Power and control are recurring ideas in the story. The power to control others through fear and intimidation manifests itself as a theme throughout the novel. Satoko at first employs riddles and double-speak to confuse and confound Kiyoaki, throw him off balance, and thus give herself a sense of control over their relationship. In reality, her behavior mystifies her ardent young suitor, frustrates then angers him. When she writes him a passionate love letter, he tears it up but saves the pieces and later uses the letter as a way to blackmail her servant Tadeshina into arranging trysts with Satoko.