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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 522

Oba Yozo is the main character of this melancholy piece as he narrates his feelings of disconnect with society. Yozo consistently seeks meaning in his life and strives to fill his emptiness with various things. He writes of how often life's cruelties seem to appear to him.

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I can’t even guess myself what it must be to live the life of a human being. I was born in a village in the Northeast, and it wasn’t until I was quite big that I saw my first train. I climbed up and down the station bridge... I was convinced that the bridge had been provided to lend an exotic touch and to make the station premises a place of pleasant diversity, like some foreign playground. I remained under this delusion for quite a long time... When I later discovered that the bridge was nothing more than a utilitarian device, I lost all interest in it.

While charming and likeable, Yozo struggles to sustain normal relationships, even with his family members (whom he feels he constantly disappoints). He does not feel that he can truly be human, and he tries to dull his pain through partying and prostitutes.

I never could think of prostitutes as human beings or even as women. They seemed more like imbeciles or lunatics. But in their arms I felt absolute security. I could sleep soundly. It was pathetic how utterly devoid of greed they really were. And perhaps because they felt for me something like an affinity for their kind, these prostitutes always showed me a natural friendliness which never became oppressive. Friendliness with no ulterior motive, friendliness stripped of high-pressure salesmanship, for someone who might never come again. Some nights I saw these imbecile, lunatic prostitutes with the halo of Mary.

Yozo's art reflects his struggles:

The pictures I drew were so heart-rending as to stupefy even myself. Here was the true self I had so desperately hidden. I had smiled cheerfully; I had made others laugh; but this was the harrowing...

(The entire section contains 522 words.)

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