Japanese 252 11-28-00 "Terror"ÃÂ"ÃÂ The story that I have chosen as my favorite is "Terror"ÃÂ. This story is effective because every element is important to the telling of the story. When the story opens, especially in the first paragraph, it makes one wonder what this ailment that the narrator is suffering from could possibly be. Is the narrator perhaps dying of some terrible illness? This can be seen when the narrator says, "It was early last June while I was in Tokyo that the illness menaced me."ÃÂ (p.85).
The way this story is written, it makes the reader want to sympathize with the narrator. The reader can almost feel the terror that the narrator feels as he is in the train. Tanizaki achieves this by describing the physical state of the narrator in great detail. For example the narrator says "A cold sweat stands out on my whole body, my arms and legs begin to shake as if from the ague.
I feel that unless I am given emergency treatment all my blood "ÃÂ every drop of it-will rush into that small round vessel above my neck, till the cranium itself, like a toy balloon blown up beyond its capacity will have to explode."ÃÂ (P.86).
Tanizaki also uses a bit of irony at the end of the story. While reading this story, it is easy to assume that the narrator is a man of scrawny build, however at the end one realizes that this is not the case at all. The Doctor on the train even says "Let's see. Oh, you'll pass all right. A fine husky fellow like you."ÃÂ (p.94). Of course the doctor knows nothing of the narrators phobia. The doctor only sees a physically strong man that should have no problem passing an army physical.
The main reason why this story appealed to me is because it is one of the few stories with a relatively happy ending. At the conclusion of the story the narrator begins to feel a sense of confidence that he was lacking before. The story held my attention, because there were no unnecessary elements. I really like the way Tanizaki draws the reader into the story. I could actually feel my own heart pounding as I was reading the story, anticipating what the narrator was going to do. I even felt a sense of hope at the end of the story, as if all the events were somehow happening to me at the same time.
I think it is also a very modern topic, I was impressed that Tanizaki wrote about something involving the psyche of the human mind. This especially interested me, because I am a Psychology major. There are many people today who have phobias and there are people trained to treat these ailments, however I would not think that this was the case when this story was written. That Tanizaki even thought to write about someone with a Psychological pathology seems quite cutting edge. I did not feel as if I was reading a story written almost a century ago. These examples illustrate that "Terror"ÃÂ by Tanizaki is in fact a work of art.
Tanizaki, Junichiro. Seven Japanese Tales. trans. Howard Hibbett (New York, NY.: The Putnam Publishing Group 1963).