THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE BELL CRICKET
BY: YASUNARI KAWABATA
”The grasshopper and the bell cricket” is a short story, written by Yasunari Kawabata, written in a narrative perspective of someone watching children searching for insects using colored and decorated lanterns. I would like to think that the author is trying to symbolize life, and that it is not only one path to go. We are all aiming for acceptance and to fit in to the society, but this story tells us that
The author, who put himself as narrator, describes how he walks through the halls of the university and approaches the upper school and its playground, and he seems to get so emotionally attached that he cannot take another turn. “I turned right so as not to leave the playground behind. Kawabata writes, “When I turned to the left, the fence gave way to an ...view middle of the document...
Each day the children made new lanterns out of “heart and mind” and each night they went out on a insect hunt with their lanterns that brought out the shadows of the bushes, were “an insects voice could be heard” Kawabata notes.
This is when the symbolism of the grasshopper and the bell cricket comes to a meaning. A boy, who had been looking in bushes away from the other children, founds a grasshopper, which seemed to be seen as the most valuable insect. His discovery of the grasshopper creates a big crowd of jealousness and probably symbolizes that thing everybody is aiming for. Even the narrator comments “I felt slightly jealous of the boy, and sheepish”. When the boy gives away the grasshopper to a girl, who was one of many who wanted it, the girl shouted out “Oh! It’s not a grasshopper. It’s a bell cricket.”
I read an analysis on this short story on a blog, called “Generation”, and I agree with his thoughts behind the symbolism of the transformation of the bell cricket from the boy to the girl, he states that it could be translated into the development of love and how, as rare as it is in the wild, one can captivate with a simple giving gesture. The narrator goes on to explain the rarity of such a find; “even if you have the wit to look by yourself in a bush away from the other children, there are not many bell crickets in the world.”
I agree on the romantic messages behind this story, but I would also like to think that it describes, as I mentioned in the beginning of the analysis, life in general with the hunting of acceptation, that it is not only one way to go. It does not matter what color or decorations your lantern is, a multi colored is just as beautiful.
[ 1 ]. ”The grasshopper and the Bell Cricket”, http://generationswine-gwarr.blogspot.fr/2010/05/grasshopper-and-bell-cricket.html, (27-05-2010)