Firstly, he is disgusted with the woman's behavior and has a moral obligation to correct it. But secondly, it is his only chance for survival at the given moment.

  5. 5

    How can one think about the concept of truth in Akutagawa's short story "In a Grove"?

    By looking at the way truth is conveyed in "In a Grove," we can see that there is an equal playing field for both physical and spiritual truth and that neither can be considered the whole or absolute truth.

  6. 6

    What are the implications of Akutagawa's transmesis (mimesis of translation) in "The Martyr"?

    By pretending to base his short story "The Martyr" on a historical story, Akutagawa provokes in the reader a first sense of mistrust and then a critique of religion and religious texts in general.