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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 743

The following is a list of quotes compiled from the novel Botchan by Japanese author Natsume Kin'nosuke. The novel was written in 1906 and is often considered a morality tale, as you will see by the quotes chosen. The author weaves together themes of ethics and honesty and writes with both humor and sarcasm, which made it very popular in Japan during its time. The story is loosely based on the author’s experiences of traveling and living away from home. For context, the novel opens in a school in Matsuyama, the capital city in Ehime Prefecture on Japan’s Shikoku Island. It is narrated by Botchan, an impulsive youth who recklessly jumps from the second floor of the school. This is the springing-off point for similar behavior throughout the novel. The reader should note that the word “Botchan” suggests “young darling,” or more specifically, a youth, often well-off, who has much to learn about the world around him.

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  • “Because of a hereditary recklessness, I have been playing always a losing game since my childhood.”

  • “Father did not like me in the least, and mother always sided with my big brother.”

  • “He’s so reckless that I worry about his future,” I often heard mother say of me.”

  • “I lived, after the death of mother, in this fashion for five or six years. I had kicks from father, had rows with brother, and had candies and praise from Kiyo. I cared for nothing more; I thought this was enough. I imagined all other boys were leading about the same kind of life.”

  • “With a long, sonorous hustle the steamer which I was aboard came to a standstill, and a boat was seen making toward us from the shore.”

  • “I learned the English word ‘witch’ when I was in middle school, and this woman looked exactly like one.”

  • “When I left the teachers’ room, chalk in hand, for the second hour class, I felt as if I was invading the enemy’s territory.”

  • “As it was none of my business whether it was a Madonna or a kodanna (young master), they let pose there any old way, but it was vulgar to feign assurance that one's subject is in no danger of being understood so long as others did not know the subject.”

  • “These country simpletons, unable to differentiate upon so delicate a boundary, would seem to be bent on pushing everything to the limit.”

  • "There is nothing that cannot be settled by talking it over."

  • “To be treated by such a fellow, even if it is so trifling a thing as ice water, affects my honor.”

  • “Others whispered with their neighbors. Still others were writing nothings upon the table with the erasers at the end of their pencils. Clown talked to Porcupine once in a while, but he was not responsive. He only said ‘Umh’ or ‘Ahm,’ and...

(The entire section contains 743 words.)

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