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Tanizaki & Solzhenitsyn And Realism Essay, Research Paper Tanizaki and Solzhenitsyn’s works both contain an underlying philosophy of realism. This realism is a balance between optimism and pessimism, and can be seen in both authors? discussions of society and characters, and their language. Defined by Roget’s Dictionary-Thesaurus and WordNet, realism is “a tendency to see or present things as they actually are,” and “art and literature that represents events and social conditions?(without idealization).” Whether Tanizaki and Solzhenitsyn write about society or certain characters in “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” and “The Makioka Sisters,” this “realism” takes on a different implication: The authors’ descriptions of society are realistic

while their characters subconsciously have a realistic philosophy. Although seemingly different at first, the societies in both One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Makioka Sisters are constrictive and repressive. These two novels are powerfully honest literary commentaries on the political condition of the authors? homelands, but they are also reminiscences of cultures lost. Tanizaki and Solzhenitsyn each subtly include a type of respect for their people, and this is what brings in the realism: Tanizaki and Solzhenitsyn have the ability to see the faults of their cultures and also to recognize the good in them. Tanizaki?s novel is not the plea for social change as is One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, but rather a documentary on the decline of a culture, a culture

that Tanizaki admires. Reverence toward nature is one aspect of the Japanese culture that Tanizaki finds commendable. In Makioka Sisters, Tanizaki is suggesting nature is very important to the Japanese, and particularly the Osakan, citizen because they depend on it for peace of mind. Tanizaki writes about nature in a style similar to haiku, in that he paints an accurate, non-idealistic picture. < Those weeping cherries just beyond the gallery to the left as one steps inside the gate and faces the main hall?those cherries said to be famous even abroad?how would they be this year? Was it perhaps already too late? Always they stepped through the gallery with a strange rising of the heart, but the five of them cried out as one when they saw that cloud of pink spread across the

late-afternoon sky. It was the climax of the pilgrimage, the moment treasured through a whole year. All was well, they had come again to the cherries in full bloom. Pg. 89 The Makioka Sisters> This poetic vision of pink blossoms carried along the breeze is magnificently joyous and sad as well. Tanizaki creates this beautiful scene but with it comes the knowledge that the end of the beauty is near. Rather than over-exaggerate the joy, he allows the reader to see the scene as it is, in a delicately factual style. While the traditional cherry viewing continues every year, it is becoming less popular because the culture around it is changing; it has lost its significance and meaning for the casual-dressed city folk. This change is greatest when comparing the cities of Osaka to

Tokyo, where tall skyscrapers block the warm sunlight and a chilling breeze is always blowing. This new, fast-moving cosmopolitan life is replacing the old, rural culture; even the Tokyo dialect is infiltrating Osaka. Although Tanizaki describes certain aspects of the Japanese culture as refined and noble, he reminds the reader that it is also constrictive and stifling. This change, as written by Tanizaki, is both good and yet unfortunate. In the new society, people have more freedoms and possibilities but they are also losing their heritage at the same time. As always, progress is a double-edged sword for humanity. It is easy to look past the disadvantages of advancement, but Tanizaki depicts ?progress? as a natural occurrence that will happen, good or bad. One Day in the Life