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Compare and contrast the characters of Sayuri and Lucy and the ways in which they deal with the situations in which they are placed.

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Manal Siddiqui 13BY Compare and contrast the characters of Sayuri and Lucy and the ways in which they deal with the situations in which they are placed. Despite the obvious cultural differences between Sayuri and Lucy Honeychurch, there are more similarities in their circumstances than one might initially think. Both stories begin with them finding themselves out of their depth in a place that is unfamiliar to them, not only physically but also culturally. Lucy is in Florence, a young girl who has not yet been moulded into the ideal young lady, and susceptible to the exotic values that Italy has to offer. Similarly Sayuri is in Kyoto, almost a different world from her home in a fishing village, and she is also a young impressionable child. However where as Sayuri's immaturity is physical- she is only nine years old- Lucy's immaturity is mental. Having lived in a small community all her life, she has never tasted culture different to that prescribed to her by society, the culture that states what is acceptable and what is unacceptable for a woman to do, who should marry whom, and what occupations and past times are suitable for a person of a certain class to partake in, to name but a few of the restrictions that are the norm among the people of Summer street and the like. ...read more.


Later in life people often misunderstand Sayuri; American women think she is a prostitute and the general public think she is almost the image of perfection, as she thought of the geisha she saw as a child. People expect Sayuri to fit in with their stereotypes; a customer laughs when she mentions she is from Yoroido, and people romanticize her assuming that she was born into a family of geisha, and is carrying on a long line of family tradition. In the same way Lucy is expected to behave in a manner befitting a young lady of her social class, hence the surprise when she decides to marry George rather than Cecil. The two women also are in a similar situation concerning their personal lives, they are promised to one man yet desire another. Lucy is affianced to Cecil Vyse, the perfect example of Victorian propriety. He is in direct contrast to George Emerson, an enigmatic young man who she meets in Italy and seems to be a reminder of the Mediterranean passions that is stereotypical of Florence. Both Cecil and George are in many ways direct reflections of England and Italy respectively. Cecil is cool and collected, a decedent young man who doesn't need to work due to inherited wealth and so whiles away his time. ...read more.


Where Lucy's strength comes from being determined enough to stick to her own mind, Sayuri gets her strength from being able to lose some of her resoluteness and know when she has won, and when she has to wait for victory, over Hatsumomo for example. The main influence in the maturing process of Lucy Honeychurch is Georges' father Mr Emerson. He encourages her to "let go" of her propriety and to get on with her life, as she wants it not as society dictates. It is he at the end that causes her to change her mind and marry George. Similarly it is Mameha who coaches Sayuri through surviving life with Hatsumomo, and helps her through her formative teenage years and beyond into becoming a world famous geisha. However in a way Sayuri has to go back to her roots to win the Chairman, although it is almost by fluke. She resorts to using her wit and cunning to form a plan that will prevent Nobu from becoming her danna in flagrant disregard for Mameha's advice. Sayuri evidently has become mature enough to decide when to follow advice and when not to, as has Lucy. By going their own way as opposed to the direction they are being forced or encouraged to choose, both Lucy and Sayuri find what they are looking for and have developed from weak willed repressed girls into mature young women. Y ...read more.

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