Essay Comparing The Female Bell-Cricket And This Powder Box

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In both The Female Bell-Cricket and This Powder Box, Nakamoto Takako and Uno Chiyo explore the notion of female sexuality as power. By asserting their sexuality, the female protagonists in both texts deliberately defy socially-prescribed female virtues of chastity and obedience. This ownership of their sexuality grants them power in their relationships with men and liberates them from the submissive position that women are traditionally expected to be in. It is crucial to note, however, that the depicted ‘strength’ of the two female protagonists is ultimately a constructed façade; they are still tied down by society’s prescriptive ideals of “femininity” and “love”, and have their behavior propelled by their relationships with men.

The explicit depiction of female sexuality in both texts underscores the two protagonists’ seeming disregard for and
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In The Female Bell-Cricket, Tomoko’s power and position is dependent on Miki’s worship of her – it is he who puts her on a pedestal and allows himself to be at her mercy. Not only is she economically dependent on him (when she does not prostitute herself), the fact that “a day without him seemed emptier than mere physical hunger” to her, and that “she was in anguish all day long” when had left also shows the emotional need of feeling loved and wanted by a man that is fulfilled by him. Furthermore, Tomoko’s insatiable hunger and abusive behavior towards Miki can be attributed to her abandonment by Akita as well. In This Powder Box, the character’s unfeelingness is feeling in itself – despite her repeated attempts to distance herself from this relationship and his past, her numerous references all point to her caring in spite of her words. While the female protagonist in This Powder Box is not economically-dependent on
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