Style and Technique

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Last Updated on May 10, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 185

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Dazai’s favorite techniques for depicting the human condition are paradox and black humor. One sees examples of this when the restaurant owners arrive at Otani’s house and fall back on social convention, telling him what a nice house it is. In fact, the mats are rotting, the paper doors are in shreds, and the cushions are filthy and torn. Again, one sees Dazai’s sardonic humor when the restaurant owner refers to Otani as a genius, an aristocrat, and a man of unlimited capability, whereas the wife, immune to flattery, knows perfectly well that her husband is a drunkard, a thief, and a lecher who is brazenly unfaithful to her.

By creating the character of the wife as being an unflinching realist and giving her the narrator’s role, Dazai is able to contrast Otani’s self-pity with the absence of self-pity on the part of the wife, giving the work its terrible power. This effect is created because the narrator does not pass judgment on the events she recounts; she simply states the facts and her own determination to go on surviving.