Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 679
Joji admits to looking down on Marc Antony for being manipulated by a woman. When he was young and learned of the relationship, he could not understand how such a strong man could be brought low in this way. However, after beginning his relationship with Naomi, he says,
I believe that when Antony was conquered by Cleopatra, it happened this way: little by little he was stripped of his resistance and became ensnared. It's fine to give confidence to the woman you love, but as a result you lose confidence in yourself.
Joji says that he was "cheerfully ready to be deceived" by Naomi, and she seems to respond to this readiness. He encourages her to become confident, prideful even, and she does. He absolutely enables her to become this entitled, Western brat by being so obsessed with her that he rarely tells her no, by allowing her to win while purposely losing games, and by spoiling her with more and more Western goods: a home, furniture, clothing, schooling, lessons, and so on. Though he once judged Marc Antony for being taken in by Cleopatra, Joji begins to sympathize with him once he realizes how easy it is to be manipulated and deceived by a beautiful and confident woman.
At another time, Joji does not seem to realize just how his responses to the West and to Westerners might impact Naomi. He asks,
Why did I, a clumsy oaf totally unsuited to the gay atmosphere of social dancing, go on with the lessons for a month, then two months, without losing interest? It wasn't just for Naomi's sake. It was—I confess—because of Madame Shlemskaya. To dance in her embrace for that brief hour every Monday and Friday afternoon came to be my greatest pleasure.
Joji never seems to recognize the true extent to which Western influences are to blame for corrupting Naomi, and he certainly does not realize how much his own obsession with the West hurts him (and her). Of course, his puppyish behavior toward her dance teacher would make an impression on Naomi. Why is it that Joji becomes inarticulate or cannot lift his eyes when speaking to a Western woman? He seems to be in awe of them, and Naomi ingests this along with her restaurant carry-out meals. Joji is as obsessed with the West as Naomi is, and it is potentially even his obsession that prompts and enables hers to grow. When she eventually returns to him at the end of the text, she looks completely Western in his eyes, and she obviously knew that this would be the...
(The entire section contains 679 words.)
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