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Examining the extent of influence that external forces have on the central protagonist...

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vocus92 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 11, 2010 at 6:03 AM via web

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Examining the extent of influence that external forces have on the central protagonist in Siddhartha and Temple of the Golden Pavilion. 

This is a comparison between 2 books.

1. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

2. Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima

Firstly, I have doubts in my question alone. I have been told that the qeustion should be focused. However, my current question is relatively broad.

Basically for Siddhartha, I would explain how the external people affects him as he progresses. (Samanahs, Kamala, Brahmins, Gautama)

For Temple of the Golden Pavilion, I would explain how Kashiwagi, his mother, Tsurukawa and Superior affects his thinking and actions.

However, I am confused how can I construct my essay to be as related to the question as possible. I tend to be more narrative than analytical in my essays.

Therefore, I look forward to some tips and suggestions. I am open to all suggestions in making ammendments to my question as well. Hopefully it can be more focused/specific.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 11, 2010 at 6:44 AM (Answer #2)

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Both Siddhartha and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion reject Buddha, Buddhism, and any external form of determination on the individual, whether it be family, friends, institutions, nationalism, or conventional religious duty.

The most powerful statement of this rejection comes from The Temple of the Golden Pavilion:

"When you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha."

Whereas Siddhartha uses stubborn self-reliance to reject his position as a Brahmin in his father's house and within the Hindu caste system, his extreme asceticism with the Semanas, the cult teachings of Buddha, and his materialistic and worldly status in Kamala's garden, Mizoguchi lashes out violently against the example of Buddha by burning a most sacred and beautiful temple.

In an ending reminiscent of Faulkner's "Barn Burning" or As I Lay Dying," the burning of a cultural institution (a barn in the South and a temple in Japan) is the ultimate rejection of the societies' reliance upon the past.  Such an overdeveloped sense of tradition, according to Faulkner, Hesse, and Mishima, is hypocrisy, perversion, and decadence.

What these writers suggest is a brand of perfervid individualism and a refusal to belong to any school of thought, any body of beliefs whatsoever, and especially systems.  What is left, I believe, is a self-determinism not unlike existentialism or absurdism that allows the individual to strip away the essentialism of watered-down institutional religion and thought, rendering the believer pure again.

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