As a reader, I turn to a book for information. More specifically, I turn to a novel for an envisioning.
I have just begun my expedition through the first-person narrative contained between the covers of Soseki Natsume's Kokoro. The book is very difficult to explain without repeating the narrator's own words. The novel is told in a explicit prose, but the story itself is veiled by the complexities of the enigmatic figure known as "Sensei." Of Sensei, one only knows what the narrator intends to make known. Sensei is a contemplative recluse distanced from his wife, curiously friendly to the college-aged narrator, and a steadfastly observant of certain, monthly respects paid to a particular gravestone.
Underlying these very relatable interpersonal dynamics is the historical setting: The approaching collapse of the Meiji era in Japan. Bleakly, an insuperable generation gap yawns before Sensei and the narrator. Sensei's counterpoint, his wife, is able to accommodate the societal flux. As the narrator remarks, "What also impressed me was the fact that though her ways were not those of an old-fashioned Japanese woman she had not succumb to the then prevailing fashion of using 'modern' words." Sensei, however, is unable to be intrigued by the novelties of modernity, and thus he is the very chasm between old and new: A lacuna only defined by its borders.
Image name: Kuroda Seiki, Lakeside