The Concept of a Modern Self

The Setting Sun is a Japanese novel that was written after the end of World War II. The story reflects some of the troubles that the Japanese people were ongoing through after the end of the war. The characteristics of the modern self can be found throughout the entire novel. The first characteristic that is seen is the rejection of tradition. This characteristic is seen when the reader is introduced to the characters. The novel Is told through the eyes of a woman named Kazoo whose aristocratic family, lost most of their money after the war.

Her brother, Nasal, returns home from the war and begins to spend the little money the family has on opium and alcohol. This causes Kazoo to have to take on the responsibility of providing for her family. This Is the rejection of tradition because, It was usually the men who provided for the household. For a man to be as blatantly irresponsible and uncaring as Ana]I, was uncommon. The author created Kazoo and her circumstances in order to show the changes that were beginning to happen in Japanese society. The next characteristic that we see is Ann-intellectualism.

Kazoo and her family started off as aristocrats, but they lose their status and most of their money after the war is over. Because of this, Kazoo and her mother move to the countryside. After causing a minor fire, Kazoo decides to repent by going to work in the field. After doing hard labor for a while, she mentions that she now finds it stifling to sit on the porch with her mother and knit Like she used to do In the past. She Is now more at home when she Is In her tennis shoes and out In the field, because she feels as though she Is connecting with nature. Dazzle 39) She even admits that she Is “steadily turning Into a coarse, low-class (Daze 44) This is anti-intellectualism because she is beginning to feel repressed by her old life style, and is gradually gravitating towards the idea of nature and feeling free. Lastly, we see alienation and loss when Kazoo’s brother returns from the war. At some point during the war, Ana]I had gone AIM, and had not been heard from for a while. One day he randomly shows up at the new home and begins to criticize it. He never properly greets his mother or sister and goes out to drink on the night of his return.

Throughout the story, he keeps a distance from both his mother and sister. He alienates his family to the point where they know nothing about Nation’s personal life. The few things that they do know of, is received from a Journal that Ana] kept while he had narcotic poisoning. This Is a great example of alienation because that Is exactly what he does. He alienates his family. The loss Is apparent when Kazoo loses her mother to tuberculosis and after her brother commits suicide less than a month later. This is thought to be based on ten autumns personal Tie.

Decal’s mother was canonically Ill Just Like ten connecter In the story and Daze also had a terrible drinking problem and committed suicide. Considering the events that were taking place at the time, it was probably difficult to not take on a modern conception of the self. The war had devastated Japan, and social and cultural changes were taking place because of the exposure to the world hat existed outside of the country. The novel itself is like some kind of reflection of what the author and other people during this time period were going through.

The war was a major turning stone for Japan culturally and socially and this novel is provides a brief insight into the gradual changes that occurred. While The Setting Sun is a work that shows all of the characteristics of the concept of the modern self, it is always nice to try and apply concepts to a more contemporary work. Toy story is one contemporary work that is enjoyable but also, filled with the characteristics of a modern conception of the self. Toy Story is a movie about toys that come to life whenever humans are absent from the room. In the story Buzz Lighter is a toy that is given to a child on his birthday.

However, as Buzz emerges from his box, it is clear that something about him is off. To the surprise of all the other toys, Buzz believes that he is not a toy but an actual space ranger that has to protect the galaxy. Buzz is rejecting tradition by thinking this way. He refuses to believe that he is a toy, no matter what the others say. Buzz continues to believe that he is a real space ranger and is confronted by one of the other toys who goes by the name of woody. Woody tells Buzz that he cannot fly because the Jet pack on his back is made of plastic.

Buzz rejects Wood’s practical break down of why he cannot fly and decides to prove that he can indeed fly. Although Buzz did not truly fly, he ignored Wood’s reasoning and flew by “falling with style. ” This is the idea of anti-intellectualism because Wood’s logical hypothesis was rejected and, in Buzz’s mind, proved to be wrong. The lasts characteristic of the modern concept of the self is alienation. In the movie, there are two forms of alienation. The first is when Woody grows agitated and feels as though he is being replaced by Buzz.

He decides to take matters into his own hands by telling Buzz to stay away from what is his. When this does not seem to work, Woody takes more drastic measures by trying to push Buzz into a space between the desk and the wall. This is forced alienation. Woody is purposefully trying to get rid of Buzz because he feels as though he is in the way. The second form of alienation is when Buzz is made to realize that he is indeed Just a toy. He shuts everyone out and starts to act completely out of character. I think that this form of alienation matches up well with the concept of the modern self.

This is simply because the choice to alienate himself was decided on his own, and was his way of coping with his new found realization. Unlike The Setting Sun, Toy Story, has a much happier ending. Even though Buzz has conformed to the fact that he is a toy, he is happy and keeps his space ranger mentality. After reviewing these two works it is interesting to see that these two completely different works have all of the characteristics of a modern self. This goes to show that while the concept of a modern self is not a new idea, it is still a common idea that is thought about in today’s society.