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Genji Monogatari is the greatest single work in Japanese literature It provides us with an informative look into the court life of the Heian Period as well as give us a wealth of vivid characterizations along the way to developing the lineage of the hero Genji The reason for its being qualified as a classic is not the fact that it was the first novel or its twisting plot line It is Murasakis subtle insights into the medieval Japanese way of life and thought that give this novel its immortality Genji manifests the idea of mono no aware loosely interpreted as a sensitivity to thingsVarley 1973 p48 or more specifically the kind of emotional response to the beauties of nature or the more gentle of human relations that was likely to elicit such an expression of spontaneous feeling as AhVarley 1973 p48 The gentle human relations are those events that give the basis for the escapades of Genji but it is the more subtle use of nature that gives us the backdrop for the story and incidentally the basis for a paper The first way that Murasaki employs nature is in her precise characterizations of the dozens of main and minor players in Genji From the season in which the character appears to the clothes that they wear to the portion of Genjis palace that they inhabit without a more than casual appreciation to nature in reading this novel a great chunk of the literary value is lost Murasaki is not content simply to describe the charms of the different seasons but they are skillfully harmonized with the feelings of the characters Shinkokai 1970 p55 The first example of this is in the Broom Tree Chapter Chapter 2 in the conversation that Genji and To no Chujo carry on at length about the various merits of the ideal lady Seidensticker 1976 p 20 The scene takes place during the summer rainy
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