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Shusaku Endos When I Whistle is not an ordinary war novel, nor is it an ordinary reminiscence of wartime. As visible in the closing passage of the novel, Endo explores the emotional remnants of wartime generations.

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Introduction

Commentary on fragment from 272-273 They came to a bridge. It was that bridge. 'Cross over the bridge!' Ozu cried impulsively. 'Okay. Straight ahead on this road!' Aiko Azuma's house. The house where he and Flatfish had loitered about, running their fingers along the fence. The house was gone. A stark-white apartment building stood in its place. Ozu made the driver stop. He stared vacantly at the apartment house. Two foreign children were playing badminton. 'That's enough,' he told the driver sadly. 'Take me to the beach.' The sea. The sea at Ashiya. Summer vacation. Great thunderhead clouds floating overhead as they swam in the blue sea. The sea. The sea at Ashiya. 'This is it.' The driver stepped on the brakes, stopping the taxi in front of an ubly concrete embankment. 'Here? There's no sea here!' 'I know. I told you they filled it in.' No ocean breezes were blowing. There was none of the aroma of the sea. Ozu climbed up on the concrete embankment and gave a cry of surprise. Far into the distance, the sea had been filled in like a desert. Two cement mixers were driving along the desolate stretch of reclaimed land. Beyond that there was nothing. Where was the spot where Flatfish, tossed acout by the waves, had pursued Aiko and her friends that day? Where was the beach that Aiko and her frreidns had raced along, shrieking with laughter? ...read more.

Middle

I told you they'd filled it in." Again, short sentences and a monotonous tone emphasize the emptiness that Ozu is feeling. After this short section of dialogue, the narrator describes the physical setting, which at this point has obviously impacted Ozu. The last descriptive paragraph mentions that the "white beach was gone." The short and concise idea paints the change that occurred over time, which has affected Ozu. His memories of a white beach that was there remain with him, and are therefore much more important, as everything is now gone. The paragraph ends with an ellipsis, "he felt he understood the meaning they had given to his life...." which is a narrative technique employed by the author that leaves a novel without conclusion. Ozu is still alive, and will experience more changes, as will Japan. This narrator makes sure to let the reader know that Ozu is conscious of the changes occurring, and the changes to come. The diction present in this fragment is simple and straightforward in order to allow the essence of change to be emphasized. The vocabulary chosen does not present any difficulties in the comprehension due to its lack of any abstract elements. The ocean diction allows the reader to identify with the physical setting, through words like "ocean," "sea," and "breezes." These words are all common, simple words that create a smoother read in order to understand the main theme more deeply. ...read more.

Conclusion

"The sea. The sea at Ashiya...as they swam in the blue sea," is a narrative description of what used to occur at the beach. The beauty of the situation is captured in that sentence, and is contrasted greatly with the imagery of "the sea had been filled in like a desert." There was no such thing as the sea anymore. In fact, the cement had covered the sea in such an unnecessary way that it seemed like a desert. There was absolutely nothing left in a place that had meant so much to Ozu. The imagery of a desert is not a pleasurable sight, as there is nothing to look forward to, nor is there anywhere to go. A desert is a bare setting, much like the "stark-white" building. Endo makes sure that the reader understands the imagery that has been presented, by saying that "The sea was gone now. The white beach was gone." These two sentences conclude all the imagery with simple statements and images. The imagery in this passage is a technique the author employs in order to create larger contrasts between what Ozu had once known, and what he was experiencing now; hence his nostalgia. In conclusion, the nostalgic notion that the reader acquires from reading this passage is compiled by Endo's use of these literary techniques. War had destroyed everything that he loved, and westernization had left a block of cement. The world keeps changing, and no one knows what will happen next. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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