What characterizes the society depicted in Chita? How is the culture reflected by details of setting and by the characters’ actions and beliefs? How does the society influence the characters?

In Chita, the society of the Last Island vacationers is centered on pleasure and fun. They have yachts, hunting parties, fishing parties, and an assortment of additional diversions.

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In his novella Chita, Lafcadio Hearn appears to characterize the Last Island society as a culture preoccupied by luxury and pleasure. This novella was first published in the late 1800s, if one were to make a modern-day comparison, one might compare the Last Island vacationers to spring breakers.

The Last Island is crowded. It’s filled with people in search of fun. The narrator notes that there’s not enough bath houses to accommodate all of the people “who flocked to the water morning and evening.”

You might want to take a moment and dwell on that sentence. You could think about the word “flock.” Flock, as a verb, means to congregate in a large group. As a noun, it has animal connotations. It refers to a big group of birds, sheep, goats, or geese. You might think about the ways in which the people of Last Island take on a kind of animal quality. Like animals, the Last Island society seems based around gratification and little else.

You might also point out how the culture of mass gratification makes individual names rather unimportant. It’s almost as if the vacationers’ communal quest for pleasure erases their singularity.

When the storm comes, someone screams, “Great God!” Hearn doesn’t give this someone a name. Instead, they’re reduced to “a voice.” Perhaps the lack of agency has to do with the lush, hedonistic culture of Last Island.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 26, 2020
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