Daily Archives: October 13, 2022

Marxism in the Thirteenth Night

In The Thirteenth Night by Higuchi Ichiyo, Oseki Harada was not only a woman in the eighteenth century, but her and her family were considered “low ranking” before she married her husband, Isamu. If Oseki did not have these two factors holding her back it would’ve been easier for her to leave her marriage or to not have married out of need in the first place. The only reason she feels the need to stay in her unhappy marriage is because she feels as if it’s her duty to provide for her family. The only way she’s able to provide for them is through the opportunities and security her husband provides. Also because of her status, her husband sees her as uneducated and weak, perhaps if her family were in a better position before he would not be treating her the way he does. However, if Oseki had came from a wealthier family Isamu would’ve found another women and family in need to continue his abusive ways. Furthermore, when Oseki runs into her past love interest, Roku, she learns that maybe she did make the right decision marrying Isamu. The Roku she knew before in her teenage years is not the same Roku she met that night. Through the lens of Marxist theory, Roku and Oseki’s meeting foreshadows that these two will go on to continue their dissatisfying lives. Even if they were to run off together Roku has nothing to offer to Oseki and her family at this point. Maybe she felt optimistic about the encounter before she started to ask him about his life and what he’s been up to, but after revealing he’s living in a rooming house and has lost his wife and daughter she has lost all hope of a different, better life than she’s living now.