The Sound of Waves

Degrees of Strength: Defining Oneself in The Sound of Waves 10th Grade

The Sound of Waves develops one of its central themes through Mishima’s examination of the motif of strength of character. The novel portrays strength as a fundamental characteristic that dictates human behavior and the journey to self knowledge. In fact, Mishima actually equates outward strength to an inner power or an ever changing attribute in this story about young adolescents who struggle with their dynamic situations. Throughout the novel, he repeatedly shows how the characters’ behaviors and respective journeys to self knowledge are determined by varying degrees of strength. In the end, The Sound of Waves is a modern Japanese novel that examines how the cultivation of a unique strength can ultimately dictate human behavior.

In the novel, Shinji demonstrates various forms of endurance during his journey to self knowledge; his displays of strength ultimately serve to define Shinji as a person. Shinji’s physical strength becomes evident through the multitude of descriptions that Mishima includes: “He was tall and well built beyond his years, and only his face revealed his youthfulness" (Mishima, 6). After losing his father in an accident, Shinji takes on responsibility as the head of the household. Shinji’s physical...

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