Ihara Saikaku's Life Of A Sensuous Woman

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Ihara Saikaku’s novella, Life of a Sensuous Woman, reveals several unpleasant truths present in the Tokugawa period through the tales of the nameless woman. Many of these revelations show how the allegedly ‘polite’ society is not the ideal that many revere it to be; instead it is often riddled with deception and moral decay. In the opening chapter, “An Old Woman’s Hermitage,” Saikaku introduces the old woman to the reader through two young men. They see her as placid and elegant in her old age, and she explains that she doesn’t maintain relations to others very well for she does not wish “to stay in the world” (594). This sentiment is unusual since many people often feel that life is too short as it is, and the old woman even admits this at the end of the novella. By expressing this near apathetic attitude towards life the reader begins to suspect that some event has scarred her deeply to give her this outlook.…show more content…
In order to even be considered prospective mistresses must expend “well over three ounces of silver,” while improved social-standing is far from guaranteed (598). The woman then goes on to explain that the ladies in these positions were not especially safe from men “who prey on women applicants to amuse themselves” (598). Through this description of the manner in which men sexually assault women, the readers become more aware of the plight that these applicant women face when they may have otherwise not have

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