Japanese Short Fiction Questions and Answers

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In "The Sparrow with the Split Tongue," is the climax of the story surprising or were the events foreshadowed?

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This Japanese folk tale that you refer to is an excellent example of somebody getting their just desserts. The wife of the old man starts off as a jealous and selfish character who is clearly unimportant to everybody. She is said to be "greedy and quarrelsome whenever anyone came her way who she could possibly quarrel with." The story does seem to have a two-part structure, with firstly the focus being on the man, and then on his wife. It is the man who plays with the sparrow and protects it, then it is...

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