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The Wild Geese: Critique of turn-of-century Japan

            The Wild Geese by Ogai Mori, a Japanese classic that highlights social values and morals of turn-of-the-century Japan. The story takes us back to 19th century Japan and portrays a "love triangle" between a young beautiful geisha, a flourishing but unpopular businessman and a young student who had everything going for him in life. The story represents Japan's social values at the time and the inequality of men and women, the lack of liberty for young women, forcing them to become geishas. Otama, the heroine, is forced to become the mistress of Suezo, a thriving moneylender to ensure the well-being of her father, even though her heart firmly lies with Okada, .
             Although written in plain text and in very simple narrative - The Wild Geese looks and reads simple on the surface, but consists of many deeper meanings, symbolism and allusions between the lines. For example, an episode in the latter part of the story, Okada accidentally kills a goose, although intending to simply scare him away to save him from his friend. It can be said that the whole scene is of great symbolic meaning, and can be interpreted on a symbolic level, other than literal. By killing the duck, Okada kills the prospect of a relationship between Otama and himself. As Okada's original intent was to save the goose from death, it can be alluded to the fact that he also could have saved Otama from Suezo and the life that lay ahead of her. Okada, on the other hand, killed the goose, and with it the prospect of being together with Otama. It can be assumed that the Wild Geese Ogai Mori talks about are Okada, Otama and Suezo. Geese, more often than not, fly in a triangle when they migrate in the winter. On a symbolic level, there is a sort of triangle between Okada, Otama and Suezo - a love triangle. Also, the fact that they migrate can be related to events in the book; the heroes of the book wanted to leave for a better life.

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