Memoirs Of A Geisha Theme Essay Examples

Japanese Culture: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden Essay examples

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A geisha is truly a unique and fascinating individual in the within the Japanese culture. Often times, many individuals do not take the time which is necessary to learn about another person’s culture to understand what incidents occur to shape them into who they are. Americans are primarily guilty of putting the geisha in the same box as prostitutes and placing an identical label on them, when in fact, a geisha isn’t a prostitute at all. However, there are facts about them both that certainly remain true. Geishas and prostitutes are both women who often entertain men; nonetheless, there are undoubtedly unique differences with regard to the style and delivery of their entertainment.
The woman who becomes a geisha “don’t become geisha…show more content…

A geisha is truly a unique and fascinating individual in the within the Japanese culture. Often times, many individuals do not take the time which is necessary to learn about another person’s culture to understand what incidents occur to shape them into who they are. Americans are primarily guilty of putting the geisha in the same box as prostitutes and placing an identical label on them, when in fact, a geisha isn’t a prostitute at all. However, there are facts about them both that certainly remain true. Geishas and prostitutes are both women who often entertain men; nonetheless, there are undoubtedly unique differences with regard to the style and delivery of their entertainment.
The woman who becomes a geisha “don’t become geisha because we want our lives to be happy; we become geisha because we have no choice” (Golden 409). The woman who lives her lifestyle in the pursuit of becoming a geisha is challenging and a difficult one. Some women are destined to become geisha because their mother was previously a geisha herself. Others become geisha as a direct result of being sold into slavery by her parents with hopes that the young child would eventually have a better life in the future than she currently have with her family. Chiyo stated, “He had taken me from my mother and father, sold me into slavery, sold my sister into something even worse” (Golden 82). The slave child is actually an investment to the household of geisha family. The home where “geisha live is

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1. One of the major themes of this novel is whether we have control over our lives or whether we should give ourselves up to fate. How is this dilemma addressed throughout the course of the narrative? Is one outlook is shown to be more plausible and/or advantageous than the other?

2. Sayuri remarks that westerners often view geisha as prostitutes, but she refutes this opinion. After having read the novel, do you concur with Sayuri? And has the novel affected your view on what a geisha is and what the role entails? How might the author’s identity as an American affect his portrayal of geisha, and Japanese culture more generally?

3. Do you perceive Mr. Tanaka as a mercenary figure or do you think he played a supportive/beneficial role in Sayuri’s life?

4. How would you define the relationship of a geisha to her danna? Is this relationship similar to marriage? Are there any significant differences?

5. Do you feel that Mother, Auntie, and Granny are inherently unpleasant characters? Is there anything understandable about their views and behavior?

6. Sayuri emphasizes the fact that a geisha does not merely serve tea but is an artisan. Describe some of the tasks and skills that geishas are expected to undertake.

7. Do you regard the novel as a love story between Sayuri and the Chairman? Is there anything problematic or contentious about them embarking on a romantic relationship?

8. Do you see a geisha as occupying a role similar to that of a servant or slave? Why…

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