Essay by rahimabadCollege, UndergraduateA+, July 2004

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"Patriotism," by Yukio Mishima, is a story of the effects of war on a person, his friendship and the country he loves. The story conveys very descriptive, emotional, and powerful imagery of the main couple's final night and their happy life. It has not been six months since their marriage and Lieutenant Shinji is facing a dilemma: In the morning he is to lead a company of the Imperial army against his best friends, which he can't do. There is no doubt in his decision to commit suicide. Reiko, with the expectation of a soldier's wife, does not hesitate in her decision and follows his footsteps. This story illustrates psychological, emotional, and sociological damage war can do to a relationship, love, and patriotism.

The author portrays very brief and glowing imagery of the characters on their wedding night and the day they commit suicide. Lieutenant Shinji and his wife Reiko, the protagonists, are dedicated, youthful, heroic, and beautiful.

Mishima values the youth of Shinji: "His expression was severe, and his dark brows and wide-gazing eyes well conveyed the clear integrity of youth" (696). Mishima refers to Reiko's beauty as "shining serene like the moon after rain" (696). He puts five stars on her beauty and sexuality by saying "Reiko's body was white and pure, and her swelling breasts conveyed a firm and chaste refusal; but, upon consent, those breasts were lavish with their intimate, welcoming warmth" (697). She symbolizes the Japanese culture to surrender and dedicate her life to her husband: "She laid the dagger without a word on the mat before her, just as her husband had laid his sword" (696). Just as the Lieutenant has joined the army with the acceptance that he may have to give his life out of love...