Swaddling Clothes Essay

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Kendall Johnson is completing his Ph.D. in literature at the University of Pennsylvania. In the following essay, he considers the sacrificial plight of Toshiko in "Swaddling Clothes" by exploring Mishima's focus on newspapers.

At the end of Yukio Mishima's story, the forest of the Imperial Palace stands "pitch dark and utterly silent" as Toshiko's "slender wrist" is "seized" by "a powerful hand." The hand belongs to a man at whom Toshiko attempts to look while he lies sleeping beneath layers of newspaper in the palace park. Although Toshiko seems to be the victim of impending violence—a violence all the more disturbing for not being explicitly mentioned—she neither attempts to free herself from the hand nor "[feels] in the least afraid." Toshiko's equanimity is distressingly ironic, heightening the sense of doomed isolation in her seizure. By staging the assault in the shadows of...

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This section contains 1,964 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Swaddling Clothes Study Guide
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Swaddling Clothes from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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