In the beginning of the semester we read Japanese writer Ihara Saikaku’s story “ The Barrelmaker Brimful Love”,which was written in 1686. It was one of those texts , that I really liked . In the beginning we can see the main character , Osen as a young girl from a lower class,who was very shy and she was just a good girl.
She didn’t flirt with anyone and she rejected anyone who could try to flirt with her.(“Once when a lighthearted fellow pulled her dress she responded with a full-throated shriek, leaving the man to bewail this unfortunate turn of events. After that no man would ever speak flirtingly with her”.) The author described her as an intelligent, pure young girl, whose behavior was different from other girls. This sentence “ People may criticize Osen for such behavior, but it would probably be a good thing if all men’s daughters acted as she did” surprised me immediately when I read it. I didn’t think that in Japan in that time people could criticized good manners of a young girl and according to author’s words she was only one ,who acted in that way, probably other girls were more open and free to flirt with guys.
I believed that East represented conservatism , that people of East they valued purity and shyness in woman, but this text showed me the opposite. That was the first moment , that got me shocked. Another situation gave me lots of emotions as well, it was the moment when Osen and the cooper arranged their meeting and went together with old Nanny to do the pilgrimage. The shocking moment was when they were planning to make adultery, but Mr. Kyushichi prevented that by joining them.(p.598)I asked myself how could such a pure and good girl do it? How could she go to the pilgrimage with a man, who she didn’t even know yet? According to the text her action was not allowed in society in that time.
While I was reading this text I saw a slow transformation of a pure girl in a “breaking the rule” girl. The last stage of her transformation was when Osen decided to make love with her master, just because she got insulted by her master’s wife ( The bowl fell on Osen’s head and made her hair messy and jealous master’s wife didn’t believe her and she said : “ What a playful bowl must be. If you ask me ,somebody fell into bed without going to sleep and her hair came undone”). Osen became depressed after that incident . In my opinion,it didn’t let her do crazy things just in order to take revenge. Probably she got tired of being so pure and quiet girl and she wanted to show some protest. Saikaku’s story shows us a vivid example of transformation of a woman.