Isolation In The Samurai's Garden

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Set in the calm and quiet town of Tarumi, Gail Tsukiyama’s, The Samurai’s Garden, is about a twenty-year-old boy named Stephen who is sent away from his hometown of Hong Kong to Tarumi due to his tuberculosis. Through the course of the story, he interacts with others in Tarumi including, Sachi, Kenzo, and Matsu. Throughout his stay, he learns how these three individuals are connected and about their eventful past. Tsukiyama uses Sachi’s experiences of running away from her option of death and listening to her friend’s lesson of humility to demonstrate that isolation is to disconnect one from the social pressures of reality and it allows for self-discovery. When Sachi has contracted the disease of leprosy, she is faced with the option of death;…show more content…
As Sachi tells Stephen about her life story, she goes back to the days where she developed leprosy. On one dark night, Sachi and a few others who are inflicted with leprosy walk down to the sea to take their life. As one woman is slitting her wrists, Sachi rethinks her decision to take her life. She tells Stephen “‘At that moment, I knew I didn’t have the courage of Tomoko, nor of this woman dying before me… I turned away from her and just began running,’”(137). In this passage of the story, Sachi explains to Stephen how she runs away from her death. Although Sachi had not realized it at the time, this was a life changing decision. Her “courage” to run away from the societal pressures is a quality to be greatly valued in one. However, as Sachi runs from her death, she questions her decision of not taking her life. As she reflects upon this experience, she reveals to Stephen that “‘The greatest honor [she] could have given [her] family was that of [her] death, and [she] ran from it. [She] was frightened at not fulfilling [her] obligation, not giving ko to [her] parents. Yet, there was a voice inside of [her] that kept telling [her] to escape. [She] ran away from Tarumi as if it were a diseased…show more content…
When Sachi first reaches to Yamaguchi, a place of isolation, she has a difficult time accepting her new life. Michiko an old leper tells Sachi a heart warming story. Once the story is over, Sachi feels like “‘[she’d] been awakened from a dream. All night long, [she] lay in bed thinking of Sumiko the pearl diver, and how she managed to give her daughter life, knowing she couldn’t stay and watch her grow.’”(147). As Sachi explains that she has stayed up “all night long”, she portrays that this story has greatly affected her. When Sachi can’t believe that Sumiko “managed” to give her daughter life, she displays that she is unaware that such humility could exist within one. This new concept makes Sachi reconsider her own values. As Sachi later learns that this is the story of Michiko herself, this experience has a greater impact on her. Sachi reflects on this small yet life changing experience and says, “‘If I hadn’t learned humility before then, from that day on I knew what the word meant. Here in Yamaguchi I learned that beauty exists where you least expect to find it.’” (148). At this moment, Sachi learns that “humility” is a virtue and those who are blessed with it have the ability to learn and give up their prized possessions gratefully. Sachi is able to

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