In Higuchi Ichiyo’s story “The Thirteenth Night” the female characters represent the lives of women in Japan from the time period Higuchi Ichiyo lived in. The story shows how at the time, education was not prioritized for women and that women’s lives were centered around the needs of men. In the story female character, Oseki represents a woman who in those times would want to value her happiness over the necessity to stay with her husband for financial reasons. A woman who had to endure the rife of her husband in order to stay in her child’s life. A time when women had zero say in the development of themselves financially, as individual or as a creative.
In those times women were seen as only mothers and wives. They were deemed to have zero value outside of that. They did not have much power but some rebel by vocalizing their distaste for these society norms. In the story Oseki’s mother represents women from those times who were fed up with the way men were allowed to treat women and Oseki’s mother was willing to leave everything that Oseki’s husband provided for the family behind to save her daughter from unhappiness.
When Oseki met Roku again it reminded her of the fair life she once imagined having with Roku. She could have had a life where she could bond with someone without feeling inferior. Her relationship with her husband shows that because she came from an unwealthy family, and she was undereducated it caused her to struggle to keep up with her husband’s lifestyle. It made her feel left out in settings where he socialized with his friends and their wives. It made it hard to retain her husband’s desire for her. That allowed her husband to unfairly loathe and bully her repeatedly. With the benefits she received from her husband toward caring for her family, she knows she cannot stand up for herself or she will fail her family. Oseki is constantly battling being poor or remaining supported finically by her belittling husband. She feels trapped and devalued in her relationship. I feel like Oseki realized that wealth does not equate to happiness. In a Marxist theory view Oseki learned that she became his wife to serve him and not to be his loving partner, and if she married in her class, she might not have necessarily felt that way.
In this story, it is clear that Oseki is trying as much as she can to search for her happiness, which was before she got married. She got married, but she does not feel happy. She only continues with this marriage in order to support her family economically. She only continues her unhappy marriage to solve the social status that her husband can provide for her family. One of her greatest achievements in life is that she gets rid of her husband, but the thing that prevents her is her son and her family. She endured ill-treatment in order to be with her son and help her family. The woman’s priority at that time was to obey the man.
Higuchi Ichiyo focusing on the struggles of the protagonist Hands Oseki, from a low-ranking family. Oseki left her home and came to her parent’s home to seek permission to divorce her husband, Isamu, a wealthy civil servant. Her father disapproves of the divorce, as it would mean a loss of an improved standard of living for her famil.Oseki details her unhappy marriage, and her mother supports her, but her father believes It is her responsibility to take care of her husband.Oseki decides to go back home, mostly because she believes that she would never see her son Taro again, if she got the divorce. Oseki meets her childhood friend, Kosaka Roku, who used to be in love with her, and they talk about his downward spiral since she got married. In the end, the narrative ends with them returning to their unhappy lives, unsure if they will ever see each other again. I think that the significance of their meeting in this story is every to make it clear that money do not make happiness.
In the story “The Thirteenth Night” by Ichiyo Higuchi, Oseki is so unhappy with her upper-class husband, Harada, and is so happy to encounter her childhood friend Roku, who she always thought she would marry. Oseki and Roku both grew up in humble circumstances, and Oseki thought she would spend her life working behind the counter of Oseki’s family store. She was happy with that. But then Harada saw her and wanted her for his wife, but he mistreats her because of her lower-class origins. When Oseki and Roku meet in the rickshaw, Oseki has risen in social class, and Roku has fallen in social class, abandoning his wife and child. They are very different in their social class, but similar in their desire to abandon their families. They still have feelings for each other. Marxist theory might say that capitalism takes advantage of all workers, whether a rickshaw driver such as Roku or a wife like Oseki. They will never move beyond their humble class and they will never stop being exploited.
Oseki might represent Higuchi Ichiyo in some ways. The author grew up in the late 19th century. She was born to parents who were in a peasant community, but her father had managed to procure samurai status. He only had this status for a short time, though, before it was abolished. Higuchi attended a private school with students mostly from the upper classes and felt inferior. She kept diaries all about all aspects of her life, including the increasing poverty of her family as the years went on. In later years, she moved with her mother and sister to a neighborhood near Tokyo’s red-light district. She would have been very aware of the limited power of women, and of the need to use traditional feminine wiles to get her way—go home and make her husband happy, as her father told her, and be able to keep her son. Her husband chose her for her beauty, and she should play that up. Roku, too, is impressed by her beauty.
Within the story of the “Thirteenth Night” we see that Oseki has a struggle with her husband which stems from his verbal abuse to her. Even though she tries to do right and take care of her husband it seems to have no effect or even make the situation worse which in turn cause her to flee from her home. this struggle helps us understand the role of a women during the time period as we that Oseki recognizes that if she runs away she will have no value in society. She even fears that if she leaves her child he will grow up to resent her. while confronting her parents about her husband her dad informs her that it is a women’s job to take care of her spouse and his home and she must bear the weight of of these problems because there were many other women experiencing these problems too. It also seen as special for a women to marry up in social class or someone wealthy
In the story Oseki is forced to remain Harada’s wife and put up with his mistreatment because it is the only way to help her family. Oseki represents what women went through at that time to obtain some type of power since the priority of women was to obey the man. She and her marriage are also affected because of their different social status. Harada believes he is superior to her and categorizes her as a woman without knowledge. The difference between their social classes leads them to have different perspectives about life. Oseki’s little knowledge of upper-class activities does not allow her to function as Harada would like.
In broad terms she learns that her struggle is not as bad as she thinks it is or it isn’t as bad as she thought it was. We see that she learns that someone who she really admires got the bad end of the stick and is through more of a struggle than she is, even though she was willing to run away from her life and leave her wealthy life and child behind due to her abuse. Compared to Roku’s life who lives in poverty with no family and no home and forced to work a job until he is tired. she reflects on her actions as she speaks with him seeing even though they came form the same place they both ended up on the other side of social structures.
In this story, Oseki struggles to find happiness in her life. Her parents praise her for how successful she is because of the amazing match she has made with her husband. Like so many woman before and after her, her achievements in life are boiled down to how well she married and the children she produced. She feels trapped in her unhappy marriage because of the social status her husband has been able to bring to her family. Even so, she seeks a way out. The only thing that stops her from leaving Isamu, is her son, whom she can not imagine being away from. Oseki is forced to choose between happiness or her family. Ultimately she chooses to be with her son and remain in her unloving marriage for the good of her family.
Two very different economic classes are shown in “The Thirteenth Night.” These classes are represented by Isamu and Roku. Isamu and Roku seemingly live very different lives. Roku’s marriage has failed and he is living in destitution without a family. From an outside perspective, Isamu’s life looks much more successful. Under the surface however, Isamu’s and Oseki’s marriage is failing just as Roku’s. The story begins with Oseki’s parents explaining how happy they are of her marriage and the good it has done for her and the family. Oseki’s run in with Roku shows her that it truly does not matter what social or economic class you belong to if you are not happy. Roku and Oseki were happier when they were young, regardless of their families’ economic standing. Now, separated by circumstance and living very different lives, they are both unhappy. From this interaction, it is clear that financial success does not equal happiness.