Response Paper on Yasunari Kawabata’s “The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket”

Published: 2021-10-02 05:15:11
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Yasunari Kawabata’s “The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket” is a short story written in a third-person narrative point of view. The short story is exceptionally profound using setting and various symbols. Kawabata shares words of wisdom through the eyes of an unnamed narrator. The narrator is a university student who one day was strolling alongside a white board fence of the school’s playground. While walking he hears the voice of an insect and observes a group of children with varicolored lanterns out searching for insects.
While the children are hunting for insects, a boy named Fujio uncovers a grasshopper and enquired if any of the other children would like to have the grasshopper. Fujio waits until a girl named Kiyoko wants the grasshopper and cautiously releases it to her. Surprisingly, the grasshopper is actually a rare sought-after bell cricket.
This discovery delights Kiyoko and then the narrator realizes that Fujio must have known all along and instinctually offered the bell cricket to this particular girl, Kiyoko. In the final three paragraphs of the short story, the theme the narrator advises Fujio about is to never take life situations for granted. The narrator worries if Fujio takes certain life situations for granted, he may miss a great opportunity that was in front of him the whole time.

In the third to last paragraph, the narrator gives advice to the young boy named, Fujio. He is advising Fujio to seize the magical moments in life. The narrator states “even when you have become a young man, laugh with pleasure at the girl’s delight when, told that it’s a grasshopper, she is given a bell cricket; laugh with affection at a girl’s chagrin when, told that it’s a bell cricket, she is given a grasshopper” he is advising Fujio to appreciate the special moments in life (par. 25). In life, various individuals do not appreciate the special moments and the narrator is speaking to Fujio giving him life advice. If Fujio misses out on laughing and enjoying moments in his life it could negatively impact him. By seizing the special moments in life and not taking life too seriously, life would be more gratifying.
In the second to last paragraph, the advice the narrator is advising Fujio is emphasizing how rare it is to find a special girl in life because the world is not full of many girls, he will find special. As the narrator states “probably you will find a girl like a grasshopper whom you think is a bell cricket” he is advising Fujio to understand you may believe you see a grasshopper but in reality, she is as special as a bell cricket (par. 26).
He was advising Fujio that he may think a girl is special while other individuals do not. For Fujio to take time in life to get to know someone because the right person may be right in front of him. The narrator is anticipating Fujio will realize that he wants to find his bell cricket, a special individual that is very much different from the rest. The grasshopper can symbolize the average person while a bell cricket symbolizes a truly important find.
In the last paragraph the narrator’s advice to the young boy Fujio is the experiences of growing up may distort your perception but hopefully, you can think with a pure heart of a child; to remember the night you once gave a special girl a bell cricket. The narrator states “…to your clouded, wound heart, even a true bell cricket will seem like a grasshopper.
Should that day come, when it seems to you that the world is only full of grasshopper, I will think it a pity that you have no way to remember tonight’s play of light…” he believes that if Fujio grows up to believe no girl is right for him he wishes he could remember this particular night (par. 27). This symbolizes childhood innocence in that Fujio can see the purest heart of a girl before his heart becomes clouded and wounded. Hopefully, Fujio will not take this important moment in life for granted and realizes the important lesson it taught him when and if he is faced with a broken heart.
In the last three paragraphs, Kawabata shares words of wisdom through the eyes of the narrator. In each of the last three paragraphs, one may say there are three separate themes such as innocence, love, and fate. I believe the main message the author is conveying sums up all those themes into one, by stating the theme as not to take life situations for granted because one might miss a great opportunity that was in front of them the whole time.
This theme can be applied to the narrator’s advice in the last three paragraphs as he advises Fujio to laugh at life’s moments, to look for someone he finds to be a bell cricket, and to not forget to look at love with an innocence heart. The narrator’s advice can be applied to the theme of not taking life situations for granted because one can take a step back to enjoy life’s experiences to live a full and happy existence. The narrator does not want Fujio to fail at recognizing the special moments in life and appreciate loved ones because this may lead to regrets later in life.
Yasunari Kawabata’s magnificent short story “The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket” has one main theme, not to take life situations of granted. In the short story, the most important messages lie in the last three short paragraphs of the story. Kawabata presents the narrator as someone who is on the outside looking in at the lives of children at play. His words are a key element of the short story because they reflect a valuable lesson that children could use later in life. As the narrator stares into the lives of the children, it seems as though he is reliving his own regrets, he had in his life growing up. Kawabata is able to achieve so much rich and concise content in his short story.
Work Cited

Kawabata, Yasunari. “The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket.” The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by Kelly J. Mays, portable 12th ed., W.W. Norton, 2017. pp 275-278.

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