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Discuss the following: Exchange opinions on and analyze “In a Grove” and “Rashomon”; refer to the questions on stories and chart on ”Elements of Literary Analysis” as applied to the story. If film has already been viewed, compare film with stories.

Questions on “Rashomon” by Akutagawa Ryunosuke

1) When the story begins, it is raining heavily. Where has the “lowly servant”, the unnamed main character, sought refuge?In what city is this place and what are the living conditions of this city?

2)The place where the servant sought refuge is described in gruesome details.What makes it so gruesome?

3) Why is the servant alone and does not have any place to go to?How has his life changed for the worse?

4)Facing his difficult situation, the servant has to make a decision to survive, which puts him in a moral dilemma.What is that dilemma?

5) The servant climbs the stairs of the tower seeing corpses everywhere, but he finds a living person upstairs.Who is that person and what is he/she doing in that ghastly place?

6)What impact does that person’s activity have on the servant?

7)How does the person justify the awful thing he/she is doing with the corpses?

8) How is her explanation related to the servant’s previous moral considerations? At the end, what does the servant decide to do?

Questions on “In the Grove” by Akutagawa Ryunosuke

1) Why did Akutagawa structure his story as a series of testimonies?

2) Who is the first witness and how does he describe the manner in which the victim was murdered?

3) Who does the second witness, a Buddhist priest, see? How does he describe them?

4) Who does the third witness, a policeman, capture?What conclusion does he draw about him?What details of his testimony coincide with that of the Buddhist priest?

5) In her testimony the old woman identifies the victim and the woman.Who are they? What important information does she give which is similar to what the policeman and the priest testified?

6) Does Tajomaru’s confession confirm the policeman’s conclusion?What motivated his attack on the couple?How did he trick the victim, a samurai, so he could overpower him? Tajomaru said he did not want to kill the samurai, the husband of the woman he raped, so why did he fight to the death with him?What happened to her, according to him?

7) In what way does the samurai’s wife’s testimony contradict Tajomaru’s confession?What new aspects does she include in her version of the event, especially the way the samurai died?

8) Finally, the murdered man speaks through a medium, and the story he tells contradicts all previous testimonies. Explain these contradictions.

9) So, after listening to all these testimonies, what do you think really happened?