Underneath It All Essay

892 words - 4 pages

A wise person once said that love and stars are similar, in that they both keep one looking up at the skies every night for hope. After she is sold into a slavery, Chiyo loses everyone and everything she loves and no longer looks up into the skies. Desperate for any form of love, the Chairman, although superficially, becomes the link between little Chiyo and hope, and she begins to lift her head. It can be agreed that the Chairman helps Sayuri accomplish great things, but why would a person, despite his great kindness, do such things for a complete stranger? One can argue that it is simply because of his kind nature, and others, who analyze deeper, can argue that the Chairman is a hypocritical and selfish individual, who helps Chiyo only through hopes that she would one day become his mistress. Through the eyes of Chiyo, "[the Chairman] looked at [her] a long while" (Golden 112) and he then "wiped away the grit and tears from [her] face [and] he tipped [her] head up" (Golden 112). Back in mid twentieth century Japan, any adult man who cared about a child's little, unfortunate accident would have been viewed as more then kind. Take that a step further. Why would anyone, despite his wealth, pay for the great expenses of a stranger unless there was something beneficial in the outcome? It is not until the end of the story, when it is revealed that this innocent act of tear wiping and ice cream buying was all because the forty year old Chairman was in love with the twelve year old. The Chairman was not being "nice" because he thought that there was not enough "kindness" in the world. He hoped from the beginning that this girl with unusually, beautiful eyes would one day become his mistress. Although his intentions were purely based on self interest, they were not selfish in the eyes of Chiyo. From her first meeting with the Chairman, Chiyo and latter Sayuri, lives with superficial love for the Chairman, which ultimately leads her to her success. Towards the end of the novel, Sayuri tells the Chairman that "Every step [she had] taken in [her] life since [she] was a child in Gion, [she had] taken in the hope of bringing [herself] closer to [him]" (Golden 416). Her shallowness and naiveté about love alters the course of the novel, from Chiyo dying as a maid and from Chiyo dying as Sayuri. There is no kindness in the Chairman. The selfish nature of the Chairman is evident in many parts of the...

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