• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Akutagawa vs. Tolstoy: The Similarities and the Differences

Extracts from this document...


Akutagawa vs. Tolstoy: The Similarities and the Differences In Akutagawa's "In a Grove" and Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need" both short stories conveys a theme to the audience. Both Akutagawa and Tolstoy use symbolism as a vessel for conveying their themes, however, their usage of setting/atmosphere and point of view, differ. Akutagawa uses point of view to create shifts and conflict; whereas Tolstoy uses it to assist tone. Akutagawa uses setting/atmosphere to compliment his use of symbolism, while Tolstoy uses it delicately and vaguely, asserting the reader imaginative responsibilities to the reader. Tolstoy and Akutagawa's use of literary devices can be compared and contrasted. Their styles are very different while their usage of these devices may be different; it is irrefutable that they increase the quality of their works. Akutagawa's emphasis on symbolism encourages the reader to discover themes of his story. In the final testimony of "In a Grove", the samurai states"...only a lonely light lingered on the cedars and mountains...the light gradually grew fainter, till the cedars and bamboo were lost to view" (Akutagawa 510). There are several components of symbolism in this reference. The light is a natural symbol from nature, representing the truth and the honesty of the testimonies, but the fading of the light represents the loss of hope the investigations sustains with each additional testimony. ...read more.


"In a Grove" is broken down into various testimonies. All of them contain a first-person perspective of the events according to that character. Through one testimony from the wife, "neither conscious nor unconscious, I stabbed the small sword through the blue-colored kimono into his breast" (508), is much different in nature and content then that of Tajomaru's Confession. Tajomaru confesses, "in front of [him] was shining the small sword...[he] took it up and stabbed it into [his] breast" (509). The difference between these two testimonies is not only who is accountable. The entire nature of their stories conflict each other. The reader must shift his mindset frequently, referring to previous testimonies and questioning the integrity of their accounts. The reader takes on a detective-like role as he tries to make sense of the testimonies and discerning truth from falsehood. However, Tolstoy uses point of view for a different purpose. Tolstoy, on the other hand, offers little opinion in his story. It is told mostly in the third-person and with little outlook aside from occasional insight on Pahom's inner conflict. Through the beginning of the story, "the Devil had been sitting behind the stove, and had heard all that was said" (215). ...read more.


Each, though very different, compliment their stories in perfect form. Tolstoy and Akutagawa's applications of literary devices are somewhat similar yet mostly different. Although Akutagawa uses more complex symbolism than Tolstoy, symbolism was used to accomplish the same result. Both help the reader in understanding the theme or significance behind the story. Akutagawa uses point of view as a means of creating complexity and controversy. The rare style Akutagawa achieves through his testimonies is what allows for his entire message. The controversial account given through first-person narration is what assists the readers to identify disagreeing details and information necessary in understanding the story. Tolstoy's goal for point of view is to support the tone and to allow the reader to envision himself in the story. "In a Grove" compliments its symbolism through its setting. Tolstoy's use is almost the opposite. Purposely leaving out crucial details, Tolstoy was able to achieve two important ideas. He allows the reader to elaborate on the story while also maintaining the focus of the piece. The divergence of land is clearly the main conflict of the story. This is Tolstoy's objective. He desires the message of his story to be as clear as crystal. When evaluating the piece, the theme is apparent and applicable in both short stories, although both authors have two very different styles of writing when it comes down to using the literary devices. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree James Joyce section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree James Joyce essays

  1. Opening Worlds (Stories from different cultures)

    When Achebe writes about the priest conversation with Michael about their cultural differences he say's 'let the hawk perch and let the eagle perch' showing that although these two birds of prey must fight for survival like these are fighting for culture they should set it all a side and

  2. The emotional emptiness in "Araby" by James Joyce, "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck which ...

    them love because they're more concerned about their wealth, which eventually leads to the children taking action themselves in order to get their parent's love.

  1. The Dead By James Joyce

    own pictures and characters concurred with the ones of the famous director John Huston. I rented his Academy nominated movie by the same name and I must start off by saying that John Huston made an excellent job of portraying the characters and the mood of the Joyce story, as

  2. Assess the role of Carr in 'Travesties' by Tom Stoppard

    In the following scene the interchange between Carr and Tzara constitutes the first extensive discussion of aesthetic and political issues in ">Travesties."> Tzara's argument is that the war has made a mockery of the values and the schemes of logic and causality which have served as the basis for traditional art.

  1. While no major events take place in the opening chapter of Ulysses, it remains ...

    Firstly, he is focusing on his appearance, which reinforces that his views do not extend past considering appearances. Secondly, he is looking at himself but cannot see himself clearly. This emphasizes that he has little self-awareness. The character of Stephen is presented in contrast to that of Mulligan.

  2. With reference to any two short stories that you have studied in the course, ...

    Then he takes the key from a shelf in the library and he applies what he had practised in school; the way of using keys with the key to the schoolroom. He succeeds and he is already in the room.

  1. In my essay, I will be writing mainly about Keawe and Paul as they ...

    have given him a true answer to a question he had asked her. She came across to Keawe as a sweet, soft caring individual who Keawe now saw as more than a friend but became slightly jealous asking for things when she discovered about the bottle and the powers it held within it.

  2. “I struggle to keep writing as much as possible in male hands as much ...

    or on a more subtle level with femininity albeit in different and contrasting forms. The motif of mirrors appears and reappears throughout Ulysses and it is significant that it is first drawn to the reader's attention in Telemachus - "It is a symbol of Irish art.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work